Kroger to keep Huber aquatic center naming rights

The proposed five-year contract calls for Kroger to pay Huber Heights $35,000 a year, an increase of $5,000 a year from the initial three-year deal that expires next month.

City Council is expected to approve the naming rights agreement with Kroger on Monday night. The deal was introduced to council last week at the administration committee meeting.

“The commitment Kroger has made is impressive,” said Councilman Mark Campbell, chair of the administration committee. “For them to renew for an additional five years is something I am grateful for, and I know the entire community is grateful for the commitment they’ve made.”

Kroger paid the city $30,000 a year for the first three years the facility has been open. The facility’s name, The Kroger Aquatic Center at The Heights, will remain the same.

“This really validates what a good amenity it is,” Huber Heights City Manager Rob Schommer said. “It speaks well of Huber Heights as a community, and we couldn’t be more proud and excited to continue this relationship with a great company.”

Schommer said the city was not approached by another business or company interested in the naming rights.

Kroger will continue to be required to spend $20,000 a year in advertising in the new agreement. The city will provide annually $100,000 worth of advertising for the aquatic center, such as signage and spots on the Interstate 70 digital billboard.

“Kroger is pleased to renew our partnership with the city of Huber Heights,” said Rachael Betzler, public relations manager for Kroger. “Kroger has always believed in the importance of being part of the communities in which we operate. We want to be more than a grocery store; we want to be a neighbor. Being actively involved in the neighborhoods where we do business allows us a connection to our customers and their daily lives and further enforces our commitment to them and their families.”

A Kroger official previously said the partnership is believed to be the company’s only public-private arrangement.

In the original contract, Kroger and the city had a mutual renewal rights option for another three years when the contract expired. With the new contract, there is a mutual renewal first rights option for another five-year term after February 2020.

Combined over the first three years, Huber Heights generated a net profit of $74,416 from the aquatic center, which is located at 8625 Brandt Pike.

But the cool summer weather the last two years led to a decrease in attendance and revenue. During the 2014 season, an aquatic center-low 28,351 people visited the facility, while the city suffered a net loss of $63,719.

There is one Kroger store in Huber Heights at 7747 Troy Pike. In the Dayton area, there are 32 Kroger stores, with a total of 5,577 employees, according to the company.

Kroger also offers $1 off admission coupons to its customers at all store locations.

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