Louisville has the infrastructure of a major metropolitan city with the supportive nature of a tight-knit small town, making it a hospitable environment for businesses big and small. Known as Possibility City, Louisville's benefits include a low cost of doing business (labor, office rent, etc.) and low taxes.
Headquarter for Headquarters
With a workforce that draws from a 24-county bi-state area, Louisville has attracted a large and diverse roster of companies choosing to make the city their home base.
GE Appliance Park, for example, serves as the global headquarters for GE Appliance & Lighting. The 900-acre complex, which houses senior management, research and development, sales and marketing as well as manufacturing distribution and administration services, employs approximately 5,000 and contributes an estimated $425 million annually to the city's economy.
GE is investing $150 million to produce hybrid-electric water heaters, energy-efficient front-loading washers and dryers and several new appliance components, creating more than 800 new jobs. The new hybrid technology will allow GE to be the first U.S. manufacturer to introduce a water heater that meets the new U.S. Department of Energy's 2014 ENERGY STAR requirements.
Louisville also is headquarters for Fortune 500 business hubs such as Kindred Healthcare and Humana, Inc., one of the country's largest publicly traded health and supplemental benefits companies.
It's hard to say whether tax incentives, low relative business costs or location attracted such huge names in the international food industry to Louisville.
Fortune 500 company Yum! Brands is the owner of Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and KFC. More than 37,000 of Yum! Brands' quick-service restaurants serve 110 countries, amassing $11 billion of revenue in 2009.
With a mantra of "Better Ingredients. Better Pizza," Papa John's has managed to grow from a pizza joint in the back of a tavern to more than 3,400 restaurants worldwide, with revenue in the billions. The University of Michigan business school ranked it the No. 1 pizza chain on the American Customer Satisfaction Index for nine consecutive years.
Texas Roadhouse runs a national empire of 360 locations in 46 states from Louisville, reaching sales of more than $880 million in 2008.
With 1 million vehicles produced, Kentucky ranks third in U.S. manufacturing. Ford, a fixture in Kentucky since 1912, has two assembly operations in the Louisville area. The automaker invested $600 million to redevelop the Louisville Assembly Plant - where the company will produce the next generation Ford Escape - making it Ford's most flexible high-capacity plant. The investment was named one of Site Selection magazine's Top 10 Deals of 2010 because of the unique public/private partnership approach to business attraction between Ford, the City of Louisville and the State of Kentucky.
The University of Louisville partnered with the University of Kentucky, the Commonwealth and Argonne - the country's leading transportation research facility - to establish the Kentucky-Argonne Battery Manufacturing Research and Development Center that will facilitate the development of advanced lithium-ion batteries and advanced manufacturing technologies to reduce battery production costs.
Location, Location, Location
When Geek Squad founder Robert Stephens was looking for a place to locate his Geek Squad City, a self-contained hub where hundreds of agents work to repair computers within 24 hours of receiving them, the head of the computer service company says Louisville was a natural choice - primarily because of UPS Worldport.
United Parcel Service, Inc. started in Louisville in 1982 with 150 employees and a mere 200,000 square feet. In April 2010, the shipping giant completed a $1 billion expansion that grew the facility to 5.2 million square feet, increased sorting capacity by 37 percent and added some $600 million to Louisville's economy.
"We looked at a lot of locations," says Tom Volta, UPS vice president of human resources in Louisville. "Louisville provides us with the best opportunity. Most locations in the U.S. are within three days. It is the farthest western portion of the Eastern time zone."
Find out more on businesses in Louisville.