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.

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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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Democrats appear at Good Sam for Medicaid expansion support

Published: Friday, July 20, 2018 @ 4:23 PM


            Ohio House District 40 candidate Ryan Rebecca Taylor, center, speaks in front of Good Samaritan Hospital. KAITLIN SCHROEDER/STAFF WRITER
Ohio House District 40 candidate Ryan Rebecca Taylor, center, speaks in front of Good Samaritan Hospital. KAITLIN SCHROEDER/STAFF WRITER

Ohio Democrats gathered in front of Good Samaritan Hospital on Friday to advocate for Medicaid expansion support.

The Dayton hospital is poised to close 12:01 a.m. Monday, and the hospital’s emergency department has already closed.

Local Democratic candidates said erosion of Medicaid expansion could lead to more hospital closings as that burden of care covered under the state-federal insurance program instead becomes unpaid hospital bills and lost revenue.

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Premier Health, which operates Good Samaritan, has said the hospital is closing because it isn’t sustainable to maintain two hospitals five miles from of each other when health care is shifting to outpatient settings and the population in Dayton is falling.

Premier did not endorse the event outside of the hospital.

Premier said in a statement following the event that the Dayton area is one of just a few large metropolitan areas in the United States that lack a public or university-operated hospital, which help cover the community cost of caring for Medicaid patients, and that combined with a “low per-capita level of local levy support for health services” underscores why area hospitals need Ohio’s Medicaid expansion to remain in place.

“However, Medicaid expansion was not a factor in the decision to close Good Samaritan Hospital’s main campus on Philadelphia Drive. Instead, Premier Health is doing its part to address the excess number of inpatient beds across the entire Dayton region,” Premier stated.

But Ohio Democrats still highlighted it Friday as a symbol of how curtailed Medicaid expansion could harm hospitals because they said it shows an example of a hospital closing and how that affects a community.

David Pepper, chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party, said Good Samaritan is “symbolic, unfortunately, of what might happen if we don’t get it right in November.”

“This November we have on the ballot a group of candidates like the candidates here today who are fighting for things like Medicaid expansion, they are fighting for people with pre-existing conditions,” he said. “On the other side we have opponents who have voted again and again against Medicaid expansion.”

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Besides Pepper, those in attendance included Ohio Senate District 5 candidate Paul Bradley, Ohio House District 40 candidate Ryan Rebecca Taylor, Ohio House District 41 candidate and Dayton Public Schools Board Vice President John McManus and Ohio House District 42 candidate Zach Dickerson.

Mike DeWine, Republican candidate for Ohio governor, recently said he would support keeping Medicaid expansion but would want reforms like work requirements.

As Ohio Attorney General, DeWine had previously challenged the Affordable Care Act and its provisions, including Medicaid expansion. His Democratic opponent, Richard Cordray, supports Medicaid expansion.

About 700,000 low income Ohioans are covered under the expansion of Medicaid.

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Retailer at The Greene warns customers about credit card processing issue

Published: Friday, July 20, 2018 @ 8:17 AM

The Greene Town Center seen from the air

A retailer at The Greene Town Center alerted customers about an issue with transactions being processed correctly at its store.

Jake’s Toggery, a clothing retailer, sent an email to customers alerting them about an issue with their credit card processor. NCR Merchant Solutions told the retailer that transactions made at two locations of Jake’s Toggery did not process correctly.

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The two impacted stores are Jake’s Toggery at The Greene in Beavercreek and Jake’s Toggery Polaris in Columbus. If a customer made a purchase at one of these store locations from June 21 to July 17, the purchase has not shown up on their credit card statement. The retailer said NCR Merchant Solutions is working to reprocess each affected transactions, which should hit accounts soon, according to the email.

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“We recognize how concerning seeing an unrecognized or forgotten transaction from several weeks ago might be, but please rest assured that our servers and systems are secure, and that at no time would any of your information have been compromised,” the email stated.

NCR Merchant Solutions has issued the following statement: “We sincerely apologize for this issue and are hoping to get all corrected soon.”

Jake’s Toggery also has a location at the Liberty Center in Liberty Twp. 

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Engineer: Most residents favor Mad River-Alex Bell traffic roundabout

Published: Friday, July 20, 2018 @ 10:30 AM

The Montgomery County Engineer is studying the idea of a roundabout for the West Alex-Bell Road and Mad River Road intersection.

So far, most public comments have favored building a traffic roundabout at the busy Mad River/Alex-Bell roads intersection, a roundabout that Montgomery County Engineer Paul Gruner said would do away with the thousand-foot backups that stymie the current four-way-stop intersection at the busiest hours.

“We’re reducing the 1,000-foot backups to nothing essentially at the peak hours,” Gruner told a I-70/75 Economic Development Association breakfast meeting at Sinclair Community College Friday.

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People may comment on the roundabout proposal until July 31. A comment form  on the idea can be found at the Montgomery County engineer’s office web site. (Go to www.mcohio.org/government/elected_officials/engineer/Alex_Bell_Mad_River_Notice.php.)

 

Gruner joined Randy Chevalley, Ohio Department of Transportation District 7 director, in talking about upcoming area transportation projects Friday, including the plan to add a lane on Interstate 70 from Ohio 68 to Ohio 72 between Dayton and Springfield, perhaps the regional road project that will affect the greatest number of motorists.

Some 65,000 to 70,000 motorists use that stretch of I-70 daily, Scott LeBlanc, ODOT District 7 construction engineer, has told this news outlet.

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The start for the $43 million I-70 project is only days away, slated to begin Aug. 9 with a September 2021 completion date. Traffic is to be maintained on two lanes in each direction during construction.

No final decision has been made yet on the roundabout, Gruner said after his public remarks to the development association. He noted that the project will require federal funding.

He estimated that the project, if approved, wouldn’t be completed until about the year 2012. But right now, Gruner and his staff are leaning toward that option.

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“We had a consultant do a study which said a roundabout is the best solution,” Gruner said. “So far, the comments are running about three out of four in favor of the roundabout. Very few people are against doing anything.”

The estimated cost for the project is about $1.5 million at this point, he said.

“We’re waiting until after the comment period to make a decision, me and my staff — or me, I guess,” he added. “But we are starting to put together some funding applications in anticipation of that.”

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