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.

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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.

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University of Cincinnati buys Kettering Health reproductive practice

Published: Wednesday, July 18, 2018 @ 5:39 PM


            Michael Thomas, MD, executive vice chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and chief of the division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and a UC Health physician. CONTRIBUTED
Michael Thomas, MD, executive vice chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and chief of the division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and a UC Health physician. CONTRIBUTED

Kettering Health Network’s reproductive health practice has been acquired by UC Health.

The academic health system run by University of Cincinnati will manage the Kettering fertility practice starting Oct. 1.

UC Health Center for Reproductive Health – Kettering will maintain its current location in Kettering Medical Center’s Physician Office Building.

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The acquisition will combine two prominent Greater Cincinnati fertility practices — UC Health’s Center for Reproductive Health and Kettering Reproductive Medicine — into one full-service reproductive health practice with locations spanning the Interstate 75 corridor from Kettering, to Florence, Ky., UC said in a statement.

“We are proud to bring together these two well-respected reproductive health centers. Both centers have served their respective communities for many years, and this merger will allow us to combine resources to expand access to advanced fertility care for more patients across the tri-state region,” said Dr. Michael Thomas, UC’s chief of the division of reproductive endocrinology and infertility, in a statement.

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“It also builds upon Kettering Medical Center’s existing relationship with UC in the areas of maternal-fetal medicine, and an established shared embryologist and lab director for reproductive medicine,” Terry Burns, president of Kettering Medical Center, said in a statement.

Beginning Oct. 1, Kettering’s Dr. Mark Bidwell and Erin Yontz, a nurse practitioner, will join UC Health.

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Ohio Burger King restaurant gives free burgers to dog dying of cancer

Published: Wednesday, July 18, 2018 @ 11:34 AM

TOMS King, a Burger King franchisee, is expanding in the Dayton area, starting with a new restaurant on Hoke Road in Clayton.

A Burger King location in Ohio wanted to help a dog dying of cancer enjoy his last days.

A Toledo man’s post on Twitter went viral after he shared the story of his dying dog, Cody. The dog was diagnosed with cancer, and was given one to three months to live. The owner has gone to Burger King every day to get the dog a plain hamburger to eat along with his many medications.

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When an employee heard about Cody’s story, they decided to give the dying dog free hamburgers for the rest of his life.

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Harry Potter festival coming to Ohio

Published: Wednesday, July 18, 2018 @ 10:03 AM

Real-Life Diagon Alley Gets Magical Holiday Touch

The magical world of Harry Potter is coming to Ohio.

Ohio-Made Getaways is hosting “A Magical Getaway: Celebrating Potter Palooza” in Lancaster on Aug. 3 and 4. Fairfield County District Library’s community-wide celebration of 20 years of Harry Potter is a two-day getaway with plenty of fun activities for wizards and muggles of all ages.

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Lancaster is less than two hours from Dayton. Guests pick up a Marauder’s Map at the visitors center at 205 W. Main St. The festival includes:

• A wizarding costume contest at the library on 2 p.m. at 219 N. Broad St.

• Wizard Rock Band Tonks & the Aurors concert at 3 p.m. at the Downtown Bandstand at 3 p.m. on Friday

• Quidditch Demonstration at Rising Park at 203 E. Fair Ave. at 10 a.m. on Saturday

• Hogwarts Herbology class, where you will create and tend to your very own magical mandrake plant to take home and watch grow

• Visit Ollivander’s Wand Shop at the First Presbyterian Church (222 N. Broad St.)

• Art and Clay offers a“Mischief Managed” dinner plate painting project with a fun and simple design

• Two Broke Artists lead a Harry Potter Youth Painting Class.

Learn more.

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Taking flight: Air taxi and delivery drone research awards are made

Published: Wednesday, July 18, 2018 @ 9:23 AM

Andrew Shepherd (left), chief scientist and executive director of Sinclair Community College’s Unmanned Aerial Systems Department, and Jeffrey Miller, the department’s chief operating officer, say university research is steadily helping to advance commercial UAV applications. Sinclair will be part of new research into air taxis and delivery drones. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF
Andrew Shepherd (left), chief scientist and executive director of Sinclair Community College’s Unmanned Aerial Systems Department, and Jeffrey Miller, the department’s chief operating officer, say university research is steadily helping to advance commercial UAV applications. Sinclair will be part of new research into air taxis and delivery drones. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF

A research network that includes Wright State University, the University of Dayton Research Institute and Sinclair Community College awarded $6.3 million to four teams to support research into air taxis and delivery drones, the network has announced.

Funding was awarded under the network’s “Sustaining Ohio’s Aeronautical Readiness and Innovation in the Next Generation (SOARING) initiative,” the Ohio Federal Research Network said in an announcement.

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The SOARING initiative is designed to develop and sustain unmanned air systems (UASs), personal air vehicles, and logistics delivery air vehicles.

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The four awarded projects are:

• Autonomous/ Remote Piloted “Air Uber” System, led by Dayton’s Persistent Surveillance Systems.

• Regional Unmanned Traffic Management System led by the University of Cincinnati.

• UAV Detect-and-Avoid Sensor Fusion, led by Ghostwave Inc. in Columbus.

• Brushless Doubly-Fed Machine and Drive System, led by The Ohio State University.

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Sinclair College, the University of Dayton Research Institute, Wright State University, business Autonodyne (which is expected to open an office in Ohio), Bosma Technical Services, of Tipp City, are expected to participate in the project.

Springfield’s Demeter UAVs, Akron’s Event 38 Unmanned Systems, IS4S (which is expected to open an office in Beavercreek), Lockheed Martin Procerus Technologies (of Vineyard, Utah), MacAir Aviation and MacNauchtan Development, both of Xenia, will also take part, as will Simlat Inc., of Miamisburg.

Projects must focus on priority research initiatives of the Air Force Research Lab, the Naval Medical Research Unit Dayton, the National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC), and the National Aeronautical and Space Administration’s Glenn Research Center.

Each project includes at least two Ohio universities, an industry member and engagement with an Ohio-based arm of a federal partner, the network said.

Applicants must also propose a live flight demonstration for the technologies they develop.

These awards “will drive innovation,” said Ricky Peters, chair of the network’s executive review board. “Each requires an actual demonstration at the end of the project which is very exciting.”

Peters added: “I think our only concern is that we were only able to award funding to four of the five recommended projects. We are hopeful that we’ll be able to identify additional funds because all of the recommended proposals are of such caliber they deserve to move forward.”

In three years, the network said it has leveraged $32 million in state funds to attract nearly $120 million in new research awards, with $350 million more in its funding pipeline.

The network’s research projects include 11 universities and community colleges throughout the state and 56 industry partners.

“Because of (the network), we are now seeing groups of researchers from both the public and private sector working together with our federal partners to leverage Ohio’s research assets, in ways that had never occurred before,” said network Executive Director Dennis Andersh.

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