Downtown restaurants close

Published: Tuesday, March 05, 2013 @ 1:34 PM
Updated: Tuesday, March 05, 2013 @ 1:37 PM

Two longtime downtown chain restaurants have closed.

The last day of business at Gold Star Chili and Great Steak & Potato was Thursday, according to Dad Alexander, an employee of the Dayton Mall Gold Star location.

Like the two franchises that had operated at 137 N. Main St., the Dayton Mall Gold Star is owned by Jamil Shteiwi.

Shteiwi did not immediately return messages seeking comment.

It was not immediately clear why the business closed.

Kristen Wicker, a spokeswoman with the Downtown Dayton Partnership, said a location is being sought that could better meet Shteiwi’s needs.

>>Read what restaurants just re-opened in downtown Dayton<<

Gold Star is known for its Cincinnat-style chili and cheese coneys. There are nearly 100 restaurant locations throughout Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.

Great Steak & Potato serves cheesesteak sandwiches in hundreds of locations throughout the United States, Canada and abroad.

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3 Reasons most stock pickers don’t beat the market

Published: Sunday, May 28, 2017 @ 5:48 PM

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 09: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) the morning after Donald Trump won a major upset in the presidential election on November 9, 2016 in New York City. Global markets originally dropped after Trump began to pull ahead of his rival Hillary Clinton. In morning trading The Dow was down slightly. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Staff Writer

It’s always been tough to be a successful stock picker on Wall Street.

It’s not that mutual fund managers can’t beat the market, but it’s very difficult to do so year in and year out: Large-cap stocks have delivered long-term, annual realized returns of about 7% after inflation during the past 100-plus years. For the 15-year stretch through December 2016, 92% of U.S. large-cap, actively managed equity funds underperformed the S&P 500, according to data collected by S&P Dow Indices.

Even during April, the 25th best month of performance in the past 26 years for such large-cap managers, only 63% of mutual funds beat their respective benchmarks, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

And the pressure on stock pickers is mounting because of exchange-traded funds, which feature lower trading costs and returns that are often competitive with or better than those of professionally managed funds.

» The Best Strategies for Investing

Debating investing in individual equities or actively managed funds versus passive vehicles, such as ETFs? Here’s why it’s so difficult to pick a winner.

The fee hurdle

Before ETFs became so popular, mutual fund managers faced a simpler task: Pick stocks that performed better than the overall market, ideally better than the stocks their competitors picked. But with more investment choices comes more pressure. Active managers must now outperform by enough to make up for their funds’ higher costs relative to ETFs.

That additional burden can be significant. Equity mutual funds charged an average of 1.28% in annual administrative expenses — or what’s called an expense ratio — in 2016, compared with the 0.52% charged by the average equity ETF, according to data from the Investment Company Institute.

To match investors’ expectations from ETF returns, some portfolio managers create funds that mimic an index without completely duplicating it — what’s known as closet indexing. That can result in bloated or overly diversified portfolios that get dragged down by less-than-stellar picks. In addition, mutual fund managers often impose high redemption fees to discourage short-term trading, typically defined as holding shares for less than a year.

But costs alone don’t explain why stock pickers face such a challenge. Dynamics within the market also are partly to blame.

» 5 Ways to Put a Windfall to Good Use

Market correlation

When unrelated assets move in lock-step — what’s known as correlation — it’s that much harder for stock pickers to find the ones that will go up even more than the average.

The past seven years have been tough in this regard. Among the 11 sectors of the S&P 500, the average correlation to the broader index ranged from 70% to 95% between 2009 and 2016, before dipping to as low as 57% in February and March, according to figures compiled by Convergex, a U.S. brokerage firm.

This has provided “some oxygen for active managers to outperform,” wrote Nicholas Colas, chief market strategist at Convergex, in an April report. Even Goldman Sachs has proclaimed the current market conditions —  notably rising return dispersion — as a potential boon to skillful stock pickers.

» How to Spend (or Invest) Your Tax Return

The problem is, if analysts are right, these dynamics are likely temporary, which puts the longer-term fate of stock picking at peril. And remember, in addition to beating the market, active managers must also provide better returns than a comparable ETF to make up for their higher fees.

‘An inherent disadvantage’

One theory got some buzz earlier this year: The odds are stacked in favor of indexes, and it’s not a fair fight for stock pickers.

Returns for a particular index are heavily skewed to a few of its biggest winners, so a portfolio manager generally must invest in these stocks just to keep up with the index’s performance. Picking a subset of stocks increases the odds those picks will underperform versus the index, according to a 2015 paper written by J.B. Heaton, Nick Polson and Jan Hendrik Witte, with a February update by Hendrik Bessembinder of Arizona State University.

“Active managers do not start out on an even playing field with passive investing. Rather, active managers must overcome an inherent disadvantage,” the authors concluded. And Bessembinder notes that compounding only increases that disadvantage over time.

What’s an investor to do?

There are many advantages of index-based funds and ETFs for individual investors. But that doesn’t mean you should dump all of your individual equities or actively managed funds and convert to just any passive vehicle. Not all index funds and ETFs are created alike. There are even some actively managed ETFs which come with higher fees.

Still, the explosion of these assets has given investors more options. If you’re dissatisfied with the longer-term performance of your mutual funds, consider making the switch. Do your homework first, paying attention to fees, commissions and the assets included in the ETFs you’re considering.

If you think you can beat the odds stacked against professional stock pickers, tread with caution. Don’t invest with money you’ll need for short-term expenses or put your entire retirement nest egg at stake.

Anna-Louise Jackson is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: Twitter: @aljax7.

Manufacturers desperate for workers of the future

Published: Friday, May 26, 2017 @ 10:45 AM

The need for skilled manufacturing workers is so acute, the CEO of Moraine’s Rack Processing Co. Inc. struck a deal last year nearly unheard of in the industry.

Faced with the possibility of losing a customer because he didn’t have enough workers to fulfill an order, he borrowed five employees from another local company for about six weeks.

“I think most of us are struggling,” said Jim Bowman, vice president and chief operating officer of Moraine’s Rack Processing Co. Inc. To secure the workers, Bowman had to promise not to hire them permanently.

RELATED: Dayton products play big part in Ohio manufacturing growth

Manufacturers are in a crisis, but it’s not the same problem that resulted in thousands of jobs to disappear in a downsizing that threatened the economic health of a state once known for its crowded factory floors.

Not all the lost jobs have come back, but a lot of them have and companies like Rack Processing say they no longer have a shortage of jobs. They have a shortage of qualified workers.

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The need is acutely felt and widespread: The Dayton area and West Central Ohio are home to about 2,500 manufacturers trying to fill some 3,400 new positions every year, said Jon Foley, a trustee of the Dayton Region Manufacturers Association, which has members in 14 counties.

From 2015 to 2025, the DRMA expects an average of 3,301 annual manufacturing openings in its service area.

Some put that number higher. Steve Staub, co-owner of Harrison Twp.’s Staub Manufacturing Solutions, said area manufacturing openings are closer to 4,000.

RELATEDDayton manufacturers ID top concerns

Manufacturers are facing a trio of problems simultaneously: Jobs today are more technically demanding; manufacturing workers tend to be older, with many retiring; and insufficient numbers of young people are considering manufacturing as a lifelong career.

“It’s the perfect storm that we’re having,” said Scot McLemore, manager of talent acquisition and deployment for Honda North America.

In March, manufacturers posted approximately 394,000 job openings nationally, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a 246 percent increase since the Great Recession ended.

A January 2017 report from business consultant Deloitte says the problem will likely get worse: It anticipates a shortage of two million manufacturing workers in the next decade.

“It’s really more than one problem,” said Eric Burkland, president of the Ohio Manufacturers Association.

The struggle

Last year, one of Rack Processing’s newest customers gave the company an ultimatum: Produce a set number of racks weekly or lose our business, Bowman recalled.

RELATEDCanadian manufacturer talks 100+ jobs, second building

“It was significant enough that we needed like 30 percent more employees immediately,” he said.

The pressure forced Bowman to strike a “very” unusual deal. Rack Processing temporarily borrowed five workers from another local company for about six weeks.

That arrangement barely gave the company enough time to permanently hire other workers.

RELATEDBudde family manufacturing in Dayton for nearly 100 years

“I think it wouldn’t have worked if there had not been a lot of trust between the two contacts,” Bowman said.

Staub recalled reviewing a project for an aerospace customer recently. While reviewing job requirements, that customer’s message to Staub was simple.

“They flat out told us that if we can’t meet their requirements, we were not going to get the job,” Staub said. “It’s concerning.”

‘Quite a challenge’

Each year, the area manufacturing association surveys members on their top concerns. And each year, workforce issues rise to the top of that list, weightier than taxes, health care costs and trade issues.

“There is no more denial,” Burkland said. “There is an awareness now that we have to change how we manage career pipelines and how we recruit talent.”

Local manufacturing growth is happening in a region that hasn’t experienced explosive population growth. Ohio as a state has grown slower than 38 other states, growing by only about 9,000 people from July 1, 2015 to July 1, 2016 — an increase of just .07 percent. The Census put the city of Dayton’s population in 2015 as 140,599, down more than 1,000 from its 2010 population of 141,761.

It’s a common lament among most if not all employers: Good help is hard to find.

But it’s a constantly expressed refrain among manufacturers.

“Manufacturers seem to be talking about it as much if not more than others,” said Phil Parker, president and chief executive of the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce and a member of a state committee on workforce issues, the governor’s Executive Workforce Board.

The problem is so bad locally, DRMA is about to launch a $1 million fund-raising campaign to try to address the problem, hoping to spark greater cooperation between companies and educators.

One reason for the struggle is a phenomenon most people actually welcome: Big manufacturers are taking root in the Miami Valley — and they’re hiring.

In recent years, Fuyao Glass America has hired more than 1,500 production workers in Moraine, with about 500 more managers and supervisors. Diesel truck engine producer DMAX, also in Moraine, has been on a hiring spree. A new company, Canadian auto parts manufacturer Hematite, is about to break ground for its own plant in Englewood, where 100 people will work.

Medical equipment manufacturers NuVasive in West Carrollton and Norwood Medical in Dayton, among others, seem to have an endless appetite for workers.

“Those companies are usually the glamour companies, and they do a great job and they have deeper pockets to do some of that marketing and advertising to get workers,” Bowman said.

The problem: Most manufacturers are small, family-owned businesses with maybe 50 or fewer employees, Bowman said. The retirement of even a few workers can be a “big number” for those companies, he said.

And manufacturing workers today tend to be older, according to the Manufacturing Institute, citing federal labor data. In 2000, the median age of the manufacturing workforce — 40.5 — was 1.1 years above the median age of the total non-farm workforce. By 2012, this gap doubled, with the median age in manufacturing being 44.7 years, above the 42.3 years for the total non-farm workforce, the institute said.

“All of those employees are now phasing themselves out, they’re retiring,” DRMA’s Foley said. “There’s a big gap in there that we’re trying to fill.”

“As the older generation moves out, the younger generation isn’t moving into those type of careers,” Bowman said.

‘Certain stigmas and misperceptions’

Ryan Burgess, director of Gov. John Kasich’s Office of Workforce Transformation, knows it’s a problem that keeps company owners up at night.

“When you talk to business owners, the No. 1 issue you’re probably going to hear is workforce,” Burgess said. “That is a pretty consistent feedback across the state.”

Too often, the field is associated with dirty, dead-end jobs. But that’s an outdated view, advocates say.

“When you look at certain industries, especially around the skilled trades, are there certain stigmas and misperceptions of the jobs out there?” Burgess said. “I think yeah.”

Manufacturing advocates struggle against that, arguing that today manufacturing is clean, technical and a pathway to a good life.

“They don’t see behind the scenes of manufacturing,” Bowman said. “They don’t know that there’s a lot of good, high-tech, math- and science-oriented type jobs that are out there.”

“If we can better align businesses and education, we can start to address some of those stereotypes,” Burgess said.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics put average hourly earnings for non-supervisory production workers in April 2017 at $20.72, with an average of just under 42 hours per week.

That’s above the average hourly wage of $20.39 in April 2016, which itself is above the average of $19.80 in April 2015.

In fact, the wage has steadily risen since an average of $17.20 in April 2007, a decade ago, according to the BLS.

Skills hard and soft

It’s not just “hard” skills such as machining or programming computer controlled machines that manufacturers need in prospective employees. “Soft” skills also bedevil employers. “Skills” such as simply coming to work on time, staying at work — and being able to pass a drug test.

“They still have many people who are not, repeat not, passing drug tests,” Parker said.

In the manufacturing jobs of old, people didn’t require a lot of specialized training.

“I’m trying to get them (state leaders) to understand, we need to put more resources into these areas, into the high schools,” Parker said.

“High school, college-age — it needs to start younger than that,” said Brian Ault, industrial sales manager for Bruns General Contracting. “I think it needs to start at the elementary level. We need to at least talk about manufacturing at that age.”

Honda invites middle-school and high-school students into its Central Ohio plants for field trips and manufacturing days, taking the opportunity to showcase the jobs as clean, well-paying and anchored in math and science, Honda’s McLemore said.

“We felt we needed to change the conversation,” he said.

In all, Honda has training partnerships with six Ohio colleges — including Sinclair Community College, Clark State, Edison State, among others— and three Central Ohio high schools.

Filling openings will also require reaching older adults, men and women in lower-skilled work who want to improve their lives, Burkland and others said.

Education, increased awareness and better awareness can all help. But no one believes the problem can be solved easily or quickly. However, Burkland, for his part, says he is optimistic.

“This is the No. 1 issue by far,” he said. “If we don’t have the talent in our workplaces, then we don’t businesses to operate.”

Dayton-area manufacturers (in the 14-county Dayton Region Manufacturers Association service area)

2,476 companies

123,892 employees

$8.8 billion annual payroll

$2.1 billion economic development

$48.2 billion annual sales

National wages, as of April 2017

$20.72, with an average of nearly 42 hours per week.

That’s above the average of $20.39 in April 2016 and $19.80 in April 2015.

Sources: Dayton Region Manufacturing Association, Bureau of Labor Statistics

34 retailers likely to close or go broke before the end of 2017

Published: Sunday, May 28, 2017 @ 1:03 PM

Via @tvnewzguy / Twitter

The bloodbath at retail that’s seen more than 3,600 stores closures announced since January isn’t over yet.

We could reach the 10,000 store-closure mark by the end of the year, according to credit consulting service F&D Reports.

Read more: 2017 retail closings — What you need to know

Which retailers are next to fall?

F&D’s research has identified 34 retailers suffering from poor sales and too much overhead that it says will likely announces more store closures en masse or bankruptcy filings before the year is out.

  • Shopko
  • National Stores
  • Forever 21
  • Charming Charlie
  • Fresh Market
  • Bloomin’ Brands
  • Ascena
  • Tailored Brands
  • Rent-A-Center
  • Bravo Brio
  • Trans World
  • Fred’s
  • Rite-Aid
  • Conn’s
  • Tuesday Morning
  • Guitar Center
  • GNC
  • Neiman Marcus
  • Toys R Us
  • Sears Hometown
  • J. Crew
  • Noodles and Co.
  • Lumber Liquidators
  • Charlotte Russe
  • Bon-Ton Stores
  • Tops Markets
  • Claire’s
  • Ruby Tuesday
  • Sears Holdings
  • 99 Cents Only
  • Ignite
  • Perfumania
  • Le Chateau
  • Gymboree

It’s not just Amazon killing the brick-and-mortar stores!

We should note that some of the stores listed here — SearsBloomin’ Brands and Ruby Tuesday, in particular — have announced anywhere from dozens to more than 150 store closures this year already.

Meanwhile, it’s been widely reported that others like Gymboree and J. Crew are facing imminent bankruptcy.

Yet in the midst of all the media coverage, one important point is sometimes overlooked: It’s not just Amazon killing off the brick-and-mortars. It’s also that we’re way “over-stored” in the United States, as money expert Clark Howard would say.

“We have far too many retail locations, shopping centers and branches of different chains,” the consumer champ notes. “But stores that are meeting your needs with low prices will continue to thrive.”

The sad truth for ailing retailers is that we have 24 square feet of retail space for every person in the United States, according to F&D.

By comparison, Canada — the next country on the list with the most retail space — has 16 sq. ft. of retail space per capita.

Australia — the third most heavily retailed country in the world — has only 11 sq. ft. That’s less than half the square footage of retail space per capita that we have!

Read more: Lidl — Aldi’s archrival — announces first store openings

Liquidation sales underway at 138 J.C. Penney locations

Other stories you might like from Clark Howard:

PHOTOS: 5 new foods to try at Great American Ball Park

Published: Thursday, March 23, 2017 @ 1:56 PM

The Taco Dog: oozing with beef, cheddar, lettuce, pice de gallow and hot sauce, available in Great American Ball Park’s Porkopolis section. PHOTO: LIBBY CUNNINGHAM, WCPO.

It’s almost time for baseball in the Queen City, and there’s some new grub to enjoy at the Great American Ball Park.

News partner WCPO sent their crew to the ball park to sample the newest treats available to eat during a Cincinnati Reds game. Here are five foods you’ll be dreaming about until Opening Day:

1. The Cherry Drizzle Chicken Basket

2. BBQ macaroni and cheese from Keystone Bar and Grill

3. The Bockwurst Sandwich

4. The Nacho Dog

5. Montgomery Inn flatbread



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