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Amazon + Whole Foods: What to know

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.

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.

Dayton Air Show has Plan B if grassy lots turn muddy for motorists

Published: Friday, June 23, 2017 @ 10:37 AM

            The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds appear to be under an awning on Wednesday in beforer the Vectren Dayton Air Show this coming weekend. TY GREENLEES / STAFF
            Ty Greenlees

Two years ago, monsoon-like heavy rains pummeled the first day of the Vectren Dayton Air Show causing many vehicles to become mired in muddy, grassy parking spots near Dayton International Airport.

Air show organizers say they want to avoid a repeat of that outcome and have a plan B — just in case rains Friday turn the lots muddy again. The remnants of Tropial Storm Cindy were passing through the Miami Valley today.

RELATED: F-35 to make flying debut at Dayton Air Show

Bright yellow signs would direct motorists to alternative paved lots and spectators would be transported by bus to the airport grounds, said Roger Doctor, an air show spokesman.

“There will be a lot of traffic direction signage,” he said Friday.

Busing air show attendees may take longer than usual, but he said the plan will get everyone inside the gate. “The thing that I really want to emphasize to everybody is that there will be busing for everybody,” he said.

RELATED: Air show legend to retire solo career

Air show organizers expect to make a decision later today on whether the alternative lots will be needed.

The latest forecast conditions call for partly cloudy conditions and temperatures in the 70s for the weekend.

The Air Force Thunderbirds headline the show Saturday and Sunday.

JOB ALERT: Kroger to hire for 800 open positions at all locations

Published: Friday, June 23, 2017 @ 9:26 AM

Cincinnati-headquartered Kroger is hiring for 800 open positions at all Kroger locations.

The grocery retailer is looking for new employees during a hiring event on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at all Kroger stores. Positions are open in the following departments: deli, bakery, meat and seafood, Starbucks, grocery and ClickList.

Interested applicants should apply online prior to attending the fair at jobs.kroger.com or apply at the hiring event. Kroger offers benefits, flexible hours and advancement opportunities, the company said.

» RELATED: 5 things we learned about Kroger’s future in the region

Kroger just opened its newest location in the area early this month at the Cornerstone of Centerville development, where approximately 250 people were hired. It is also opening a new marketplace location in Fairborn by the end of August.

» GROCERY WARS: 5 things to know about the Dayton grocery market

Kroger has already invested upwards of $53 million in its regional presence just in recent years. It has 44 supermarkets, 12 locations with ClickList services and another 10 locations with Starbucks services. The popular grocer already employs more than 8,100 associates in the Dayton region.

In close formation, reporter rides in squadron of vintage war planes

Published: Thursday, June 22, 2017 @ 4:33 PM

For the first time at the 2017 Vectren Dayton Air Show, the award-winning GEICO Skytypers flight squadron will fly through the Miami Valley in a tight formation.

The squadron of six vintage World War II aircraft will perform on Saturday and Sunday — showing off daring, precision maneuvers in the high skies of Dayton. On Thursday, I climbed into the backseat of wing pilot Chris Thomas’ iconic aircraft, which was used as a war training plane more than 70 years ago.

The award-winning Skytypers perform at airshows across the U.S. in vintage SNJ-2 aircraft. In the 1940s, the planes were designed as a transition trainer between basic trainers and first-line tactical aircraft. With every demonstration, the pilots try to honor the military men who flew them so many years ago.

» RELATED: Reporter takes acrobatic flight in Air Show planes

“Most of our team members earned their wings in the military and we always pay tribute to the brave combat pilots who originally trained in our aircraft as well as those currently serving in the Armed Forces,” said GEICO Skytypers Commanding Officer Larry Arken.

When I arrived at the Dayton International Airport, the pilots of these blue, white and red vintage planes greeted me with firm handshakes and smiles as they waited for the Federal Aviation Administration officers to clear the planes for flight.

I suited up in a fitted, khaki flight suit, a flotation device and a freshly painted blue helmet. The six planes, marked with numbers near the propellers, sat in a perfect line near the runway. After throwing on a parachute, I climbed onto the wing of the plane, and threw one leg into the cockpit — and then slid down into the cramped seat.

» Thunderbirds to perform at Dayton Air Show: What you need to know

The aircraft’s unique design elements include: a larger round rudder and a free-castering tail wheel. Each plane weighs 5,500 pounds and utilizes a 600hp Pratt and Whitney R-1340-AN-1, 9 cylinder radial engine.

In just minutes, Thomas maneuvered the aircraft onto the runway, and each plane took off within seconds of each other. With an open cockpit, the wind whipped in our faces — making it more difficult to communicate through our headsets during parts of the flight.

On all sides of the plane, identical vintage aircraft flew just feet away from us — cruising above and below in a methodical formation practiced many times by the squadron.With blue skies, the team cruised from the airport in Vandalia to downtown Dayton. From the back of this aircraft, the movement seemed effortless — one well-practiced dance by the pilots.

As the six planes weaved in and out of each other, the downtown Dayton skyline stood out in vivid view, with the Great Miami River snaking in and out of buildings. The Montgomery County Fairgrounds and the University of Dayton popped out in contrast of rows of tiny houses.

» RELATED: What to eat and drink before or after Dayton Air Show

Toward the end of the flight, the squadron showed some of the smoke-capability of the aircraft. The planes are retrofitted to type giant messages in the sky. Flying wingtip-to-wingtip in a line-abreast formation, the lead plane sends computer signals to each of four other aircraft, synchronizing smoke releases to generate 1,000-foot-tall messages.

“People on the ground can see our messages from 15 miles away,” said Steve Kapur, the GEICO Skytypers marketing officer. “The messages appear in dot-matrix style, but on a monumental scale and 17 times faster than traditional skywriting.”

And, each letter is higher than the Empire State Building and can be formed in three to four seconds. Before landing, each plane swung up and out to get out of formation — a little taste of the quick maneuvers they’ll pull for the airshow crowds this week.

The gates for the 2017 Vectren Dayton Air Show will open at 9 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday with performances beginning at 11:30 am.

Chicago-based pizzeria Giordano’s opens first Ohio location

Published: Thursday, June 22, 2017 @ 9:31 AM


Giordano’s, a Chicago-based pizzeria, opened a location in Columbus near Polaris Fashion Place mall.

»Did your favorite make the list? 10 best pizza places in Ohio

The restaurant, located at 2137 Polaris Parkway, marks the business’ first location in Ohio.

»RELATED: New pizza restaurant coming to historic neighborhood in downtown Dayton

Opened in Chicago in 1974, the pizzeria has become an acclaimed establishment. Giordano’s has been named “Chicago’s Best Pizza” by NBC, CBS Chicago, New York Times, Chicago Magazine, Chicago Tribune, and many others.

»RELATED: Rapid Fired Pizza fuels expansion with 2nd Columbus-area restaurant

The restaurant is most known for their handcrafted stuffed deep dish pizza. Created in Torino, Italy, the recipe has evolved over 200 years, according to Giordano’s.

»RELATED: Area’s newest Kroger has a pizza bar

Giordano’s has more than 50 locations throughout the Midwest, as well as Florida, Nevada, and Arizona.

»RELATED: 8 dining destinations in Columbus worth the drive

For more information about Giordano’s and their menu, visit here.