Scenic Solutions sets the stage for success

Published: Monday, March 05, 2018 @ 8:35 AM

Dan McLaughlin, partner in West Carrollton’s Scenic Solutions, with a mockup of the front of a vintage Cadillac Eldorado. The company has built a $3 million-a-year business primarily building entertainment sets for clients. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF
Thomas Gnau/Staff
Dan McLaughlin, partner in West Carrollton’s Scenic Solutions, with a mockup of the front of a vintage Cadillac Eldorado. The company has built a $3 million-a-year business primarily building entertainment sets for clients. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF(Thomas Gnau/Staff)

When the Lion King show pulled into Dayton’s Schuster Center in 2016 needing stage curtains, the Broadway show needed them immediately.

The production knew just who to call — Scenic Solutions, a small West Carrollton company that builds entertainment and theater sets for customers around the world, building a $3 million-a-year business along the way.

The company was born in 1996 and is led today by owners (and married couple) Dan and Mary Beth McLaughlin. Dan McLaughlin was production manager for the Dayton Ballet for 16 years.

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“Then it kind of blended with this,” he said of Scenic Solutions. “We moved into this building (355 Gargrave Road) in 2005.”

Mary Beth McLaughlin, home in the beginning with two young children, began sewing products with which to launch a catalog business.

“It just got bigger from there,” Dan McLaughlin said.

The company works in theaters here and abroad, on land and on the sea. One can find the company’s elaborate sets on cruise ships, large public venues, TV studios and in many other settings. Their work takes many of the company’s 29 employees to Germany, Florida, Vancouver, Seattle, 80,000-spectator Wrestlemania events and elsewhere.

“I discovered that you can take a sewing machine through the TSA (the Transportation Security Administration),” said Hannah Blosser, Scenic Solutions assistant manager for soft goods.

“All the things we do are cool,” Mary Beth McLaughlin said. “And it’s all different.”

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Said her husband: “We tend to get around.”

The company’s staple is really the cruise ship sector, which right now is offering the highest profitability for Scenic Solutions. Norwegian Cruise Lines may be the company’s chief client at the moment. The business is serving a fleet of 16 ships, with a new ship coming on line in March.

“The ship is being built in Germany right now,” Dan McLaughlin said. “It won’t even be finished by the time we’re done with our scope. We’ll have everything ready to go for the show.”

Cruise ships are a specialty market — a market that requires travel and it requires “people who know what they’re doing,” he said.

These ships are striving to put Broadway-caliber shows on for passengers. So sets and components need to be durable and mobile. They need to be able to collapse, to move through smaller entry-ways, halls and doors. And they need to be buildable in a simple way, without tools.

Crafting all of that takes skill — carpentry, electrical work, computer-programmed CNC metal-cutting work, sewing and much more. The business needs employees who are masters of several trades, not just one.

Sets are put together in a 24,000-square-foot main construction area with a CNC cutting area and an overhead crane. A sewing shop is located across Gargrave Road.

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And jobs need to be done correctly the first time.

“If you’re installing (a set) on a ship, you don’t get a chance to run to the hardware store,” Dan McLaughlin said.

Is it surprising that a small Midwestern company is working for international companies?

Not at all, the McLaughlins say. Dayton is maybe 14 hours from Miami, Fla. for a team of drivers, eight hours from New York City and shipping across the Atlantic Ocean takes pretty much the same amount of time for everyone.

The Dayton area offers a great economy, the couple said. Labor and other costs are lower here. A better quality of life can be achieved here.

“They can’t seem to get enough of it,” Dan McLaughlin said of Scenic Solution’s customers.

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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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Dream job alert: Ohio’s first Legoland Discovery Center hiring 40 people

Published: Saturday, June 23, 2018 @ 2:50 PM

            Ohio’s first LEGOLAND Discovery Center will open this fall in Columbus.
Ohio’s first LEGOLAND Discovery Center will open this fall in Columbus.

Ohio’s first Legoland Discovery Center is looking for 40 full-time and part-time employees in a July hiring push.

Open interviews at the indoor playground’s job fair will be July 13 to 15. The company is looking for experience in food and beverage, retail, admissions and custodial roles, according to a release.

Legoland will open Sept. 21 at the Easton Town Center in Columbus.

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Applicants can visit Legoland Discovery Center offices at 3991 Worth Ave., Columbus, from noon to 6 p.m. July 13, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. July 14 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 15.

The 36,000-square foot facility is located in Easton’s current Station Building, next to the AMC movie theater. Easton is already home to a Lego store in the town center’s north district

The Discovery Center will have a range of Lego play areas including two interactive rides, master classes, special party rooms for celebrations and a cinema, according to Easton Town Center. The Discovery Center will also include a Miniland, which will reflect the iconic buildings of the Columbus area.

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Those looking to work for the company are encouraged to apply in advance on the Columbus Legoland website .


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Recalls: Ladders and scarves 

Published: Friday, June 22, 2018 @ 6:35 PM
Updated: Friday, June 22, 2018 @ 6:30 PM


Dangerous ladders and women’s scarves are on this week’s list of recalled products from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.


One person has reportedly been hurt in a fall from a broken Werner Multipurpose Telescoping Aluminum ladder. 

There are five models with the following model numbers, date codes, and sizes, under recall: 

Date codes: 121744XX or 011844XX

  • MT-IAA-13A -13 feet
  • MT-IAA-17A- 17 feet
  • MT-IAA-22A -22 feet
  • MT-IAA-26- 26 feet
  • MT-IAA-26A-26 feet

The ladders were sold at Home Depot and Lowe’s stores between April 2018 and May 2018. 

Don’t use a recalled ladder and contact Werner at 888-523-3370 or return it to the store to receive a full refund. 

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Butterfly print women’s scarves by Yangtze are under recall because they do not meet flammability standards.

No injuries have been reported but don’t wear the recalled 100 percent silk scarves which were sold under the name “Long Georgette Silk Scarf Butterfly Print” exclusively at


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The scarves are approximately 67 x 22 inches and were sold in 11 colors from January 2017 through April 2018. 

Contact Yangtze Store at 877-861-1539 for a full refund. 

For more information on these and previous recalls visit

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Good Samaritan Hospital closing day set

Published: Friday, June 22, 2018 @ 2:57 PM


Good Samaritan Hospital will close 12:01 a.m. July 23.

Premier Health, which operates the hospital, shared the closing date late Friday afternoon.

Premier announced earlier this year that it would shut down Good Samaritan Hospital, moving 1,600 jobs out of northwest Dayton.

The Dayton-based health system had previously said it would close Good Samaritan no later than Aug. 29 but hadn’t set a specific date.

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The announcement has received some community backlash over the loss of the anchor institution, and a group of clergy in May filed a federal complaint saying the closure is a civil rights violation of black residents now served by the hospital.

Good Samaritan is the closest hospital for 38,600 people — 75 percent of them African American, according to a study of travel times by the Kirwan Institute at Ohio State University, the complaint stated. The complaint also states that the loss of the hospital will harm women through the loss of maternal health care in an area with high rates of infant mortality.

Premier leaders have said the closure was a difficult but necessary decision to reduce unnecessary duplication of services, pointing to the high number of empty beds and the high cost of maintaining an inefficient and out-of-date facility when Premier has another hospital in the city, Miami Valley.

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With hospital stays on the decline and health care shifting to outpatient centers, the need for large hospitals has declined, Premier officials have said. The hospital will be torn down, and Premier also plans to give $10 million toward redeveloping the site.

The hospital has already started winding down operations, and the emergency department will close at noon on July 19. The closing time was previously reported as 11:59 p.m. July 19 but the time has since changed. 

Obstetrics and gynecology was the first major health service to move out, and was transferred in April to Miami Valley Hospital.

The satellite locations – including Good Samaritan Health Center North in Englewood and Good Samaritan Health Center Huber Heights – will stay open but will be renamed Miami Valley to reflect the new main hospital they will be under.

The hospital dates back to 1928 when the Sisters of Charity and the community raised money to start construction on a new hospital in Dayton and has since been added on to many times.

Premier, with $1.7 billion in revenue, is the region’s largest private employer. Besides Good Samaritan, the health system operates Miami Valley Hospital, Atrium Medical Center, Upper Valley Medical Center, as well as a large network of physicians.

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