Friday July 12, 2024
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The surest way to create more and better jobs in Greater Louisville is for those of us who live and work here to buy locally whenever possible. To be clear, Louisville (like every region) is at its best when its local businesses are thriving and providing good jobs. The impact of local people patronizing locally-owned businesses simply can’t be overstated.

Studies indicate that independent and locally owned retailers and restaurants return about 55 percent of all their revenue to the local economy. Research by business data company Civic Economics suggests the large big-box chain stores recirculate only about 13 percent of their revenue within the local markets that host its stores. While local independent businesses are usually easy to identify, it is important to remember that many of the smaller nationally-branded chains are actually operated by locally-based franchisees and appreciate your support.

Of course, most of our locally owned businesses are also small businesses. There are about 57,000 businesses in the Louisville MSA with the vast majority locally-owned small businesses and proprietorships. These local small business owners and their employees are our neighbors, community volunteers and youth league coaches.

Though a shopper may occasionally save money by purchasing from big national chains, there are tradeoffs to consider. Consider the added cost placed on the environment when we purchase items that are produced faraway, then transported to this area. Food shipped cross-country carries a much greater environmental impact than food grown on a nearby farm. And who could ever argue against the taste of locally grown farm products when compared to canned goods or produce shipped in from the coasts?   Continue reading

Photo: Louisville Forward

In celebration of National Economic Development Week, Mayor Greg Fischer and Kent Oyler, president and CEO of Greater Louisville Inc., today announced that Louisville Forward, the city’s economic development organization, and Greater Louisville Inc. (GLI), the region’s chamber of commerce, have been jointly recognized as a Top U.S. Economic Development Group for 2017 by Site Selection magazine. This is a back-to-back win for the two organizations.

Working together in 2017, with partners in two states and 15 counties, these two groups have helped the Greater Louisville region attract 62 projects, representing more than $1.7 billion in investment and nearly 6,000 jobs. GLI attracts leads looking at the region and transitions projects to the local economic development organization after the company has narrowed its search.

“This back-to-back achievement is further proof that our strategic partnership with GLI and our region is helping fuel Louisville’s tremendous economic momentum,” said the Mayor. “We are honored to be among the nation’s top regions as Louisville continues to punch above its weight.”

As the economic hub for the region, Louisville Forward had a banner year in 2017, locating 57 projects in Jefferson County, representing $1.68 billion in investment, and 5,096 new jobs. Louisville Forward also celebrated Passport Health Plan’s $130 million expansion and relocation of its headquarters to west Louisville, Ford’s continued commitment to the city with a $900 million investment at its Kentucky Truck Plant, and Diversified Consultants Inc.’s initial location and expansion into the Louisville market with a double-down on investment totaling nearly $20 million and creating 1,000 new jobs.

“For the second year in a row, GLI is proud to share this prestigious award with our regional partners and Louisville Forward. We are clearly making an impact with our collaborative efforts around economic development. The future looks bright for our region and we will continue working together to attract even more employers to our 15-county region,” said Oyler.

In 2017, GLI assisted its partners in locating 12 projects for the 15-country region, resulting in projects representing $73.4 million in investment, and creating 809 jobs with an additional 25 referrals that resulted in seven locations, 556 jobs, and $21 million in investment. The region also hosted its first ever Familiarization Tour for 10 national site selectors with the assistance of the Advance Greater Louisville Regional Partners.

Louisville Forward was formed in July 2014 to unite economic development efforts and built environment functions, allowing business owners to go from concept to permit in one streamlined agency. To achieve its goals of raising the median wage across the city and growing the number of jobs, the Louisville Forward team focuses on five strategic business categories that are historic and contemporary areas of strength to Louisville: Advanced Manufacturing, Food and Beverage, Lifelong Wellness and Aging Care, Logistics and eCommerce, and Business Services.

Since its creation, Louisville Forward has helped businesses create nearly 22,000 new jobs in Louisville, representing an investment of $5.2 billion dollars. This award marks the fourth straight year that Louisville Forward has been recognized by Site Selection magazine.

GLI is focused on growing the regional economy. As the region’s largest convener of business leadership, GLI leads global economic and outreach strategies focused on business attraction; nurtures the entrepreneurial eco-system; and champions the development of the community’s talent base.  As the voice of Greater Louisville’s business community, GLI advocates for a pro-business environment and facilitates businesses engagement on issues that impact regional competitiveness.

Site Selection magazine’s recognition is based on six criteria – total projects, total investment associated with those projects and total jobs associated with those projects; and those same three numbers calculated per capita for the metro area.

“Greater Louisville’s economic development success comes from a sense of all-for-one and one-for-all that transcends jurisdictional and organizational boundaries. Companies and institutions collaborate, corporations and startups convene, cities and even whole states cooperate and converge on challenges and opportunities as they arise,” said Adam Bruns, Managing Editor, Site Selection magazine.

Top projects for the groups that are featured in the May issue of Site Selection magazine include:

Ford Motor Company – continuing its commitment to Louisville, is investing $900 million in upgrades to the Kentucky Truck Plant to prepare it to manufacture the new Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator. This investment is in addition to the $1.3 billion investment and creation of 2,000 jobs announced in 2015.

Aravato Bertelsmann – is quadrupling its logistics capacities with a $5 million investment, creating 250 new jobs.

ResCare – founded in Louisville in 1974, this leading health and human services provider is building its $34 million headquarters at the Shelbyhurst Office and Research Park, creating 200 new jobs.

W.W. Grainger – a Fortune 500 company, is investing $273 million for a large distribution center in south central Louisville. The company plans to grow 500 new jobs with this attraction  project.

For more information about Louisville Forward, visit

For more information about GLI, visit

GLI_metro_hThis week, the Greater Louisville Foundation Inc. received official notification that it will receive a $500,000 grant over the next three years from The Gheens Foundation to fund its talent attraction and retention efforts in Greater Louisville.

“GLI Foundation’s efforts to tackle the talent retention and attraction needs of Greater Louisville is consistent with the Gheens Foundation’s mission of creative grant-making and the civic legacy of Edwin and Mary Jo Gheens,” Barry Allen, Executive Director of The Gheens Foundation, said. “The strategies outlined in their plan will serve to grow and enhance the citizens and institutions of this community for years to come.”

The grant will be applied to the GROW! (Greater-Louisville Region Optimizing Workforce) initiative. GROW! is a three-year plan developed to retain and attract talented people of all demographics to the Greater Louisville region.  GROW!  is currently in the process of securing $5 million in funding. The programming and execution of GROW! will be conducted by Greater Louisville Inc., the Metro Chamber of Commerce, with the funding support of the Greater Louisville Foundation.

“This grant is an important step towards accelerating not only the GROW! Project, but also Greater Louisville onto the national stage,” Diane Medley, Chair of the Greater Louisville Foundation Inc. said.

GROW!’s central purpose is to materially increase the rate of net migration of talented people to the region and fill the employee pipeline with skilled and educated professionals resulting in a faster job-fill rate, a strong candidate pool, a higher median wage, and an increase in the overall skilled population, thereby allowing Greater Louisville to become a true ‘community of talent’.

This diverse and robust effort includes (but is not limited to) outreach to cities and universities, a regional branding strategy, brand development with a national marketing campaign, a social media movement, and a community initiative to recruit friends and family (those who could influence relocation decisions to convince targeted talent to move to the area) to act as ambassadors for attraction purposes.  Additionally, GROW! includes specific initiatives around partnerships that help secure career opportunities for veterans and collaborative efforts to attract and retain international professionals.

“We have a real opportunity here to engage the entire community to promote our region,” Steve Hanson, Chair-elect of GLI, said. “It’s going to take people from all walks of life getting involved to sell our community to people thinking about moving here. The ball is already rolling. We must carry this momentum forward.”

The GROW! project will partner with local businesses and organizations on specific strategies to retain the qualified population that presently lives in Greater Louisville.  This means nurturing programs that already exist, while developing creative ways to attract and retain professionals, and developing a sense of “loyalty” to and pride for the community.  More information can be found at

GLI_metro_hAt Tuesday’s Wake Up Wind Down event in conjunction with “Louisville Business First,” Greater Louisville Inc., the metro chamber of commerce, named the 30 companies in the running for the 2016 Inc.credible Awards. The annual awards celebrate small businesses within the Greater Louisville region.

GLI is pleased to recognize small businesses in six categories this year. All finalists are listed below in alphabetical order.   Continue reading