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Kroger finalizes merger with Home Chef meal delivery company

Published: Saturday, June 23, 2018 @ 4:52 PM


            Kroger at Beckett Commons in West Chester Twp. NICK DAGGY / STAFF
Kroger at Beckett Commons in West Chester Twp. NICK DAGGY / STAFF

The Kroger Co. finalized a merger with meal delivery company Home Chef this week as the Cincinnati-based company seeks to speed up growth in the meal kit market.

Home Chef will operate as a Kroger subsidiary and will assume responsibility for the grocer’s meal kit initiatives. Home Chef meal kits will now be featured in Kroger’s portfolio of stores and will remain available online.

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The initial transaction price is $200 million, with future earnout payments of up to $500 million over five years, contingent on milestones including significant growth of in-store and online meal kits, according to Kroger. Home Chef grew 150 percent in 2017, earning $250 million in revenue and delivering profit in two quarters, the company said.

“We couldn’t be more excited to join the Kroger family and for what this will mean for millions of customers,” said Pat Vihtelic, Home Chef founder and chief executive, in a statement. “We look forward to bringing Home Chef’s simple, convenient and enjoyable meal solutions to Kroger locations.”

Home Chef, founded in 2013, is headquartered in Chicago and operates a distribution center there, as well as in Atlanta and Los Angeles. The company employs about 1,000 people.

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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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Barnes & Noble enters into credit agreement to avoid bankruptcy 

Published: Monday, May 07, 2018 @ 10:08 AM

Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Getty Images
Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images(Getty Images)

Is Barnes & Noble the next chain to join the graveyard of failed retailers? 

Not if a credit facility helps the bookstore chain with its long-term turnaround plan. 

Barnes & Noble has entered into an agreement to extend its existing $750 million credit facility through July 2023. 

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The transaction was led by Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo Bank, National Association, and SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Inc. Bank of America will administer the loan.

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“We appreciate the strong level of support we received from our lending partners,” said Allen Lindstrom, CFO of Barnes & Noble. “Extending our credit facility provides us continued flexibility to support the seasonality of our business and execute on our strategic initiatives.”

The phrase “Save Barnes & Noble” started trending on Twitter a few months ago, after The New York Times published an opinion piece about the financial woes of the bookstore chain. The article cited the company's declining revenue from Nook, which has fallen more than 85 percent since 2012. 

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The book retailer reported its fiscal 2018 third quarter results earlier this month. Total sales for the third quarter were $1.2 billion, declining 5.3 percent as compared to the prior year. Comparable store sales decreased 5.8 percent for the quarter, primarily due to lower traffic. Comparable store sales trends did improve in January, declining 3.5 percent.

 

"While we were disappointed with our holiday sales, comparable store sales trends did improve in January," said Demos Parneros, Chief Executive Officer of Barnes & Noble. "We have initiated a strategic turnaround plan that is centered on growing the business and enhancing shareholder value. In the short term we are focused on stabilizing sales, improving productivity and reducing expenses. Achievement of our longer-term goals requires a significant multi-year transformation. We expect our plan to provide consistent improvement beginning in fiscal 2019 and beyond."

Barnes & Noble has more than 600 stores. It wouldn’t be the first bookstore giant to struggle as consumers head online for their shopping needs. Borders, another book and music retailer, ceased its operations in 2011. The retailer employed almost 20,000 people. 

Barnes & Noble has several locations in Ohio, including stores at Mad River Station Shopping Center and The Shoppes at Beavercreek. 

Other retailers have already shut down stores this year in the region. Both Elder-Beerman and Toys “R” Us have filed for bankruptcy and liquidated stores. 

Here’s what people had to say about Barnes & Noble: 

         

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