Amazon + Whole Foods: What to know

Published: Monday, June 19, 2017 @ 10:45 AM

Deal worth almost $14B Inc.’s announcement Friday that it intends to buy Whole Foods Inc. in a $13.7 billion deal has upset more than a few grocery carts.

Stock prices and expectations have jumped up (and down) at the news. And grocery and food-trend observers wonder whether Amazon can do for fresh tomatoes what it did for Harry Potter novels and Beyonce CDs.

Here are a few things to know about the deal that the companies involved expect will close in the latter half of the year.

1. Analysts wonder whether, and how, Amazon can make it work.

No one seems to be counting the online retail behemoth out, certainly. But analysts are pointing out that delivering fresh produce to customers’ doors is different than delivering CDs and electronics.

RELATEDWith Whole Foods purchase, Amazon to enter grocery wars

One particular asset that may be of great help: Location. The carefully chosen locations of all those Whole Foods stores (including our own in Washington Twp.). The Wall Street Journal reports that Whole Foods has its 456 stores “concentrated in pricey ZIP codes.”

“Whole Foods already is close to a lot of customers with means,” the Journal noted.

2. Amazon has a big presence in Ohio.

Many in the Dayton area were disappointed when Amazon decided in January to build a global cargo hub at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, instead of at the Wilmington Air Park, where Amazon for a short time worked at what seemed to be the start of a hub operation.

But Amazon still has a solid connection to Ohio. The company has a distribution center in Licking County east of Columbus, with about 2,500 employees (with more closer to Christmas), and another center in Obetz, with a trio of data centers, to boot. There’s also a distribution facility in the Columbus area linked to “Amazon Prime Now” grocery deliveries.

3. A competitive — and pressured — grocery market will likely get more competitive.

It has been no secret that Dayton is blessed or crowded (depending on your point of view) with a slew of competitive groceries slugging it out in the market. 

“There is nowhere hotter than the Dayton area right now when it comes to grocery-store development,” Nate Filler, then the president and chief executive of the Ohio Grocers Association, told Reporter Mark Fisher in 2015. “It’s a weird perfect storm, and I don’t know how long it’s going to last.”

We’ll see how it shakes out, but Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods will only make that competition hotter.

New store opens at The Greene in Beavercreek

Published: Thursday, August 17, 2017 @ 8:50 AM

The Greene Town Center seen from the air

A new puzzle shop has opened at The Greene Town Center in Beavercreek.

Puzzle Plus, a family-owned puzzle store, sells jigsaws, brain teasers, puzzle books and games. The store carries games and puzzles for all ages and skill levels. The puzzle store opened in 1995 in Beavercreek, but just moved to a new location at The Greene at 4465 Glengarry Drive. That’s next to Tilly’s and across from the Beech Parking Garage.

“Puzzles Plus is a family-owned retail store selling jigsaw puzzles, games, brain teasers, puzzle books, all-age toys, and children’s toys. We have the best selection of jigsaw puzzles in the Miami Valley and a unique variety of games and toys,” according to its website.

This news organization has reached out to the store for more information.


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Dayton office vacancy rate higher in Ohio but improving

Published: Thursday, August 17, 2017 @ 8:35 AM
Updated: Thursday, August 17, 2017 @ 8:53 AM

            111 W. First St. where Taylor Communications has moved about 700 employees. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF
111 W. First St. where Taylor Communications has moved about 700 employees. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

Dayton’s overall office vacancy rate may be high compared to other cities, but it is improving, recent property reports show.

The overall vacancy rate was 22.7 percent in the second quarter of 2017, an improvement from 24.8 percent in the second quarter last year, according to a quarterly report from commercial real estate brokers Cushman & Wakefield.

And a report from real estate services firm Colliers International says vacancy in the Dayton office market peaked at 23.1 percent at the end of 2015 — but has since improved for six straight quarters, thanks to steady leasing activity and no new supply of available office space.

“Dayton’s vacancy rate is higher than other Ohio markets, but the story is that a recovery has been underway with a strong gain in occupancy driving the vacancy rate down by 1.5 percentage points since the end of 2015,” said Loren DeFilippo, Ohio research director for Colliers.

Dayton’s office vacancy rates are high compared to other Ohio cities, Cushman & Wakefield’s national report shows.

RELATED: Dayton Freight expansion gets state tax credit to add 51 jobs

Dayton’s overall second quarter vacancy rate of 22.7 percent was higher than Cincinnati’s (21.4 percent), Columbus’ (13.4 percent) and Cleveland’s (11 percent).

Still, the trend in Dayton has been positive. Direct vacancy across the Dayton market has improved for six straight quarters, the Cushman report said.

MORE: Taylor Communications to move hundreds of workers downtown

“The vacancy rate has been steadily declining for the entire Dayton office market,” said Jarrett Hicks associate market director-research for Cushman.

The quarter’s bigger events included Taylor Communications moving hundreds of workers into the 111 building (111 W. First St.) in Dayton’s Central Business District, taking up 132,000 square feet in that building; Dayton Children’s Hospital moving into Building 3 of Dayton’s Tech Town Business Park, taking 22,861 square feet; and law firm Sebaly Shillito & Dyer renewing a lease in the Kettering Tower downtown.

The top sale of the second quarter was identified as Dayton Freight Lines Inc. paying $8.5 million for more than 130,000-square feet at Sand Lake Plaza off Poe Avenue in Vandalia.

UD students a part of patent for energy-saving dishwashers by Hobart

Published: Thursday, August 17, 2017 @ 8:35 AM

            Dana Zechar/STAFF
Dana Zechar/STAFF

Engineering students from the University of Dayton are on the verge of being named on a patent with Hobart, the international food services company based in Troy.

Seven of UD’s Engineering students will be listed on a Hobart non-provisional patent filing for an innovation that assists in trapping heat in industrial dishwashers found in cafeterias and restaurants, according to UD.

The non-provisional patent filing will be published in early 2018 on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s website. After that, the innovation will be inspected over two to three years to determine if it “meets certain standards of inventiveness” for a patent, according to Hobart engineering manager Alexander Anim-Mensah.

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As many know, when a dishwasher opens, a plume of hot air escapes. This is what the group of students sought to fix. The students wanted to protect the operator from the blast of heat, improve drying, and reduce energy costs needed to re-heat the dishwasher, according to UD.

The group of students estimate that the invention will improve energy efficiency by at least 5 percent and drying efficiency by at least 25 percent.

“That is huge for an already energy-efficient machine. In an age where energy is getting expensive and standards keep rising, every bit counts. Given the average life of these machines is more than seven years, operators will enjoy the cost-saving benefits from the invention,” Anim-Mensah said.

The team started in 2015 with four students, who started by creating a solid barrier to block the dishwasher’s opening. Three other students joined the project a year later.

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“This project has helped me apply concepts learned in class. I would tell anyone looking to do something like this to be open to exploring new ideas and concepts. That’s how we’ve been successful,” Prasanna Murlidharan, current UD renewable and clean energy graduate student, said.

This is not the only success of UD’s School of Engineering’s Innovation Center. In the past two decades, UD students have worked on more than 1,000 projects with more than 200 industry partners, according to UD.

Students collaborated with Hobart, as the company has been associated with UD for more than a decade.

“Hobart has been a strong supporter of our Innovation Center and assisting our students with experiential learning opportunities for more than 15 years. The opportunity Hobart has given our students to be part of this patent process is one not many get as an undergraduate,” Becky Blust, Innovation Center director, said.

Hobart is a subsidiary of ITW Food Equipment Group LLC.

For more information, visit here.

New gift shop opens in Beavercreek

Published: Thursday, August 17, 2017 @ 7:58 AM


A new gift and flower shop is opening in Beavercreek this month.

May Flower and Gift is celebrating its grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony on Aug. 28 at 10 a.m. The store sells a variety of fresh flowers and creative gift ideas for different budgets and styles. The store also offers local and worldwide delivery, and offers daily floral delivery to local funeral homes and hospitals.

The store is located at 1291 N. Fairfield Road.

May Flower and Gift also has a website where customers can go online to order their gifts and flowers. Orders can also be placed at 937-306-8651.


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