Only in Louisville: LocalView
an app that would allow you to plan your evening in just a few clicks.
Dinner reservations? Check. Find out where your favorite band is
playing? Check. And hey—a coupon that’ll allow you to stretch your
dollar a little more? Check!
A group of
friends not only imagined such an app; they made it happen.
LocalView—founders Jon Matar (pictured second from right) and Eric
Littleton (pictured first from left), product development guru Jay Brown
(first on right) and social media/marketing/graphic designer Kaitie
Vonderschmitt—hatched the idea this past January.
“We wanted a
cool app where we could see what was going on in the city, and we saw a
need to have everything in one place,” says Matar. “That was kind of the
original goal to bring in all this content—happy hours, who delivers—so
you don’t have to go to multiple apps or websites to find it.” Moving
quickly, the LocalView team hired Interapt, a Louisville development
firm, to build it. Naturally, they called their creation LocalView as
well—a simple, descriptive name that gets to the heart of what the
service is all about.
What sets LocalView—both the app and the
company—apart is not only how it aggregates the information that’s
already out there, but also how it attracts businesses and services and
presents a win-win scenario for vendors and customers.
online discount services] Groupon and Living Social are killing
businesses,” says Matar. “As a user, you buy the deal from Groupon, you
pay Groupon, and Groupon pays the business. LocalView eliminates the
middleman. Users go to the business and redeem the coupons right from
Instead of taking the customary 40 or 50 percent cut,
LocalView takes only 10 percent—a much more digestible bite than the
monster sites. “It’s a better way for businesses,” he continues. “We
don’t want them to break the bank… They don’t have to wait for payments,
we don’t gouge them and it’s better for the user.” Adds Brown: “You’re
still getting the similar discount from the other sites, but it’s a
better business model for consumer and merchant.”
established itself in Louisville back in January, and even though they
love their local roots, the team is already looking to expand to the
Lexington, Cincinnati and Indianapolis markets sooner rather than later.
Backed by local investors and friends, they’ve managed to keep the cost
of the app free to iPhone and Android users while working on an online
version. Even with all this big-picture thinking, LocalView is
determined to remain fiercely independent and true to its roots. “With a
young company,” says Matar, “you want to see it last, and that’s all we
can think about—to succeed and provide value for users and businesses
to draw in more customers.”
For Brown, the beauty of LocalView is
in its versatility. “There’s not one part that’s more important than
the other,” he says. “Some people like the food, some people like
looking for something to do. The goal is to discover your city.”
LocalView is available from the iPhone and Google Play stores. For more information, visit www.localview.co.
Profile by Eve Lee
Only in Louisville: The Floor Store
Profile by Eve Lee
It’s not terribly unusual to imagine people in, say, the flooring business dreaming of doing something less strenuous someday, like becoming a teacher—but John Glaser went to Bellarmine University and worked as a schoolteacher before making the switch. “I went to work one summer for a guy who imported flooring, and that started me in it,” says John, 64. He quickly rose through the ranks as sales manager, creating a national sales force for all things beneath his feet before founding The Floor Store in 1979.
As a kid, John’s son Matthew, 32, learned quite a bit about hard work from the former teacher. “I grew up with the store and flooring,” Matthew says. “When I wanted to earn money to buy my first Nintendo, I had to come down and clean toilets.” Matthew studied international marketing at Indiana University Southeast, but even as a student he had one foot in the family business—he cleaned carpets, not toilets—and after graduation he took a full-time position as a sales manager. “I didn’t expect this at all,” Matthew says. “I was thinking of a career in the import/export business—I started a small product acquisition company in Southeast Asia when I was in my twenties—but now I’m working all aspects of the flooring company and I’m really into that.”
From tile to laminate to hardwood to carpeting, the Glasers have Louisvillians’ flooring needs, well, covered. Matthew’s brother, Patrick, 25, works as an installer (“He’s paying his dues right now,” says his dad), and John still does most of the measuring. John says that installation is for “young people with good muscles and strong legs,” but he refuses to let anyone coast. “We’ve all been known to get on the forklift and unload trucks and do whatever it takes.” Adds Matthew: “We’re like all small businesses. We wear all sorts of hats and we don’t sit behind our desks. We get out there and work.”
And The Floor Store’s nine-person staff of installers, refinishers, designers and salespeople all get out there and work—and John is very aware of the responsibilities that come with working independently for the people of Louisville. “We’re more than competitive,” he says of the shop, which is one of a network of independent businesses that leverage their buying power to negotiate prices that undercut the big guy. Matt says, “My dad started the business to help small guys out and keep money in Louisville. We just want to share that with the local community.”
The Glasers also share their expertise. If someone is thinking about getting some new flooring, John says, “Hopefully they’ll invite us into their home. We’ll do the measuring for free. We give free samples out and bring them out. They get designer advice. And then hopefully we’ll get them in the store to show them the big samples.” Unlike the competition, the family has decades of know-how honed by real-world experience. At the other places, John says, “You might get a guy who sells blinds or cabinets and five other things. We sell flooring and that’s all we want to do. We know how to guide people to the right flooring for their needs, like carpeting in the bedroom or hardwood or good-wearing carpet in family room, where everyone lives. We do it all—new, old construction, sanding, refinishing.”
“If it’s inside and you’re walking on it, we sell it,” says Matthew.
“Everything but clean it,” adds John.
Apparently there still are some ground rules.
Only In Louisville: Amish Hills Furniture
(cont. from home page)...We
are pleased to offer our customers a wide selection of products built
by over 300 independently-owned and family run Amish workshops from
Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania and Kentucky.
The furniture you will find in our store is
of a consistent quality that meets our high standards. Our goal is to
provide heirloom products that can be passed through generations like
the antiques that we have come to treasure.
Our showroom features a vast selection of
styles and a variety of pieces. We are involved from the start, from
helping you to find that special piece, choosing the appropriate wood;
stain color, hardware and fabric. Then we see each order through to
completion and deliver it to you.
You can take pride in knowing that you have
supported the local economy, a locally-owned business, and have made a
wise purchase that will bring joy to you and your family for years to
Only In Louisville:Kentucky Planning Partners
When Robert Davenport and Ken O’Neil started Kentucky
Planning Partners in 2005, they knew what kind of financial planning firm they
wanted to create.
It would employ the best and brightest in the business, and
those professionals would be given autonomy to tailor services to each client’s
needs, without corporate interference.
While most firms push certain products because
it makes them money, KPP offers independent, objective guidance through a host
of services like comprehensive financial planning, wealth accumulation,
insurance, retirement and benefits. They work with LPL Financial, the largest independent
broker/dealer in the country, which also gives them the freedom to choose the
best options for their clients.
“We have a more complete menu of products and services than
most other competitive firms. We are absolutely objective in how we apply those
products and services to our clients. Our clients have a lot of trust in us
because they know we have no pressure from the corporate organization to push
certain products,” said Brad Barnett, Senior Vice President of Investment
Most firms also boast of their production, or assets they
manage, but Davenport said that sends the wrong message.
“What’s most important is that prospective clients know
there’s a place they can go where there is genuine interest in them, and that’s
how we measure success. It’s more subjective,” he said.
KPP, a firm employing 16 people located in the Flashcube
building at the intersection of Shelbyville Road and Hurstbourne Parkway,
receives most of its clients through referrals.
That’s a testament to the kind of connections and
relationships that are made at KPP, Davenport said.
“Our typical client is someone who is looking to build a
high trust relationship with one person for a very, very long time,” Davenport
Barnett said he’s garnered many clients because they never
heard from their previous planner unless they were trying to sell them
“For us it’s not about that. We have people come in
systematically, every three months, every six months, at least once a year for
our smallest clients,” he said. “I think we’re a high touch firm.”
Also, people who are very busy, like small business owners, often
find the firm’s services, like setting up benefits, especially helpful.
O’Neil noted that the firm’s planners boast an impressive
number of certifications and degrees, which represent the kind of experience
and education clients can take advantage of.
“We focus on the more comprehensive nature of financial
planning. Everyone here is a successful, experienced professional,” he said.
“You have to have a certain degree of success and experience before you can
come work for the firm.”
And, the firm is physically set up to give people a sense of
ease and comfort, to take the anxiety out of financial planning. There’s soft
music playing, the lobby’s television plays nature shows, not crawling stock
numbers, and each planners’ office boasts large windows that take in expansive
KPP supports an environment of community involvement.
Davenport started the Louisville Concours d’Elegance, a showcase for some of
the rarest, most elegant and historic collector cars in the country, which benefits
Kosair Children’s Hospital.
“Everyone has a civic awareness, a mentality of wanting to
give back,” Davenport said.
Only In Louisville: Feeders Supply
the last half-century, Feeders Supply has become one of the country’s
only local, family-owned and -operated multi-store pet retailer. “There
are very few independents that have as many stores as we do,” said Pam
Gibson Longwell, chief operating officer and daughter of the company’s
founder, Roy D. Gibson.
There are 14 neighborhood Feeders Supply
stores – nine in Louisville, three in Southern Indiana, one in
Shepherdsville and one in Elizabethtown. They sell supplies, food and
services for household pets and became a member of the Louisville
Independent Business Alliance in 2011.
Feeders Supply’s success
has been built steadily with a tried and true strategy: keeping the
company’s core values it was founded on, while adapting to meet market
changes and consumer needs.Gibson started Feeders Supply in 1959 as a feed-store serving area livestock farms, a natural step considering his agriculture background. He grew up on a farm in Spencer County, which the family still has. He earned an animal science degree from the University of Kentucky, married a Shelby County native, and they moved to Louisville to start their lives. The Baxter Avenue store was the original company location, next to the Bourbon Stockyards Co.
“Because so many farmers brought their livestock into town to market, there were many agribusinesses located around the yards. It just made sense to operate where everyone else was serving the farming market,” Longwell said.
In the 1970s, Gibson added commercial accounts, including feed contracts for the Louisville Zoo and the Kentucky Exposition Center’s livestock show, which the company still holds.
In the following decades, Gibson realized a new retail category was emerging - the pet food and supply store. Pet owners increasingly wanted higher quality food. Gibson converted the front of the Baxter Avenue warehouse into a retail store and began selling premium pet food. Gibson opened a new store nearly every year thereafter and was president and CEO until his death in 2004.
“My father was the wisest businessman I have ever met,” Longwell said. “I was blessed to be able to work by his side in our company for 17 years. I certainly learned a lot from him about how to run a successful retail operation. He knew that the most important part of any company is the customer. If you don’t have customers, you don’t have a business.”
The Feeders Supply warehouse and distribution facility allows the company to purchase premium pet food, supplies and other items at a volume that keeps prices competitive.
“Since we buy at the same cost as the big boxes, we’re able to pass the savings along to area pet lovers,” Longwell said.
Employees are expected to support a positive shopping experience. New employees attend customer-service training, pet nutrition classes and monthly product seminars.
“Our sales associates are pet lovers, too, and they work hard to help customers solve pet care issues using the items we have on our shelves,” Longwell said.
The company donates space to the Kentucky Humane Society and other organizations for adoption centers. Through these centers, KHS finds homes for more than 3,000 pets every year.
“We believe in the adoption option,” Longwell said.
The company is always looking at possible new locations. And, they continue to find Kentuckiana a great place to be a local business.
“Our roots are here. Our families are here. Our lives are here,” Longwell said. “We have grown where we were planted. We know our market and customers. This is our home.”
Only In Louisville: Louisville Bedding
good folks over at Louisville Bedding have a labor secret that we’re
letting out of the bag. “Myrtle” is a loyal, long-time employee that
never tires, never takes vacation, and requires no salary. But don’t
get too cozy with congratulations for Myrtle’s management team, because
Myrtle has the cushiest job in town. Literally.
Obviously, Myrtle is a machine but she doesn’t replace an able body. Her
job is to test the commitment that her company promises for pillows
that last up to 10 years. Myrtle simulates sleep over a 10-year period;
rotating the pillows, fluffing and lifting weight up and down, as a
head would for the calculated number of times this would happen in a
decade. Director of Marketing, Mandy Talbert, calls this and everything
that goes into research at Louisville Bedding, the science of sleep.
“The consumer theory,” says Mandy, “is that you want to buy pillows that are “firm” or “extra firm” so that they will break down over time and last longer. But the reality is that you can get what you want from the beginning and it will hold up if it’s a quality product.”
That’s just the beginning of this sleep science. Mandy also explains the position factor. “For example,” she says, “if you sleep on your stomach, you’ll want a pillow that is a bit flat so your neck isn’t lifted too high. And if you sleep on your side, you should have a pillow that gives more support to your neck.”
Clearly, this attention to detail is at the core of the company’s success. With over 700 employees in Kentucky, Louisville Bedding is a significant contributor to the local job market while servicing retail outlets and boutiques all over the country. But they are refocusing on building more sales relationships in the area, says Mandy, as a business model for sustainability.
“Being green isn’t just about having a recycled product anymore,” she says, “it’s about transportation and energy as well. We would like to develop more relationships with hotels and universities in the state. It’s a real movement.”
So how does Myrtle fit into this movement? “Louisville Bedding is a member of LIBA and one of our commitments is to preserve the unique community character of Metro Louisville. I can’t imagine a more unique character than Myrtle.”
Only In Louisville: Tilford Dobbins Alexander PLLC
“When I tell people I’m an attorney,” says Patrick Schmidt, “I usually get the ‘eye roll’. Then I say, ‘I’m the good guy. I don’t screw anybody over but the IRS!’”
If that’s not charming enough, Patrick uses this expertise to spearhead Louisville small business growth. His firm helped negotiate the deals for projects that were the beginning of a downtown revival early in the last decade.
“No one was taking risks downtown back then,” says Patrick, “but we were able to qualify certain projects for historic tax credit financing and state tax tourism-based incentives. One in particular was only the second deal of its kind to go through in Kentucky.” Adds Patrick, “These projects were at the forefront of the development and preservation of multiuse historic buildings in the downtown area and there were so many unique elements to the deal, we had to go to St. Louis to get financing.”
Sounds like big business, right? But Patrick refers to his firm, Tilford Dobbins Alexander, as the ‘hometown law firm’ with big ideas. They are one of very few law firm members of LIBA because very few firms with their expertise will meet the qualifications that other firms can’t, such as making all of their decisions locally. They have also been around town for over 100 years which is above and beyond the LIBA criteria. But Patrick is an overachiever.
“I’m a lawyer and a CPA because I’ve always been good with numbers as well,” says Patrick. “I was the only one of my friends in college who could remember how many beers he’d had the night before.”
Patrick has been with Tilford Dobbins Alexander since 1999 and is encouraged by the home-grown success of some Louisville businesses, insisting that developing local talent is the key to Louisville’s future. “I work with local, entrepreneurial people mostly,” says Patrick “to find ways to help them grow.”
Tilford Dobbins Alexander, PLLC
Only In Louisville: Highland Cleaners
Let’s start with Project Runway. Fashion designer, Elisa Jimenez, was an eccentric contestant on season four of the hit reality TV series and caused quite a stir with her “spit” markings on the fabric. Consensus on the show was that Jimenez’s practice of measuring was not unique but rather gross. When asked about her technique by Entertainment Weekly.com, Jimenez replied, “Has anyone done research on what dry cleaning does? If you want to get into a big stink, let’s talk about that.” So, let’s talk about it with Anne Nash, president of Highland Cleaners, a Louisville local business since 1944.
“It’s a fact that the man-made substances used by most dry cleaning services,” says Anne, “is not only harmful to the environment but to employees who work with the substance on a daily basis and also to the consumers who trust us with their clothes."
Highland Cleaners opened its doors in 1944 using natural solvents but by the time Anne’s father, Robert Jones, bought the business in 1952, the toxic, man-made solvents were already on the market. “Dad stuck with the natural solvents which have now been proven to be better for the environment, for people and, as it turns out, even for your clothes,” Anne says with pride and adds that the natural solvents are simply more gentle on the clothes and won’t degrade them over time or worse, damage them.
Customers must agree with Highland’s philosophy because Anne can now boast that there are 12 Highland Cleaners in the Louisville area with the newest location on Bardstown Road at Edgeland. But this new opening doesn’t just mark further success for the locally owned business, the new building is actually LEED certified and takes the Highland Cleaners environmental commitment to a whole new level.
“We’ve done a major push in the company,” says Anne, “and have changed all of our lighting to environment-friendly lighting, we are recycling all hangers and the biodegradable plastic we are using contains a pellet that will completely breakdown between nine months and five years.” Most plastics take about 90 years to breakdown in a landfill.
All of this would make anyone – even Elisa Jimenez – rethink dry cleaning as a practice. Most impressive, however, is that Highland Cleaners isn’t abiding by regulation. All of their progressive business practices are simply a result of initiative and Anne says that she is very aware that her business is part of a community.
“Louisville is a great city with a lot to offer culturally,” she says, “but by making businesses progressive and innovative, we can begin attracting people right out of college who may want to make Louisville their home. We have to make Louisville an attractive place for the future. This will be the key to the city’s growth,” Anne adds, “which will expand our population and be good for all local business.”
Only In Louisville:
Red's Comfort Foods
Robert Martin leans in close and smiles as he describes some of the ingredients for his Big Blue, a specialty hot "daug" created for the Wildcat faithful, as if he was admitting to insider trading. “I start with a sweet Italian Turkey sausage,” he says, “then top it with grilled peppers & onions, then add bleu cheese, and Red's mustard. The combined flavors makes it something special.” He goes on to describe the Louisville Lip, named after Muhammad Ali, as “spicy and sassy, and if you’re not careful, after the first bite, it will bite you back. It’s for Heavyweights and not Amateurs!”
Red’s Comfort Foods promises Red’s favorite daugs and barbecue sandwiches as well as some surprises on opening day to celebrate. With a new year, new arena and new mayor whom Robert believes will have a new approach to downtown, Robert says, “Fourth Street Live is fine, but that strip could be anywhere. Visitors come to Red’s for the local flavor and leave taking pictures and making it an experience, because they’re not going to find a place like this in their own town. And that is the kind of thing we should be offering in downtown Louisville; a unique experience.”
A welcome addition this year at Red’s will be extra hands. “I’ve always done this with minimum assistance,” says Robert, “but now I’ll have help and we will be able to serve more people faster during lunch hours and be ready for the late night crowd after midnight.” And when asked if big crowds will be expected this season for Red’s, Robert says he definitely subscribes to the tried-and-true philosophy that when you provide great value and quality food, they will come. “Louisville is now on the verge of creating a thriving downtown scene,” says Robert. “You have several destination points, and all the city has to do is develop the corridors that link those hot spots. We want a situation where people are exploring the downtown area; going to favorite places and encountering new ones along the way.”
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