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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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4 of the best ways to turn your home into a cash cow

Published: Friday, November 17, 2017 @ 4:17 PM

Sites like Airbnb let you rent out your home to make money.
Sites like Airbnb let you rent out your home to make money.

Your house is a large expense with many associated costs like a mortgage payment, insurance, maintenance and more.

RELATED: How to Cash In on Short-Term Rentals Like Airbnb, VRBO

It provides a roof over your head, of course, but since it usually costs you money each month, why not put it to work for you and earn some cash in the process?

The following are four ways your house can make you money:

You can relax on the lake, in the woods or even in the back of a van when you're looking for a staycation in Gwinnett County.(Airbnb)

List your home with Airbnb or VRBO.

If you're planning to be out of town for a few days or don't mind bunking with a friend, you may be able to make some money by renting out your home through sites like Airbnb and VRBO.

Before jumping in, you'll need to take time to learn about the market, your expenses and any taxes you may need to pay. And before you list your property, you'll need to understand how to make it stand out with a good listing, including compelling photos and competitive pricing. Airbnb has a series of toolkits to help with this.

RELATED: Atlanta has Airbnb's most desired rental property in the world.

Rent it out to the area's growing TV and film industry.

When TV, film and commercial producers want to depict a home on screen, many times they'll rent the real thing, according to Money. It can be inconvenient for owners, however, since their homes may be taken over by a large crew and be completely rearranged.

On the other hand, homeowners often have fun with the experience while making some extra money. And while you're watching TV or a movie, you may be able to spot your home.

Host a foreign exchange student or faculty member.

Temporarily hosting a foreign exchange student or faculty member who's studying or teaching in this country can help you make some extra cash for anywhere from six weeks to six months at a time. You'll also be exposed to a different culture and language, and the experience could help you form a bond that lasts even when your guest returns home.

The Penny Hoarder suggests contacting student housing offices at local community colleges and universities, asking to be placed on their list of host families. After this, you'll have to apply, be interviewed, and allow your home to be toured. You'll also need to pass background and reference checks.

The 4-bedroom house sits on a corner lot with a concrete driveway that leads up to the two 2-car garages both having rear service doors. CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS BY KATHY TYLER

Rent out your driveway or storage space.

If you have extra space in your driveway, you may be able to make some money by letting others park there, according to Men's Health. This is especially true if you live near a commuter rail line or sports stadium, but you'll need to check to make sure you're not violating any local ordinances. Check out websites like JustPark to get started.

The Balance also suggests renting out any extra storage space you may have. From vehicles to personal items, your garage or home could help you make money through a site like StoreAtMyHouse.

Related

6 things to know about working for Uber

Published: Friday, November 17, 2017 @ 2:27 PM

Here are six things you need to know about Uber before working for them as a driver Uber has its own system for estimating earnings You need to be a fit driver to work for Uber You might also face disqualification if you've got a record Your vehicle's gotta be fairly roomy Local vehicle regulation can trip you up Uber will lease you a vehicle You can work for Uber on scooter too

Uber has been making headlines in recent months for everything from a new CEO to industry regulation. But if you want to work as a driver for the service that revolutionized the taxi-transport industry, there is more important information about Uber you'll want to check out.

RELATED: 5 things to know before becoming a Lyft driver

Here are six things you need to know about Uber before working for them as a driver:

Uber has its own system for estimating earnings. When you see those tantalizing statistics about how much Uber drivers in your area are making, keep in mind that they're not referring to a profitable side hustle or long-term estimations. Uber estimates local net median hourly earnings of drivers using stats from the previous month and assumes you'd be working 40 hours per week and four weeks per month.

You need to be a fit driver to work for Uber. If you've sat in the back of an Uber vehicle on your way home from a bar and thought, "I could do this," well, maybe. But before you even start worrying about your vehicle qualifying, recognize that you yourself could be denied work for any number of reasons, according to an article written by Ridester staff and last updated in September 2017. 

To start, you must be 21 to drive for Uber and have three years of driving experience. From there, it gets trickier. You'll need an in-state drivers license, in-state insurance with your name on the policy and pass a background check successfully. 

You must not appear on any national or state sex offender registries or suspected terrorist databases.

 And just in case you think you're home free, you might also face disqualification if you've got one of these on your record:

  • DUI or drug related driving conviction
  • Fraud
  • Reckless driving
  • Hit and run
  • Violent crime (assault, battery, homicide)
  • Act of terror
  • Sexual offense
  • Crime involving property damage
  • Felony or misdemeanor for theft (burglary, stealing, robbery or anything similar)
  • Fatal accidents
  • Resisting/evading arrest
  • Any other felony
  • You'll also be disqualified if within the past three years you have driven on a suspended, revoked or invalid license.

Uber debuted in Austin in 2014. RALPH BARRERA / AMERICAN-STATESMAN(Ralph Barrera/The Conversation)

Your vehicle's gotta be fairly roomy. Even to drive for UberX, the basic service, you'll need a four-door car, minivan or truck that sits four passengers plus a driver. And it can't be too beat up − no major cosmetic damage and it must be able to pass vehicle inspection. You can't get the gig with a taxi, police or other marked vehicle or full-size van.

Local vehicle regulation can trip you up. In addition to Uber's minimum requirements, your city will have its own regulations for vehicles. Sign up on Uber to get more information.

Uber will lease you a vehicle. If you qualify as a driver but your vehicle isn't up to snuff, renting or leasing a vehicle through Uber might be the solution to send you on your way.

You can work for Uber on scooter too. Uber has a delivery service, and some of the possible vehicles are bikes and scooters (they'll also take cars, usually).

Related

German grocery retailer Lidl to expand to Beavercreek

Published: Tuesday, October 10, 2017 @ 10:28 AM

Could Lidl come to your neighborhood?

German grocery retailer Lidl will open a store in Beavercreek, one of the first locations in Ohio.

Planning officials confirmed with this news organization that the German chain grocery store Lidl has submitted a land development application to build a grocery store on a lot on the southwest corner of N. Fairfield Road and Lakeview Drive. More than four acres of land will be developed.

» RELATED: Logan’s Roadhouse renovation, new hotel plans approved by city council

“It’s great news any time the consumer has more choices,” said Sandra Pereira, associate city planner.

The proposed site of the Lidl grocery store is near the ALDI grocery store, which opened at 2451 Lakeview Drive in Beavercreek in December 2016. The ALDI spans 18,500 square feet, and offers discounted prices on grocery items. 

This news organization has reached out to Lidl for more information about the property.

The chain, which is known for its discounted prices on food products, is focused on its first round of 10 stores that just opened in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. Lidl is also known for its private labels and innovative store layouts — and it even sells “fashionable but casual” clothing.

» INITIAL REPORT: German grocery retailer Lidl looks to expand in Ohio

The popular discount grocery chain is rapidly opening stores, with its U.S. headquarters situated in Arlington, Va. A spokesman told the Dayton Daily News in July that the grocery chain is “actively looking at sites across the state.”

The company posted two job openings in Columbus earlier last month — hiring for a regional real estate development manager and a regional real estate acquisitions manager. Both jobs would be based out of Columbus and would require travel, according to the job postings.

» SNEAK PEEK: Take a look at the new grocery store coming to Dayton

Lidl is looking for possible new store sites in Texas, Ohio, Virginia, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey and Delaware, according to Lidl’s website. Lidl plans to create more than 5,000 jobs in the U.S. in the next year, and will open up to 100 stores on the East Coast by summer 2018.

» RELATED: Parties and handshakes to help get Gem City Market off the ground

According to Lidl officials, potential sites should be: located within current targeted Lidl areas; a minimum of 3.5 acres to accommodate a 36,000-square-foot stand-alone store with room for at least 150 parking spaces; positioned in an established retail location; within a dense population area within three miles. Possible sites must also see traffic of more than 20,000 vehicles come through the area daily, and must be zoned for grocery retail use.

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Elder-Beerman parent company to close 40 stores

Published: Friday, November 17, 2017 @ 9:11 AM

Learn more.

Bon-Ton Stores Inc., the parent company of Elder-Beerman, will close at least 40 stores by the end of 2018.

The retailer will shutter about a sixth of its 260 department stores, furniture galleries and clearance centers. The chain has Elder-Beerman stores at the Dayton Mall, Mall at Fairfield Common and several others at Dayton area locations.

The company has not disclosed what stores will be shuttered.

» Elder-Beerman: What’s next for Bon Ton-owned stores?

Elder-Beerman’s parent company hired a restructuring firm earlier this year to look into bankruptcy as it grapples with more than $900 million of debt. Bon Stores Inc. hired PJT Partners to find ways to refinance the company’s debt as sales and customer traffic declines at stores like Elder-Beerman, which got its start in Dayton in 1883 when the Boston Dry Goods Store opened.

The company’s comparable store sales decreased by more than 6 percent in the second quarter compared to 2016, and its net loss was more than $33 million. Total sales in the period decreased 7 percent to $504 million, compared with $542 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2016.

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

Bon-Ton also owns and operates stores like the Bon-Ton, Bergner’s, Boston Store, Carson’s, Elder-Beerman, Herberger’s and Younkers nameplates. The company hasn’t stayed immune to the retail apocalypse. Bon-Ton closed its Bon-Ton store at Maine Mall in South Portland, Maine at the end of August — laying off 55 employees. Bon-Ton closed a store location at the Ohio Valley Mall in St. Clairsville, Ohio in late March. That closure impacted 46 employees.

The Elder-Beerman store in Towne Mall Galleria in Middletown, which is in Warren County, also closed earlier this year. The closing impacted 65 employees.

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