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From sewing machines to bikes, Huffy has adapted to changing times

Published: Thursday, October 19, 2017 @ 6:00 AM

            Huffy CEO Bill Smith addresses a Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce event about the company’s evolution over the past 125 years. KAITLIN SCHROEDER/STAFF
Huffy CEO Bill Smith addresses a Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce event about the company’s evolution over the past 125 years. KAITLIN SCHROEDER/STAFF

Huffy Corp.’s CEO says the company’s success has been its ability to adapt, evolving from a sewing machine company to a modern bike brand changing to fit an e-commerce world.

Bill Smith, the chief executive of the locally-based bike brand, said only an estimated 15 percent of companies in 2020 will have been in business for 50 years or more, which makes Huffy on pace to be a rarity.

“At 125 years, we’re in the 1 percent league,” Smith said.

The company had its start as Davis Sewing Machine Company but started moving into making bicycles and by 1905 the company was producing 600 bikes per day making it the largest bike maker at that time. For comparison, Smith said in August as Huffy prepared for busy season, it produced 25,000 bikes a day at its factories in Asia.

The company adapted over the years to making what was needed and shedding off those divisions as the market changed. When the automotive sector was getting its start, the company was moving into making oil cans and gas dispensers and has a brass fitting factory on Wyandot Street, which today is the home of Warped Wing Brewing Co.

During World War I and World War II, the company pitched in for the war effort with bicycles and then brass bomb shell casings.

In the 1950s, Huffy made millions in lawnmowers and was one of the first to market in electric lawnmowers, though instead of with a battery, the mowers needed plugged in to an outlet.

“Occasionally we still get calls on our 800 number for lawnmower parts,” Smith said.

Huffy made the first transistor radio bike, though not many have survived and the ones left on Ebay sell for thousands of dollars.

The 1980s was a period of diversification, Smith said, when Huffy shed the lawnmower business, bought a lawn and garden company, a baby products company and an assembly business that made a range of products from bikes to Christmas trees.

In the 1980s, Huffy built bikes that were used by Olympians who won five medals. Those bikes were developed and built in Dayton.

Smith said in 2000, as scooters became a fad, the company produced 2 million of the folding scooters.

“That was a banner year for the company. These things had a wholesale price of $60 a piece so you can do the math on that one. That was an exciting year,” he said.

And now the company is evolving to stay ahead in an e-commerce world, whether that’s starting to sell on Ebay or launching a self-assemble bike that can be ordered online.

Smith said it doesn’t mean the company is less focused on bricks-and-mortar retail, it just means the company is expanding so its selling bikes all the ways people want to buy bikes.

Huffy just opened a store on Ebay last week. Smith said they are also looking at ways to work with mom-and-pop bike dealers, which have the potential to become service shops and distribution centers for all of its e-commerce business.

Next year, Huffy plans to launch an easy-to-assemble bike line that requires no tools for the consumer to put it together. The self-assembly is good for stores but even better for selling online.

The Centerville-based company, which will soon move to Miami Twp. near the Dayton Mall, just launched an e-commerce initiative so it can become a bicycle supplier in China, where most of its products are manufactured.

“So we will use e-commerce as a new marketing vehicle to enter markets where we didn’t have a presence,” Smith said.

Kroger to roll out digital aisle displays that connect to smartphones

Published: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 @ 7:13 AM


Kroger is changing how customers will shop in stores with new digital aisle displays that connect and interact with smartphones.

The Cincinnati-based grocery retailer is rolling out new technology called Kroger Edge in nearly 200 stores in 2018. The technology will be installed on store shelves where paper price tags currently hang, Kroger told Business Insider. The new aisle displays project pricing, nutritional information, video ads and coupons. The company is also working on creating an app that will enable customers to communicate with the Edge system with their smartphones.

» MUST-READ GROCERY NEWS: 5 things we learned about Kroger’s future in the region

The Kroger Co. is collaborating with Edgewater Wireless Systems Inc. to enhance its in-store infrastructure with the wifi platform powered by Edgewater’s WiFi3 technology. The next generation wireless platform will give Kroger customers “top wifi performance on their personal smart devices to enhance their shopping experiences,” the company said.

“We are focused on in-house innovation and partnering with global industry leaders like Edgewater Wireless to build the best technology infrastructure that will help us to deliver next generation shopping experiences to our customers and associates,” said Chris Hjelm, Kroger’s chief information officer.


In another blow for Elder-Beerman, Bon-Ton posts holiday sales decline

Allegiant to add new flights at local airport

German grocery chain Lidl halts plans to open local store

At Home store to open in Dayton area this month

Ohio-built Accord named car of the year

Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 10:47 AM

The company employs more than 1,400 workers from Clark and Champaign Counties.

A sedan built by workers in Marysville was named the 2018 Car of the Year, the third year in a row a Honda model has received the award.

The 2018 Honda Accord, which began rolling off the assembly line in Marysville last year, beat out the Kia Stinger and Toyota Camry to claim the honor.

RELATED: Honda, major Clark County employer, hits all-time sales record

The Japanese automaker invested about $220 million in the Marysville facility as part of its redesign of the Accord, the company’s flagship sedan. About 1,400 workers from Clark and Champaign counties work for the manufacturer, and it employs about 14,500 Ohioans overall.

“We’re especially proud for the production associates in Ohio where Accord has been built to the highest quality standards for over 35 years,” said Henio Arcangeli Jr., senior vice president of the Automobile Division and general manager of Honda Sales in a news release.

Last year Honda’s Ridgeline won in the truck category in the car and truck awards. Honda’s Civic model won the car of the year honor in 2016.


Honda invests $220M in new Accord to make big improvements

4 Honda vehicles named most in demand

Mary B's frozen biscuits recalled due to listeria concerns

Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 3:06 AM

Mary B's frozen biscuits. (Credit:
Mary B's frozen biscuits. (Credit:

Be sure to check your freezer because there’s a new recall on frozen biscuits that were sold in nearly two dozen states.

>> Biscuits recalled over listeria concern

Hom/Ade Foods is recalling Mary B’s brand biscuits due to listeria concerns. The biscuits were sold in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Wisconsin and West Virginia.

>> Read more trending news 

Company officials said the problem was discovered in a product sampling conducted by an outside company that manufactured the product.

Listeria can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, elderly people and others with weakened immune systems.

The Mary B’s products affected are frozen bagged biscuits. All have “Best If Used By" dates before Sept. 23, 2018, and with the letter “M” immediately after the date.

Mary B's recall. (Credit:

UPC codes affected by the recall:

  • 2059300015 MARY B’S BUTTERMILK BISCUITS 26.4OZ 12 / 2.2OZ
  • 2059300018 MARY B’S SOUTHERNMADE BISCUITS 26.4OZ 12 / 2.2OZ
  • 2059300022 MARY B’s BUTTERMILK TEA BISCUITS 24OZ 24 / 1OZ
  • 2059300028 MARY B’S THIN BUTTERMILK BISCUITS 28.6OZ 22 / 1.3OZ
  • 3059320583 MARY B’S 3.5 OZ JUMBO BUTTERMILK 144CT BULK BISCUITS 144 / 3.5OZ

Customers are urged to return affected products to the store for a full refund.

Read more here.

The Biggest Product Recalls in US History

How to win an argument at work - or stop one before it starts

Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 4:52 PM

Here's how to get a promotion anywhere in the world Understand what the hiring process looks like in your company Let the company know you want a promotion Make sure your values are in line with the company Make sure you have developed Emotional Intelligence Manage your stress levels

No one expects to navigate the work world without the occasional argument. And it's nice to "win" when you're in the right.

»RELATED: Does birth order affect you in the workplace?

But what really matters more than besting your manager or co-workers in an argument is how you handle the conflicts that are an inevitable part of work, according to a Forbes piece co-written by Travis Bradberry and Joseph Grenny.

"A persistent finding in both of our research is that your ability to handle moments of conflict has a massive impact on your success," they said. "How you handle conflict determines the amount of trust, respect and connection you have with your colleagues."

Psychologist Susan Krauss Whitbourne gave tips for winning arguments in any setting in Psychology Today, borrowing ideas from Israeli psychologist Eran Halperin about political conflict and interpreting them on a personal, rather than global, level.

"In an argument, your appraisal that you're losing, your belief that you need to be 'right' and the extent to which you like the other person can all have an impact on the emotions you experience," she wrote. "Your emotions can also get aroused by the desire to gain the respect of onlookers - no one enjoys being made to look ignorant in front of others, and when you feel that you're being made the fool, your outrage only increases."

Anger pretty much kills your ability to win an argument in any sense of the word "win," Whitbourne said. Instead of building to an outraged furor, she recommended six key, argument-winning tools:

Know your facts

Whitbourne reminded people of all the times they made a claim about a bit of trivia, quickly realized they were wrong, and then stuck to their guns anyhow. "This is not an ideal way to win (or enter) an argument." Stop and think before you make a blooper and you'll be less likely to lose an argument, whether it's trivial or actually important to your career.

Prepare to acknowledge the other person's point of view

You don't have to agree with your foe, but if you want to win the argument, "you do need to be able to see the world the way your opponent does. Stepping into the mental set of those you argue with allows you to figure out what's influencing them. Perhaps they're feeling threatened, anxious, or annoyed. Perhaps they know something that you don't. In any case, showing empathy will lower the temperature of the debate."

Try to be, or at least seem, open-minded

"Becoming defensive is one of the worst ways to win an argument. Don't let your opponent sense that you're digging into your position without being willing to consider alternatives. And if you let your opponent speak, he might come to your side without your having to do anything other than listen."

»RELATED: 7 steps to transition from a 9-to-5 to a full-fledged entrepreneur

Keep your emotions in check

Halperin's research revealed how important emotions are in determining your ability to appraise situations. "If you lose your temper, you'll only antagonize your opponent, which will further heighten his or her wrath, and the process can only escalate upwards," Whitbourne explained. Worried that you'll seem weak if you suddenly become calm in the middle of the argument? Don't worry. You'll gain points by showing self-control.

Stay hopeful that the argument can be resolved

Arguments can stir up negative emotions. If you're in the midst of a screaming fest, it's tough to envision a resolution where you still have your dignity intact. But strive to stay optimistic. "Invoking the feeling of hope allows you to think more clearly, leading to the possibility that you'll win by sheer force of logic." If you believe there's a way out, you're more likely to find one. "This is what happens in ordinary problem-solving, when thinking outside of the box can help all sides come up with a solution. Such an 'aha' moment in an argument can lead you straight to victory."

Respect your opponent

You may not emerge as the clear victor in an argument, or you may get your way but make your business relationship worse. It's important not to insult or degrade your opponent during the conflict. "Even if the individual is someone you'll never see again, it's still important to show that you meant 'nothing personal' in the dispute."