15 must-know things we’ve learned about holiday shopping

Published: Friday, November 10, 2017 @ 7:54 AM

Holiday retail: What you need to know

The holiday shopping season has officially started, and stores and online retailers announced early deals and special offers this week.

Here’s everything we learned about what stores have planned:

1. Retailers are using virtual reality and technology to train employees for those crazy holiday crowds.

As retailers gear up for the busiest shopping season of the year, companies are turning to new technology features like virtual reality to train employees and draw in shoppers. Retailers like Walmart and Target are adding new technology to compete with online retailers like Amazon that offer convenience and quickness to customers. LEARN MORE

2. The Greene has a full line-up of independent stores coming for its pop-up shop program.

Three new stores will open temporarily at The Greene throughout November. Businesses like home decor shop Grit & Grain and clothing store Shop Bravura opened in the first two weeks of the month. The pop-up shops are housed in a space at 4420 Glengarry Road. LEARN MORE

3. Toys”R”Us will stay open for 30 straight hours on Thanksgiving and Black Friday.

Toys“R”Us will open its doors at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving and remain open through 11 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 24 for 30 straight hours of shopping. The stores will remain closed during the day on Thanksgiving. LEARN MORE

4. Meijer will deliver gifts and groceries right to your door this holiday season.

Meijer is adding thousands of general merchandise items to its popular store-to-door home delivery service. Customers can now order gifts and toys, wrapping paper, artificial trees and Christmas decorations online and then have it delivered to their door this holiday season. LEARN MORE

5. Macy’s sales decreased again, and they’re hoping the holidays make up for it.

Macy’s reported its third quarter earnings, and company officials said the retailer is looking to gain “momentum” before 2018. Macy’s has locations at the Dayton Mall and the Mall at Fairfield Commons. READ MORE

6. Starbucks just added another new holiday drink to the menu.

Starbucks has unveiled another new holiday drink, and customers can get a special deal on their coffee for the next few days. The coffee chain released another new holiday drink — the Toasted White Chocolate Mocha. Other holiday flavors include the Peppermint Mocha and the Caramel Brulee Latte. LEARN MORE

Holiday Shopping Guide 2017
Deals, hiring, hours and everything else you need to know about local shopping for the holidays

7. If you need a job, there are thousands available at local retailers and distribution centers.

As retailers push early deals for shoppers this holiday season, thousands of jobs are being added to local distribution and logistics centers to meet the demand presented by increased online shopping. This is the first year that online sales are expected to surpass in-store sales during the holiday season, with about 59 percent consumers planning to shop online. LEARN MORE

8. Target’s Black Friday sales have already started.

Target stores will be open 6 p.m. to midnight on Thanksgiving, and will reopen at 6 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 24. Black Friday deals will also be available for customers on Target.com early the morning of Thanksgiving, with free shipping on all orders. READ MORE

9. Some toys like Hatchimals and Star Wars are going to fly off the shelves.

Half the list is dominated by relatively new toys launched after October 2016: Fingerlings, the Star Wars App Enabled R2-D2, and three L.O.L. Surprise! items, the research group found. The NPD Group has named the top 10 toys of the year that will most likely be hard to find closer to Christmas. LEARN MORE

10. Amazon has already announced early deals … and free shipping.

The online retailer said “customers will find better deals than ever before on the hottest gifts in toys, electronics, home goods and more, the best in holiday entertaining essentials including kitchen items and decor, and even wardrobe must haves,” according to a statement. LEARN MORE

11. Walmart is getting help with the holiday rush from robots.

The robots are about two-feet-tall and are outfitted with cameras that help them scan aisles and identify missing or mislabeled inventory across the stores. The robots also check for mispriced items, and give the information to employees who fix the issues. READ MORE

12. A local retailer says the death of retail has been greatly exaggerated.

Todd Bettman, who is founder and CEO of Shops by Todd Inc., owns and operates 19 shops in two states and the business continues to grow. He said his stores like Jake’s Toggery, Pandora and Occasionally Yours continue to bring in strong sales each year — in part due to the niche products sold and unique customer service provided by the brands. LEARN MORE

13. Amazon Key has launched in 36 cities, including West Chester and Cincinnati.

The service, offered exclusively for Prime members, will be available on Wednesday. Amazon Key allows customers to have their packages securely delivered inside their home without having to be there. Using the Amazon Key app, customers stay in control and can track their delivery with real-time notifications, watch the delivery happening live or review a video of the delivery after it is complete, according to Amazon. LEARN MORE

14. Elder-Beerman’s parent company got delisted from Nasdaq.

The financially struggling retailer will begin to trade on the OTCQX Best Market, leaving the Nasdaq exchange. Bon-Ton starts trading on the OTCQX on Thursday, but will continue to trade under the symbol “BONT.”LEARN MORE

15. Target doesn’t plan to keep stores open all night on Thanksgiving.

On one side is Target, which said Monday it will join Best Buy and Macy’s, which have closed their stores in the overnight hours in recent years. They have found less payoff in staying open during the wee hours when traffic dwindles now that their stores are open earlier on Thanksgiving evening. READ MORE

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Gander Mountain stores to reopen under new name

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 9:46 AM

This comes just after Gander Mountain filed for bankruptcy.

Gander Outdoors, formerly known as Gander Mountain, announced an initial list of retail stores that are scheduled to open in 2018.

Camping World Holdings Inc. was chosen as the winning bidder at a bankruptcy auction for certain acquired assets of Gander Mountain and the sale was approved in a bankruptcy court hearing in May 2017. Dozens of Gander Mountain stores closed after the company filed bankruptcy, including on location in Huber Heights. The Dayton Daily News was the first new organizations to report in June that the store, located at 8001 Old Troy Pike in Huber Heights, would close.

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In early January, Camping World announced it is beginning to reopen many of the Gander Outdoors stores to serve customers. Following months of negotiations and remodeling existing locations, the company plans to open 69 locations by May 2018.

No local stores will reopen this spring, but Gander Mountains is currently “pursuing more locations for expansion and expects to announce additional locations and markets in the near term.” Two stores in Ohio — in Mentor and Niles — will reopen by May.

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“It was important to me to bring Gander Outdoors back to many wonderful communities across the country because the employees are top notch and the stores provide great products and services for the community,” said Marcus Lemonis, chairman of Camping World Holdings.

The following locations will reopen under the new Gander Outdoors brand:

1. Florence, AL

2. Opelika, AL

3. Parker, CO

4. Ocala, FL

5. Pensacola, FL

6. St. Augustine, FL

7. Tampa, FL

8. Albany, GA

9. Cedar Rapids, IA

10. O’Fallon, IL

11. Peoria, IL

12. Rockford, IL

13. Springfield, IL

14. Ft. Wayne, IN

15. Greenfield, IN

16. Indianapolis (Castleton), IN

17. Wichita, KS

18. Bowling Green, KY

19. Paducah, KY

20. Coldwater, MI

21. Flint, MI

22. Kalamazoo, MI

23. Marquette, MI

24. Port Huron, MI

25. Saginaw, MI

26. Traverse City, MI

27. Utica, MI

28. Baxter, MN

29. Bemidji, MN

30. Forest Lake, MN

31. Hermantown (Duluth), MN

32. Lakeville, MN

33. Chesterfield, MO

34. Fayetteville, NC

35. Gastonia, NC

36. Greensboro, NC

37. Monroe, NC

38. Mooresville, NC

39. Winston-Salem, NC

40. Kingston, NY

41. Syracuse, NY

42. Tonawanda, NY

43. Mentor, OH

44. Niles, OH

45. Chambersburg, PA

46. Greensburg, PA

47. Johnstown, PA

48. Scranton, PA

49. Williamsport, PA

50. York, PA

51. N. Charleston, SC

52. Jackson, TN

53. Amarillo, TX

54. Ft. Worth, TX

55. Spring, TX

56. Tyler, TX

57. Fredericksburg, VA

58. Roanoke, VA

59. Appleton, WI

60. Baraboo, WI

61. Deforest (Madison), WI

62. Eau Claire, WI

63. Green Bay, WI

64. Janesville, WI

65. Kenosha, WI

66. Onalaska (Lacrosse), WI

67. Sheboygan, WI

68. Waukesha, WI

69. Wausau (Rothschild), WI

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Manufacturing wins help push Ohio jobless rate down

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 8:40 AM

(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

Gains in manufacturing jobs helped push Ohio’s unemployment rate down a tick last month, to 4.7 percent, down from 4.8 percent the month before.

Ohio’s non-agricultural wage and salary jobs increased by 2,500 over the month, from a revised 5,539,700 in November to 5,542,200 in December 2017, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services said Friday.

Some of the biggest gains were in goods-producing industries, at 919,500 people employed, growing 1,200 over the month as gains in manufacturing (3,500 new jobs) outweighed losses in construction (1,700 fewer jobs) and mining and logging (-600), the state said.

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The number of workers unemployed in Ohio fell in December to 270,000, down 9,000 from November. The number of unemployed has decreased by 14,000 in the past year from 284,000.

The December unemployment rate for Ohio also fell from 5 percent in December 2016.

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But the state’s jobless rate is still higher than the national number. The U.S. unemployment rate for December was 4.1 percent, unchanged from November, and down from 4.7 percent in December last year.

Ohio’s private service-providing sector, at 3,855,800, gained 600 jobs, the state said.

Employment gains were also seen in leisure and hospitality (2,200 added jobs), financial activities (+1,600), and educational and health services (+800 jobs).

Meanwhile, there were losses in professional and business services (-3,500) and trade, transportation, and utilities (-500).

Information and other services had no change over the month. Government employment, at 766,900, increased 700. Gains in state government (+1,900) outweighed losses in local (-1,100) and federal (-100) government.

Kroger to celebrate Fiona the Hippo’s first birthday with special items

Published: Thursday, January 11, 2018 @ 8:27 AM

Fiona the hippo explores the outdoor habitat at the Cincinnati Zoo

Fiona the Hippo is turning 1 year old and Kroger wants to help you celebrate her big day.

Kroger stores in Cincinnati and Dayton will help celebrate Fiona’s first birthday with a fun, floral bouquet and cookies beginning on Jan. 17. Approximately $1 of the $9.99 price of the Fiona Birthday bouquet will go to support the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden. The bouquet features a picture tag of the famous hippo.

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Fiona, the baby hippopotamus, captivated the hearts and attention of people across the world after she was born six weeks premature at the Cincinnati Zoo last year. She is the smallest hippo ever to survive, and now she weighs more than 600 pounds.

“We wanted to do a fun bouquet for her and it just seemed perfect to do this for her birthday. We worked with the Cincinnati Zoo for information and official Fiona pictures,” said Margaret McClure, vice president of merchandising, Kroger’s Cincinnati/Dayton division. “We also went through several different bouquet ‘recipes’ before deciding on the perfect mix to showcase Fiona’s fun personality.”

Single-packaged Busken cookies with Fiona picture will also be sold at Kroger stores for $2.99 with .50 cents going to the Zoo. The bouquet and cookie will be available while supplies last.

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Judges: Good Samaritan closing adds to shortage of mental health care

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 5:29 PM


            The closing of Good Samaritan Hospital in Dayton will affect mental healthcare in Montgomery County, judges say. STAFF/FILE
The closing of Good Samaritan Hospital in Dayton will affect mental healthcare in Montgomery County, judges say. STAFF/FILE

The closing of Dayton’s Good Samaritan Hospital will impact already under-served mental health patients, according to county judges who on Thursday celebrated the launch of a mental health specialty docket.

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“It seems inescapable to me that when you close a major health facility like Good Samaritan, it cannot do anything but negatively impact the health needs, including mental health needs, of the community that they serve that’s proximate to that hospital,” said Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Judge Steven Dankof.

“From the standpoint of a judge in Montgomery County, the mental health services that are available to our citizens — and particularly the least among us, those in the greatest need because of their financial circumstances — we need more mental health facilities, not less.”

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Premier Health announced Wednesday that Good Samaritan Hospital in northwest Dayton will close by the end of the year.

For Judge Gregory Singer, who will oversee the mental health docket beginning next month, the closing affected him personally and professionally.

“It strikes me very poignantly that three my of my many siblings were born at Good Samaritan Hospital,” Singer said. “All three of my children were born at Good Samaritan Hospital and so that closing is personally impactful to me.”

Professionally, Singer said Good Sam’s closing compounds the effect of the closing of a behavioral health location.

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“We regret it for reasons having to do with on the heels of Day-Mont West closing and now a primary health facility in the neighborhood I grew up in now closing as well, it’s impactful,” Singer said.

“As we mentioned today, we need to go to where these folks are and they are in the Dayton View area as well as other places,” he added. “While we certainly understand Premier’s decision, we’re hopeful that some kind of a health facility will move in much like it has with St. Elizabeth.”

U.S. District Court Judge Walter Rice has often said that Dayton’s mental health professionals are first-rate, but there just aren’t enough of them.

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Dankof said his personal experience matches that characterization.

“I would agree with Judge Rice, we’ve got the quality of care. We don’t have the quantity of care,” Dankof said. “And it is also sadly true that the largest mental health facility in Montgomery County is our jail. And everyone knows it. Not everybody is willing to admit it. It’s true.

“It’s just wrong on so many levels. And we really need, as people of good will, to do something about that.”