Business roundup: Top Dayton-area business stories last week

Gas prices keep moving higher in the Dayton area like this UDF at the intersection of Brown and Stewart Streets. Jim Noelker/Staff

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Gas prices keep moving higher in the Dayton area like this UDF at the intersection of Brown and Stewart Streets. Jim Noelker/Staff

The owners of Rose & Remington and Burlap & Birch have opened a furniture store in downtown Lebanon, where the family started their popular retail ventures.

Alexander’s Design Center opened last weekend in the former Miller’s Antique Mall location at 205 S. Broadway, near the train station.

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Alexander's Design Center in Lebanon features affordable, comfortable contemporary furniture. The new store is located at 201 S. Broadway, Lebanon. CONTRIBUTED

Alexander's Design Center in Lebanon features affordable, comfortable contemporary furniture. The new store is located at 201 S. Broadway, Lebanon. CONTRIBUTED

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Alexander's Design Center in Lebanon features affordable, comfortable contemporary furniture. The new store is located at 201 S. Broadway, Lebanon. CONTRIBUTED

The new venture for the locally-owned company is “a cash and carry furniture store” that features comfortable, affordable and contemporary furniture, said Ashley Dennis, marketing director.

Dennis said the 25,000 square-foot store offers a wide selection of contemporary couches, sofas, sectionals, dining tables, chairs, book cases, home décor and other furnishing options.

Furniture purchased at the store can be taken home same day or with scheduled delivery with a third party delivery service.

The store is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays; 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays; and noon to 6 p.m. on Sundays.

The store is co-owned by Kristen Ponchot along with her mother, Dee Alexander; and her brother, Nate Alexander.

The family team also operates Rose & Remington and Burlap & Birch. Rose & Remington was named after Pinchot’s twin children. Dennis said there are 23 Rose & Remington locations and multiple new stores opening in 2022; seven Burlap & Birch locations with two new stores opening in Indiana and Kentucky later this spring.

Gas prices continue to climb

For the past eight weeks, gas prices have continued to rise across the nation with one analyst saying if this trajectory continues, consumers could see $4 a gallon by late spring.

Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, said the escalation of pump prices could be swift as a result of the invasion. He said the market was concentrating on possible outcomes and the effect on global oil production amid recovering demand.

On Friday, the national average price for a gallon of gas was $3.55 a gallon, up about 20 cents a gallon from a month ago and 89 cents higher per gallon than a year ago, according to GasBuddy.com.

On Monday, the national average price for a gallon of gas was at $3.52 a gallon, up about 20.7 cents a gallon from a month ago and 88.9 cents higher per gallon than a year ago, according to GasBuddy.com. In addition, the national average price for a gallon of diesel has also increased by 5.7 cents to $3.93 a gallon, the highest since May 2014.

Prices currently average $3.32 in Ohio, their highest level in the state since September 2014, according to a study from GasBuddy. That average price is up 37 cents in just one month.

De Haan said gas prices in Ohio will rise to $3.50 in the next week or two and could go higher.

Lockout continues at Troy plant

The lockout of unionized workers from Collins Aerospace’s Troy plant continued on Friday with no word as to when contract negotiations might resume, Joe Konicki, president of United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 128, said.

In all, 297 workers have been locked out since last weekend, with workers taking shifts on two picket lines, one on one side of the 101 Waco St. plant and a second gathering on the other side of the plant, on Bruckner Drive, Konicki said.

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UAW employees of Collins Aerospace in Troy walk the picket line Wednesday February 23, 2022 after being locked out of the company.

Credit: Marshall Gorby

UAW employees of Collins Aerospace in Troy walk the picket line Wednesday February 23, 2022 after being locked out of the company.

Credit: Marshall Gorby

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UAW employees of Collins Aerospace in Troy walk the picket line Wednesday February 23, 2022 after being locked out of the company.

Credit: Marshall Gorby

Credit: Marshall Gorby

After receiving a “last, best and final offer” Feb. 16, UAW members voted 230 to 37 against a company contract proposal, the union said.

A spokesman for the Charlotte, N.C.-based company said the plant is “open and operating as normal.”

“Collins Aerospace is prepared to continue negotiating in good faith with UAW Local 128 and seeks to reach an agreement that recognizes and rewards our employees’ contributions while allowing us to remain competitive,” company spokesman Al Killeffer said in an email Wednesday. He did not immediately respond to a question about when talks might resume.

This is the first lockout at the plant since the late 1960s, at least, Konicki said.

Two lawsuits filed against Air Force

Dual federal lawsuits have been filed against the Air Force arguing that the service has unjustly denied requests for religious exemptions from the military’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

Both suits were filed in Cincinnati’s federal court, with the more recent action filed last week naming at least 18 plaintiffs, of whom at least 10 officers and one enlisted Airman are said to serve, or recently have served, at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

In a separate but related case, a second lieutenant serving at Wright-Patterson is suing Air Force leaders over what he said was the “perfunctory” denial of a request for a religious exemption.

The suit filed last month by Michael Poffenbarger, a second lieutenant serving at the 455th Operational Support Squadron at Wright-Patterson, seeks a preliminary injunction against the Air Force from taking “punitive action” against him.

Earlier this month, the Air Force said it approved the first religious exemptions from the COVID-19 vaccine mandate, with eight exemptions approved, along with one appeal that had sought an exemption.

In his suit, Poffenbarger said he was interviewed multiple times by an Air Force chaplain to determine the sincerity of his beliefs. “The result of each interview confirmed the sincerity of his beliefs and that the Air Force’s vaccination policy substantial burdened those beliefs,” the suit said.

More affected Air Force members may be named in either lawsuit as “class” members, plaintiffs’ attorney Chris Wiest said. He filed on behalf of Poffenbarger and those “similarly situated.”

Crumbl Cookie opens in Washington Twp.

Utah-based, Crumbl Cookie, opened its first Dayton area cookie shop Friday. The store, located at 1530 Miamisburg-Centerville Rd., Washington, Twp., is owned by former Ohio State University football and ex-NFL player Reggie Germany and his wife.

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Each week, Crumbl Cookie’s menu rotates to give you 4 different specialty flavors to taste and enjoy. Don’t worry, our famous milk chocolate chip and chilled sugar cookie are always available! (Photo: Business Wire)

Each week, Crumbl Cookie’s menu rotates to give you 4 different specialty flavors to taste and enjoy. Don’t worry, our famous milk chocolate chip and chilled sugar cookie are always available! (Photo: Business Wire)

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Each week, Crumbl Cookie’s menu rotates to give you 4 different specialty flavors to taste and enjoy. Don’t worry, our famous milk chocolate chip and chilled sugar cookie are always available! (Photo: Business Wire)

Since opening its first location in 2017 in Logan, Utah, the business has rapidly grown and today, there are more than 300 bakeries in 36 states nationwide. It’s the fastest-growing cookie company in the nation, according to Crumbl Cookie’s website.

This is the first Crumbl Cookie location to open in the Dayton area, though another Crumbl shop is expected to open this spring near the Mall at Fairfield Commons. Kendra and Eric Stringham signed a lease to occupy 1,600 square feet at Fairfield Place located at 2260 N. Fairfield Road for the franchise, according to Oberer Realty Services.

Crumbl is known for its over-sized cookie options and its menu that rotates weekly to include four to five unique flavors like cornbread or German Chocolate Cake. The shop also sells ice cream.

Regular hours are Monday through 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday 8 a.m. to midnight and closed on Sundays.

Ghostlight Coffee to open in Dayton Arcade

Ghostlight Coffee and the Dayton Arcade have announced plans for “Gather by Ghostlight” to open in the Arcade’s Fourth St. building on the first floor. The new café aims to open in early-to-mid summer at 37-39 W. 4th St.

“We are excited to bring a new concept to Dayton that aligns with the culture Ghostlight is known for,” said Shane Anderson, founder of Ghostlight Coffee. “The tradition of apéro is as much a state of mind as a time of day. It is a celebration of those blissful hours between work and personal time, and sharing these moments over a drink and a bite in good company.”

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Ghostlight Coffee founder, Shane Anderson announces his new store, Gather by Ghostlight to open at the Dayton Arcade this summer. JIM NOELKER/STAFF

Credit: JIM NOELKER

Ghostlight Coffee founder, Shane Anderson announces his new store, Gather by Ghostlight to open at the Dayton Arcade this summer. JIM NOELKER/STAFF

Credit: JIM NOELKER

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Ghostlight Coffee founder, Shane Anderson announces his new store, Gather by Ghostlight to open at the Dayton Arcade this summer. JIM NOELKER/STAFF

Credit: JIM NOELKER

Credit: JIM NOELKER

Two entrances will open to the café — at the 4th Street and Arcade Rotunda entrances, as well as exterior and interior patios.

The new concept will offer both regular and zero-proof beer, wines and spirits, with an added focus on aperitifs, spritzes and digestifs. Ghostlight customers can expect to find a few of the coffeehouse and eatery’s existing breakfast and pastry items alongside new brunch, lunch and small plate creations from the culinary leadership of Dayton Chef Jenn DiSanto, according to Anderson.

Once open, hours will be Monday to Sunday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Wine and dessert eatery opens

Me’ Yanna Berry Co., a bakery and wine café, opened last week in the shadow of the Victoria Theatre, at 15 E. First St. on the ground floor of the Biltmore Towers.

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Me’ Yanna Berry Co. held its ribbon-cutting celebration on Feb. 22 at 2:22 p.m. alongside members of the Downtown Dayton Partnership, including DDP President, Sandy Gudorf. The bakery and wine café opened in the shadow of the Victoria Theatre, at 15 E. First St. on the ground floor of the Biltmore Towers. PHOTO: Sarah Franks

Credit: Staff

Me’ Yanna Berry Co. held its ribbon-cutting celebration on Feb. 22 at 2:22 p.m. alongside members of the Downtown Dayton Partnership, including DDP President, Sandy Gudorf. The bakery and wine café opened in the shadow of the Victoria Theatre, at 15 E. First St. on the ground floor of the Biltmore Towers. PHOTO: Sarah Franks

Credit: Staff

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Me’ Yanna Berry Co. held its ribbon-cutting celebration on Feb. 22 at 2:22 p.m. alongside members of the Downtown Dayton Partnership, including DDP President, Sandy Gudorf. The bakery and wine café opened in the shadow of the Victoria Theatre, at 15 E. First St. on the ground floor of the Biltmore Towers. PHOTO: Sarah Franks

Credit: Staff

Credit: Staff

The new shop is owned by Kia Wilson, a born-and-raised Daytonian and former Dayton teacher. She first began her confectionary business from her home kitchen eight years ago under the name “Kia Cake and Co.”

The café was originally slated to open under the “Kia Cake and Co.” name in Feb. 2021, though those plans were put on hold until this year. During the past year, Wilson has rebranded the space and changed the name to Me’ Yanna Berry Co.

“The wait is finally over,” Wilson said to her followers on the Me’ Yanna Berry Co. Facebook page. “Chasing this dream has required immeasurable faith, countless prayers and rivers of tears that have watered these seeds to grow... My best friend and I lost our siblings and we decided to name the dessert café after them to honor their lives and to build a legacy they will both be proud of.”

Me’ Yanna offers cupcakes, an assortment of desserts and the cafe’s own line of wine called “Brown Sugar Legacy Wine.” They also provide non-food items like gourmet cigars, prayer candles, crystals, incense and more.

Hours are Wednesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Friday from noon to 6 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and closed Sunday through Tuesday.

Carvana looking for workers

Officials at Carvana, an automotive processing facility that recently opened at 5506 Kennel Road in Trenton, are realizing what other companies already know: There are more open positions than potential employees seeking jobs.

And with the unemployment rate at 2.9% in Butler County, 4.5% in Ohio, 3.9% in the U.S. and the demand for workers constantly increasing, the competition for candidates is becoming more challenging.

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Cars go through a 150-point inspection before they're listed for sale on-line by Carvana. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Cars go through a 150-point inspection before they're listed for sale on-line by Carvana. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

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Cars go through a 150-point inspection before they're listed for sale on-line by Carvana. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Tiffani Jones, a recruiter at Carvana, a 200,000-square foot facility that cost $24 million to build, certainly can attest. In the next five months, Carvana needs to hire about 900 employees in order to fully operate its eight lines for two shifts, she said. Jones said 700 more employees are needed to work in the reconditioning department, 200 more in logistics and 12 in wholesale.

Since the local Carvana has a current workforce of about 200, it’s running only two lines for one shift, or 12.5% of its capacity, she said.

First shift at Carvana runs from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Entry level positions pay $15 an hour, or $30,000 a year, and those in the body shop can make up to $30 an hour, based on experience, according to Jones.

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