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Huffy bike maker growing: Dayton CEO shares future e-commerce plans

Published: Friday, October 13, 2017 @ 10:10 AM


            Huffy CEO Bill Smith addresses a group at a Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce event on the history of the company and where it is headed in the current retail environment. KAITLIN SCHROEDER/STAFF
Huffy CEO Bill Smith addresses a group at a Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce event on the history of the company and where it is headed in the current retail environment. KAITLIN SCHROEDER/STAFF

Huffy Corp.’s CEO says 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.

The key to Huffy’s success has been its willingness to adapt to change, whether its the decline of the sewing machine or the rise of e-commerce, said Bill Smith, the chief executive of the locally-based bike brand, speaking at a Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce event this morning.

Huffy, now based in Centerville, has been in the area for 125 years and is preparing to move to a larger headquarters in Miami Township that will give the company 40 percent more space to design and showcase its sample bikes.

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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.

“We are fast and aggressively moving into this new distribution channel and we will be available where consumers want to shop,” Smith said.

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Smith outlined some of the ways the company is adapting to the current retail environment and the demands of online shopping, including:
  • 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, Smith said. “Everything literally snaps into place,” he said.
  • The company 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.
  • He said they are 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. “Where if you wanted to buy a bike online, but you didn’t want it delivered to the house, you could have it shipped to your local dealer. They could assemble it. And they could deliver it to you on Saturday when your home,” Smith said.
  • Huffy also just opened a store on Ebay last week.
  • Smith also predicted the U.S. will see electric bikes become popular in the next decade. “They are very popular in Europe and they are very popular in China but have not really made it to the U.S. but when they do we will be in the forefront,” Smith said.

Jewelry retailer files for bankruptcy protection

Published: Tuesday, December 12, 2017 @ 8:45 AM

Find out what stores are closing down.

Charming Charlie, a jewelry and accessories chain, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

» RELATED: Charming Charlie closing Butler County location

The chain, which has several store locations in the region, announced continued efforts to “stabilize its business.” Charming Charlie filed voluntary petitions under Chapter 11 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of the District of Delaware. The chain expects to continue to operate the majority of its stores and its website during the court process.

» RELATED: 10 retailers file for bankruptcy in 2017

“We are confident that by reducing the size and scale of our business, we can focus on the core strengths that make the company successful,” said Lana Krauter, interim chief executive officer of Charming Charlie.

The company entered into a Restructuring Support Aggreement with a majority of its term loan lenders and equity sponsors, according to a company statement. The company secured commitments for $20 million in new-money debtor-in-possession financing from a majority of its existing term loan lenders. The company also entered into a $35 million DIP asset backedloan with its current lenders.

» RELATED: 5 retailers closing Ohio stores in 2017

Charming Charlie has locations in Beavercreek, Cincinnati, Columbus, Fairfield Twp. and Mason. Dozens of retailers have filed for bankruptcy this year including: ToysRUs, The Limited, Gymboree, Wet Seal, RadioShack, Gander Mountain and Payless.

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Far Hills Bob Evans property sold for $2.5M

Published: Friday, December 08, 2017 @ 4:59 PM
Updated: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 @ 4:23 PM

CONTRIBUTED
CONTRIBUTED

The sale of area and Ohio Bob Evans restaurant properties continues.

A New Albany outfit has purchased the property housing the Centerville-area Bob Evans restaurant for $2.5 million.

The 4,992-square-foot building and 1.25-acre site at 7115 Far Hills Ave. was sold to Timothy P. and Paula S. Heather, of New Albany, Ohio, according to Montgomery County property records.

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The new owners give the same address as the Bob Evans headquarters in New Albany.

The local franchise food site was built in 1986.

Bob Evans has been restructuring its business and selling its restaurants quickly. Back in May, a trio of Dayton-area Bob Evans restaurants sold for a total of $5.6 million.

At the time, Bob Evans Farms Inc. had divided its business by keeping its food production side and selling off its restaurant chain to private equity group Golden Gate Capital.

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Bob Evans Farms, Inc. said in January it intended to sell off its restaurants to focus on packaged foods.

Golden Gate Capital bought the restaurants for $565 million, and Bob Evans Farms bought Pineland Farms Potato Co. for $115 million.

Roosters looking to add four new restaurants

Published: Wednesday, December 06, 2017 @ 2:50 PM
Updated: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 @ 4:17 PM


            Staff Photo by Teesha McClam
            Teesha McClam
Staff Photo by Teesha McClam(Teesha McClam)

Roosters is on the hunt for more sites in the Dayton area.

Dan Ponton, president and CEO of the chicken chain, said even though many other casual dining chains are scaling back and closing stores, Roosters is on a growth streak and seeking to open three or four more stores in the area.

The Dayton Daily News reported first the restaurant was replacing its Dayton Mall area store with a larger Miami Twp. location.

The restaurant chain, based in Dublin, has been scooping up vacant buildings once home to brands like Ponderosas, Bob Evans and Denny’s.

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“But for us, we are able to buy their properties and go in and actually employ more people than they were employing anyways,” Ponton said.

Ponton said as he shops for the right location for the next restaurants, he has plenty of places to chose from.

“I used to get a call on buildings maybe once a month and now I’m getting two calls a week on what’s available,” he said.

It’s been a challenging environment for casual dining chains. By August, publicly traded chains announced the closure of more than 350 stores in the U.S. just this year, according to Nation’s Restaurant News.

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The casual dining industry has been squeezed by flat consumer spending, a highly competitive landscape and the rise of fast casual competitors.

But Ponton said for his business, this has left prime, vacant restaurant real estate at a good price for Roosters to buy.

He said Roosters has advantages despite the challenging overall environment because of aspects like its low menu prices and its low corporate overhead, with the company having no headquarters.

“Our world headquarters is my basement,” he said.

Roosters just bought the former Caddy’s Tap House at 9400 Springboro Pike for $1.7 million and plans to move its 103 N. Springboro Pike store near the Dayton Mall into the larger space.

Besides growing into a 8,500-square-foot space, the new restaurant location will let Roosters have a patio area with outdoor seating.

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Renovations should start in early 2018 with a build out complete sometime after March.

Ponton estimated Roosters might spend about $1 million on the renovation work to prepare the new store for opening.

Each store employs about 100 people, depending on the size of the location. Roosters has about 38 stores, with most in the Dayton area corporately owned and franchising in other markets.

Including Xenia and Springfield, there are six Roosters stores in the region and Ponton said he’s actively looking for the additional locations. He’s also looking to add more stores in the Columbus market.

“We’re very happy with all our locations, but we just want more,” he said.

Good Samaritan Hospital closing: What we know now

Published: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 @ 11:56 AM

Good Samaritan Hospital closing by end of 2018

Good Samaritan Hospital in Dayton will close by the end of 2018.

Premier Health announced today that the hospital, based on the northwest side of Dayton, will shut down by the end of 2018. The health network — the largest private employer in the region — said the closure is “part of Premier Health’s new strategic plan.”

“Premier Health made this difficult but necessary decision partly in response to the changing national and local dynamics of health care,” company officials said.

» MUST-READ BUSINESS NEWS: 5 things you need to know about Good Samaritan Hospital in Dayton

Here’s what we know about the closure now:

1. WHY IS THE HOSPITAL SHUTTING DOWN?  Premier said it was unsustainable to operate two hospitals within five miles of each other. “The impact of national changes in the health care industry, compounded by the changing face of Dayton over the past decade, made clear that Premier Health had to make significant changes to continue to serve the entire region and reach patients in innovative ways in their communities going forward,” Premier officials said on Wednesday morning.

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2. WILL OTHER PREMIER HOSPITALS CLOSE? No. Other Premier hospital will not be impacted. “Premier Health’s strategic plan encompasses the entire organization and calls for continued investment in higher acuity services and critical programs at Atrium Medical Center. It also remains committed to ensuring Upper Valley Medical Center remains the leading ambulatory and surgically focused community hospital in its region,” the company explained in a statement.

3. HOW MANY JOBS WILL BE IMPACTED? Approximately 1,600 jobs will be impacted. More than 1,500 employees worked for Good Samaritan Hospital in 2016, according to data obtained by this news organization. It is not immediately clear how many jobs will be cut in the process of the hospital’s closure, but Premier officials said they were committed to finding jobs for Good Samaritan employees in other Premier facilities.

Premier Health employs around 14,000 in the Dayton region.

4. WILL THE PROPERTY BE REDEVELOPED?

The firm tasked with fostering a redevelopment plan for the Montgomery County Fairgrounds will also be in charge of planning what the hospital’s campus could become.

The firm planning NEXT, a Columbus-based company, will be involved in potential redevelopment.

The goal will be to get the site “shovel ready” for potential redevelopment, Premier’s CEO said during a press conference. No date for any demolition has been set since the hospital will still be in operation until the end of the year.

Premier will also be working with CityWide Development Corporation to help repurpose the site.

Over the next few months, community input for redevelopment of the property will be sought, according to Premier. Updates on the plans for the property will be available online.

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