What’s that car button for? Local dealership adds IT desk for customers

Published: Thursday, October 05, 2017 @ 2:53 PM

When someone bought a new car in the 1990s, they could take the keys and go. Now as cars become more like computers, Lexus of Dayton says car owners need ongoing help from IT staff so they can understand the advanced software that comes with their new vehicle.

A recent $3.5 million remodel of the Washington Twp. dealership includes an IT work station for car owners to get help from full-time staff who help car owners understand everything from working the navigation system to connecting their phone’s blue tooth to customizing a luxury car’s advance climate control settings.

Dealerships across the state are facing the same changes as car buyers increasingly need ongoing tech support to understand all the software that comes with their new vehicle.

“Twenty years ago, when a consumer went into a dealership, the delivery process was ‘here are the keys, gas on the right, break on the left, have fun.’ Today there’s so much technology in these vehicles … you just can’t cover it all at once,” said Zach Doran, president of the Ohio Automobile Dealers Association.

The dealership’s evolution to needing full-time IT staff reflects how today’s car buyers sometimes need ongoing tech help with their vehicles in the same way they might need help with their laptops or phones.

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“This past week we’ve had guests who picked up a car and they’ve been back five times,” said Colin Frake, technology specialist with Lexus of Dayton.

Doran said some dealerships even host classes for car owners to stop by and learn all the safety and convenience technology in their cars.

For Lexus of Dayton, this region is different than some other Lexus markets. People in the Dayton region who have grown their wealth to the point where they are buying a luxury car are often older than people in other markets and typically less technology adept, officials with the dealership said.

Some high tech features that are popular in other markets — like the ability to have the Lexus access mobile apps like Pandora — are features that Frake said most customers he works with have little interest in.

General Manager Jeff Pizza said since the brand began, its gone from heated seats, to heated and cooled seats, to software that’s a “climate concierge” that once the software is programmed you theoretically never have to think about it again as it reacts to your body temperature and ambient temperature in the vehicle and constantly maintains a comfortable level for you and the seat.

“Now its gone to the next level where in our 2018 LS 500, it will now involve a Shiatsu massage and 28 way adjustable seats, and all of this is controlled by software,” Pizza said.

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Frake said when he’s hiring someone for an IT position he asks them to describe how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and he sees how they think and explain a topic what might seem like a simple topic. It takes a specific skill set to walk a customer through an IT problem on their car if they aren’t tech savvy enough to describe the problem technology.

Some might need a tutorial of their cellphone first and then get a walk through how the car’s technology can interact with their phone. Frake said he’s talked with customers who bought cars who don’t have email addresses or just have flip phones that aren’t compatible with all the luxury car’s advanced technology.

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“You’ll have people who obviously aren’t unintelligent, but aren’t generationally familiar with how to describe what their issue is,” said Frake.

As the software has gotten more advance, the paper car manuals have grown to 600 to 800 pages for most of their cars with one manual more than 1,000 pages, though most car buyers don’t want the actual manual and some cars like the LC 500 have animated in-car video tutorials that can play on the dashboard so car owners can access those tutorials when they need it.

“Every time they release a new car I have to go through a process of learning and figuring out what the majority of guests are going to gravitate toward and also pick up other stuff for the one or two who will want to know ‘Oh what does all this do,’” said Frake.

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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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