Whether it was Amazon expanding its Ohio footprint or Kroger plotting its next move, 2017 was a big year for business news in the region.
Here’s 10 of the top business stories from this year:
1. Amazon details plans to build fulfillment center in Monroe
Amazon confirmed it plans to open its fourth Ohio fulfillment center in Monroe, which will create more than 1,000 full-time positions. The one-million-square-foot facility will house employees who will pick, pack and ship larger customer orders. Like all of Amazon’s investments in the state, the project is being aided with the help of incentives from the Ohio Tax Credit Authority.
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2. Health systems at odds over new hospitals proposed in Troy, Middletown
Kettering Health Network is building a $60 million hospital in Troy and a $30 million Middletown medical center. The network said its goal is to improve community health and get closer to patients who are already driving to other cities to see Kettering Health doctors.
But Premier Health, which has operated the only hospitals in each community for years, pushed back when the plans were announced. Premier contends the new facilities could take a big enough bite out of Premier’s revenue that it could prompt the health system to scale back jobs and services.
3. German grocery retailer Lidl looks to expand in Ohio
The initial news that Germany grocery chain Lidl had its eye on Ohio created quite a buzz in the Miami Valley. Lidl is known for its discounted prices and is rapidly opening U.S. stores. The retailer later submitted plans to open a store in Beavercreek as one of its first locations in the state.
4. Sears closing local stores
Sears’ retail empire continued to crumble throughout 2017, including a June announcement that it would shut down an additional 72 stores on top of the 180 stores it is already closing. Sears also closed its last local Kmart. The company lost $2.2 billion in sales in 2016 and the last round of closings brought it down to about half of the stores it had five years ago.
5. Is your job on the list? 10 jobs most likely to disappear
Consumer habits and technology are changing the job market and forcing cuts in certain industries. Jobs like mail carriers, insurance underwriters, jewelers and meter readers are among endangered professions with unfavorable hiring forecasts in the coming years.
6. Big changes planned at area Kroger stores
Kroger announced plans to revamp around 20 to 30 percent of its 2,793 stores. The Cincinnati-based retail giant will invest $9 billion in the next three years in the campaign. Some of the biggest changes in the works include new ClickList features, expanded self-checkouts, reorganizing stores and more home delivery.
7. New veterans ID card could be shown to retailers, VA says
In a push to make it easier for veterans to identify themselves to retailers and others, the Department of Veterans Affairs has rolled out a new Veterans Identification Card. The new ID allows veterans to more easily identify themselves without carrying around discharge paperwork to retailers offering promotional discounts or for other services. Veterans may still apply for the new ID through vets.gov.
8. Fuyao employees reject UAW bid by wide margin
The international spotlight was on the Dayton area when employees at Fuyao Glass America voted by a resounding margin Thursday against joining the United Auto Workers. The 886 to 441 vote defeated the union’s more than 18-month attempt to organize one of the Dayton area’s fastest growing manufacturers.
9. Ohio factory executive said she can’t find sober workers
As the opioid crisis continued into 2017, employers struggled to find enough workers who could pass a drug test. One Ohio manufacturing executive, Regina Mitchell, co-owner of Warren Fabricating & Machining near Youngstown, made national news when she lamented that she couldn’t find sober workers. The Dayton Region Manufacturers Association said local manufacturers are struggling with the same issue.
10. As regional hubs see gains, passenger traffic drops at Dayton airport
As regional airports in Cincinnati and Columbus see increases in passenger traffic, the Dayton International Airport continues to deal with decreasing volume of travelers and the loss of Southwest Airlines. Dayton aviation director Terry Slaybaugh, however, said 2018 could be a good year for the Dayton airport, and American Airlines’ capacity is expected to increase more than 16 percent in December compared to the same time last year.