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Published: Monday, June 19, 2017 @ 10:45 AM
— Amazon.com 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.
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.”
Published: Sunday, February 25, 2018 @ 11:23 AM
A Dayton software and app development firm recently named Dayton’s Entrepreneur of the Year has started a new partnersip to improve access to legal services.
Mile Two has partnered with CuroStudio, a Dayton-based technology venture, to focus on lawyers and their clients.
Chad Burton is an attorney and founder of CuroStudio and CuroLegal, the Dayton-based law technology consulting firm Burton created in 2013. He said the “studio” operates virtually, although it can rely on Mile Two’s staff and space at 444 E. Second St, the heart of Dayton’s new downtown “Innovation District.”
The idea is to modernize legal services to improve access to those services, Burton said. He said more than 80 percent of Americans who need legal services simply aren’t getting them.
His solutions include identifying technology that helps legal service providers offer more efficient, lower-cost services and helping customers find the right providers.
One tech solution is a online one-way “legal checkup,” Burton said, a way to answer questions online to determine problems and point the way to solutions for users
A user answers questions and at the end, a possible solution is indicated. One version of that idea specifically for veterans already exists, Burton said.
But the company’s plans are bigger.
“What we’re looking at specifically from the studio perspective is broader than that,” he said. “We’re looking to build solutions that have a structural impact.”
Mile Two has proved to be a natural partner for CuroLegal, Burton said. “It is clear that they’re in line with our vision and operate very similarly.”
The studio is the next step, moving from a work-for-hire model for clients to a more focused research-and-development approach, he said.
For its part, Mile Two, based in Dayton’s Webster Station area, continues to launch an array of products. The company will have a place in the Dayton Legal Hackathon, a chance for software developers to tackle real problems in just 48 hours.
The Dayton Legal Hackathon will be Feb. 23 to 25. The local event will join similar events in more than 25 cities in what is being billed as the first “global legal hackathon.”
The idea is to quickly — very quickly, in 48 hours or less — develop software solutions for lawyers and law firms.
“I think that helps us stand out compared to most companies,” Jeff Graley, one of Mile Two’s founders, said in a recent interview. “It’s that diversity, where we’re applying the talent that we have.”
“It started a couple of years ago as just the two of us, wondering where is this going to go,” Graley said, referring to partner Jorge Sanchez. “And then, to be recognized at that event (the coalition’s annual meeting) with 800 people there … that’s a really good feeling.”
While Mile Two is known for creating the “VYE” software with Dayton’s Ascend Innovations, the software firm hasn’t focused on one industry or product.
VYE tracks a user’s eye movement, lending clues as to whether brain injuries may be an issue.
Mile Two’s work also touches defense, law and health care.
“I think a lot of it is the diversity,” Graley said. “That diversity has led to us spinning out a health care platform to help consultants support the health care industry.”
Published: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 4:17 PM
— The new home of machine tooling company Northwestern Tools in Kettering has sold for $2.15 million, Montgomery County property records show.
The sale was recorded Wednesday, with Davis and Davis Tool identified as the seller and Siva Properties LLC named in records as the buyer.
Brian Thomeczek, chief executive of the family-0wned company, said Friday Northwestern Tools is already in the building.
REAL ESTATE NEWS: SVG invests $1M in former Eastgate property
Last November, the city of Kettering applied for $100,000 in Montgomery County development funds to assist Northwestern’s $2.7 million move to that building.
Northwestern wanted to move about two miles from 3130 Valleywood Drive to the 6-acre property at 4800 Hempstead Station, and Kettering received $80,000 from the county to help the move.
The county expects the company to create 25 new jobs while retaining 40 current ones as a result of the move.
Northwestern was founded in 1942 by Gene Thomeczek. Today, the company serves the aerospace, medical and other markets with more than 2,000 products.
Located near Interstate 675, the building offers 9,632 square feet of manufacturing space. Dave Tobeson, senior vice president with Cushman and Wakefield, was the listing broker.
“It’s a beautiful building they went into,” Tobeson said Friday.
Published: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 10:20 AM
— Even with nearly every cultural taboo thrown to the wind− from discussing sexual orientation to politics; one last conversational taboo still exist among Americans − how much we get paid.
"These days, it's okay to talk about the troubles we're having with our children or even our marriages," noted one blogger from PayScale. "We can talk about race, religion, identity, etc., outside of work. But, do we talk with each other about our salaries? Oh goodness, absolutely not. That's way too personal, and it's a conversation fraught with danger."
But what if this is a mistake? Salary transparency at work can be beneficial right on down the line. First, it could ultimately help right the gender pay gap. (Think about what might have happened if Michelle Williams had learned in conversation early on that she was getting literally millions less than Mark Walhberg for the reshoot of “All the Money in the World”, for example.)
"Pay transparency helps workers understand their earnings in relation to the salaries of their peers," PayScale noted. "Openly sharing our financial truth with one another, both inside and outside of the office, is one of the best weapons we have against it."
Openly talking about earnings can also support job satisfaction and employee retention. PayScale studies have shown that people most often leave their jobs over pay issues, for example. But 55 percent of the respondents who thought they were being underpaid actually weren't, a factor that would be eliminated if people talked readily about their earnings.
In a 2015 Huffington Post article , the answer to "Should you talk about what you earn" was a loud, yes.
"If you want to make sure you're being paid fairly, go ahead and talk to your co-workers about how much you make. Seriously," HuffPost said.
The article cites the now landmark case of Erica Baker, a former Google engineer, who posted a shared spreadsheet asking co-workers to reveal their salaries. About 5 percent of her co-workers responded, Baker noted in a Tweet.
"People asked for and got equitable pay," she tweeted, "based on the data in the sheet."
But the "go ahead, it's all good" mentality is by no means widespread even three years later. In an early 2018 LinkedIn viewpoint roundup, based on an anonymous spreadsheet of entertainment employee salaries being shared widely that week, biotechnology executive Barrett S. McGrath gave a top-rated answer to the question, "Should you tell your co-workers what you earn?"
His final answer: "No, no, hell no. Never discuss comp with coworkers."
McGrath based his answer on advice from his first district manager.
"He told me, 'There is absolutely nothing good that can come from discussing salary and compensation with a co-worker, ever. At best, everyone feels fine because comp about the same. Inevitably, one of the two parties will be compensated less. A person who, just prior to the conversation, felt perfectly fine about their job and comp, now does not."
No matter whether you side with McGrath or Payscale, it's a tricky wicket.
Make sure you're allowed to. Supervisors aren't protected under federal law, according to the Huffpost piece, and neither are government employees, though typically their pay levels are publicly available.
Be discreet. Pay is still a pretty touchy subject, Huffpost noted, adding, "Don't corner your colleague in the bathroom and demand to see his pay stub."
Choose your words. HP advised something like, "Hey, I want to make sure I'm being paid fairly. Would you mind telling me how much you make?" Also assure your colleague you'll keep his name out of any salary negotiations you initiate.
Consider talking outside the office. Talk over a cocktail or coffee.
Published: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 9:52 AM
Updated: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 11:40 AM
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Millions of BB&T customers were locked out of their accounts Thursday night and Friday morning due to an outage that bank officials said was caused by a "technical issue."
The interruption of services was first reported Thursday night and appeared to last until just before noon Friday.
“At this time, many of our services are unavailable, including digital banking, Phone24, and ATM. Thank you for your patience as we work diligently to restore your services. We will continue to provide updates here and on http://BBT.com,” officials with the Winston-Salem-based bank wrote Thursday night on Twitter.
At this time, many of our banking services are still unavailable but you can use your debit, credit & prepaid cards. We've identified the issue & are working to resolve it. Thank you for your continued patience. We'll continue to update you until your services have been restored.— BB&T (@BBT) February 23, 2018
WSOCTV tried Friday morning to access a BB&T ATM in uptown Charlotte, but the message “Sorry, this ATM is temporarily offline," was displayed on the screen.
The company's website said many of its other banking services were down as well, including digital banking and Phone24, meaning customers couldn’t pay bills or check their accounts.
The issue appeared to be resolved before noon Friday.
“As our systems being to recover, our ATMs and automated Phone24 service are now available,” BB&T officials said in a statement around 11 a.m. Friday.
During the outage, bank customers were still able to use debit, credit and prepaid cards at places like the grocery store or gas station.