Breaking business news and updates in and around Columbus
Retail Update: NRFTech 2013 conference & the "Name-Brand Bandit"
Wendy’s CIO @ Retail Tech conference
Don Zimmerman, chief information officer at Dublin-based Wendy’s Company (NASDAQ: WEN) , was a panelist this week at the National Retail Federation’s 2013 Technology Leadership Summit. The annual retail and technology conference was held July 28-30 in La Jolla, CA.
Zimmerman was a panelist in a discussion on “Capitalizing on the Digital Enterprise.” Zimmerman sat on the panel with Bill Tucker, Nordstrom Inc’s (NYSE:JWN) VP of technology and Gary Penn, director of global ecommerce for True Religion Brand Jeans (NASDAQ: TRLG)
The panel discussed “digital strategies, corresponding IT implementations, and the philosophical changes in IT that have become necessary to succeed.”
In other Columbus retail news, city officials warned retailers to be on the lookout this week for a shoplifter and convicted felon with a penchant for high-end merchandise.
In his regular “Fugitive of the Week” email, City Attorney Rick Pfeiffer asked clothing stores to watch for 42-year-old Frank Reymer, who’s been dubbed the “Polo Pilferer” and “Name-Brand Bandit” in the prosecutor’s office. The suspect was seen on surveillance tape lifting jeans and a $245 Polo shirt from Von Maur.
The Name-Brand Bandit’s theft of $1,020 in merchandise from the Lane Avenue Everest Gear and $2,609 from a Delaware County Meijer store landed him concurrent sentence of nearly two years in 2010. He’s been charged with multiple non-felony thefts from Easton Town Center and Polaris Fashion Place.
“National experts estimate that over $13 billion worth of goods are stolen from U.S. retailers each year,” said City Attorney Richard C. Pfeiffer, Jr. in the press release. “We are constantly working with local merchants to combat retail crime as much as possible.”
Retailers are asked to contact city attorney Bill Hedrick (614-645-8874) if they have further information.
New Columbus Crew investor/operator & chairman Anthony Precourt posted a Twitter pic of his new Black & Gold kicks today, kindly including Columbus CEO's Crew coverage in the shot. Congratulations on the acquisition and welcome to Columbus, Precourt Sports Ventures. Via @APrecourt:
Thanks to Massive City Football Fan Corp for the heads up!
Selling Soccer update: Crew sold
In a press conference yesterday the Hunt Sports Group announced it has sold the Columbus Crew to Precourt Sports Ventures LLC.
“As you guys know, we’ve been in a process over the last couple of years to find a minority investor, or several minority investors, in the Crew. As part of that process, we were introduced to Anthony Precourt. Anthony came to us and during the summer said: “You know what? I’m not just interested in being a minority owner of the Columbus Crew, I want to own the whole team and run and operate it,’” said Clark Hunt, chairman and CEO of HSG.
Last October, Hunt made clear he was seeking local investors for Columbus’s Major League Soccer team, but denied statements made by MLS Commissioner Don Garber in an Oct. interview with Sports Business Journal in which Garber said the Hunts had “made a commitment to get out” of Columbus and were seeking a local buyer.
“The City of Columbus, the Crew and Crew Stadium are extremely important to our family, and that hasn’t changed,” Hunt said in response, asserting that Garber had “overstated this objective.”
In a February interview with Columbus CEO (“Selling Soccer,” April 2013) Crew General Manager Mark McCullers, echoed Hunt. “As far as I can see…I see the Hunts involved in it…This club means something to the Hunts. I probably see that more than anybody else,” said McCullers. “I see the Hunts in Columbus certainly for the foreseeable future and I’ve been here, December will be 15 (years) for me that I’ve been working with this organization.”
The Crew has trailed other MLS teams in season ticket sales, attendance and sponsorship agreements. The Crew and the League devised goals for the team to achieve by 2015, namely selling 10,000 season tickets, securing a naming right partner and boosting sponsorship from the Columbus business community.
League average attendance in 2012 reached a record 19,000, while Crew stadium attendance has declined from the team’s early years, hovering at 14,343 between 2006 and 2010. The Columbus Dispatch reported last September that 2012 season ticket sales were up 30% from 2011 and per-game attendance at Crew stadium had risen 18% in 2012 to 14,382, making it 14th14th in attendance in in the league.
Barbasol (owned by Dublin-based Perio Inc.) purchased the Crew jersey sponsorship for an undisclosed amount in February 2011. The team has yet to land a stadium naming sponsor.
McCullers signed a four-year contract extension in 2011. The Crew makes its final lease payment of $65,890 on April 1, 2014; the team’s stadium lease lasts until 2024.
The Crew has invested $15.91 million in stadium upgrades since 2009, including an LED scoreboard installed last season which caught fire in April, leading to a stadium evacuation just before the DC United game.
As of February, the Crew had plans to invest in a 100-foot tall, $2 million LED sign north of the stadium along Interstate 71. Crew executives hoped the investment would draw stadium naming rights sponsors.
McCullers told Columbus CEO in February that the Crew is aiming for a contract worth $1.8 million annually for 10 years. “We are in more meaningful discussion than we’ve had in probably five years,” said McCullers. “We think 2013 is the year that we’re going to get that deal done.”
New Crew owner/operator and chairman Anthony Precourt of Precourt Sports Ventures echoed the Hunts earlier commitments to keep the team in Columbus in yesterday’s press conference.
“We have all the resources we need to make the Crew increasingly relevant locally and nationally, stronger financially and more competitive on the field,” said Precourt. “I’m very committed to Columbus and I’m here with you. We see a clear path for success here in Columbus.”
Ohio State Releases Gee’s New Contract
He Will Serve as President Emeritus, Professor in Moritz College of Law
Retail RE giants invest in Columbus startup
Three major retail real estate groups have invested a total of $2.5 million in Columbus-based startup Jifiti, the company announced today. Schottenstein Stores Corp. along with Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group and the New York-based private investment firm the Jesselson Group. Jifiti would not disclose each company’s individual investment.
Jifiti is a mobile gift-giving app that functions like a retail gift card with added personalization. Jifiti allows the purchaser to select a specific gift, scan it for purchase and send. The recipient receives notification of the gift through the Jifiti app, then picks up the gift from the nearest retial location in the desired size and color.
Participating retailers include Nike, Gap, Brookstone, Gamestop and Banana Republic. According to Jifiti, in addition to the investment Simon Property Group will push Jifiti marketing and distribution in “100 of its malls leading up to the holiday shopping season” in addition to the investment. Simon (NYSE:SPG) owns 327 retail real estate properties in the U.S. and Asia, including Tuttle Mall in Dublin.
Simon Property Group’s CMO and President of Simon Brand Ventures Mikael Thygesen has joined the Jifiti board of directors.Yaacov Martin is Jifiti’s CEO and co-founder along with Meir Dudai and Shaul Weisband.
Jifiti has a patent pending on the technology that converts on in-store sale to an online gift. The company is incorporated in Delaware and headquartered in the TechColumbus incubator at 1275 Kinnear Road, though members of its development team work from Israel where the company was founded.
The Columbus Chamber will present the 2013 TechTomorrow Conference on November 14 at OSU's Ohio Union. The focus of this year’s conference is “Sustainable Innovation: Accelerating Business Value.”
This is the Columbus Chamber’s first year presenting the event, according to Michelle Bretscher, the chamber’s vice president of marketing and communications. TechColumbus has presented TechTomorrow since 2010; prior to that it was known as CIOhio. Approximately 375 people attended last year’s conference. TechTomorrow is designed for an audience of c-level professionals and their direct reports.
David Silverman, CEO and co-founder of the McChrystal Group will give the morning keynote. The afternoon keynote will be delivered by Chris Potts, corporate strategist and author. The TechLife Startup Showcase and Networking reception will be held following the conference. The conference will feature four sessions focused around the innovation theme:
Session #1: Innovation Across the Enterprise--Beyond IT
Session #2: Innovation Scope--Thinking Beyond Products
Session #3: Enabling Sustained Innovation
Session #4: Culture of Innovation
A limited number of partnership opportunities and attendee registration are available on TechTomorrow.org.
Columbus CEO Live is building an ongoing database of legal blogs and resources published by Columbus firms. This week, we’ve listed law blogs run by firms ranked in Columbus CEO’s July 2013 Central Ohio Law Firms Leaderboard, available on newsstands and by subscription.
--Carpenter Lipps & Leland's Policy in Practice (“News & analysis from Columbus to Washington”)
--Taft Stettinius & Hollister (timely articles on a range of business law topics)
--Thompson Hine (timely article on a range of business law topics)
If you’re a firm or sole practitioner based in Columbus with a blawg, send us a link with "CEO blawg" in the subject line. We want to follow it and spread the word.
Park National’s DeLawder To Hand Over CEO Reins
Park National Corp. has announced that David Trautman, now president of the business, will also become CEO of Park National Bank and Park National Corp. as of Jan. 1. Current Chairman and CEO C. Daniel DeLawder will continue to serve as chairman of both entities.
"This carefully planned transition follows the leadership model that has successfully served our organization for decades," DeLawder said in a news release. "Continuity, consistency, experience and reliability are keystones in our leadership, and qualities that our shareholders, associates, and clients have come to expect from us. Taking this next step reflects our ongoing commitment to those values."
"David is fully qualified to lead Park, as his 30-plus year tenure and varied experiences combined with his comprehensive financial education and community leadership attest," DeLawder said. "Park has a rare and highly successful practice of planning for succession well in advance, which enables our fundamental values to carry on uninterrupted. I look forward to David leading Park into our exciting future."
DeLawder, who has been CEO since 1999, plans to continue working full-time for Park. CFO Brady Burt will become secretary of the corporation as of Jan. 1, a role now held by Trautman.
Trautman has been president of Park since 2005 and has served as secretary of the corporation since 2002. The graduate of Upper Arlington High School joined Park National in 1983 after earning a bachelor's degree in economics from Duke University. He joined Park as a management trainee and has served as president of the First-Knox National Bank Division and executive vice president of Park National Bank. He holds an MBA from Ohio State University, is a past member of the board of directors of the Ohio Bankers League and served as OBL chairman in 2008.
Newark-based Park National Corp. had $6.6 billion in assets as of June 30 and has 11 community bank divisions, a non-bank subsidiary and two specialty finance companies.
Ohio Trades Up
Ohio’s economy reaped the benefit of 1.4 million jobs and $49.6 billion in exported goods in 2012 as a result of international trade, according to a new report from the Business Roundtable.
Back-to-school costs higher in 2013
Huntington Bank released its annual Backpack Index this morning. The itemized accounting of school supply costs and fees indicates that parents of elementary, middle and high school students can all expect to pay more this school year.
The costs include the cost of musical instrument rental, sports participation fees and college prep testing materials for high school students. Compiled using the moderately priced retail costs of items on school supply lists from across six states, Huntington calculates student costs as follows:
- Elementary school: $576.00
- Middle school: $762.00
- High school: $1,223.00
Compared to the 2012 Backpack Index, the 2013 costs represent a 5.3% increase for elementary and middle-school costs and a 9.5% increase for high school costs.
Since the Backpack Index was introduced in 2007, Huntington has measured cost increases of 22% for elementary students, 43% for middle school students and 23% for high school students. Huntington attributes the bulk of the increased cost to pay-to-play sports fees.
Pizzuti Co. leases Joseph space to Anthropologie
The mixed-use development at Russell and High streets is scheduled for completion in 2014. The first Columbus Anthrologie store is located in Easton.
The Short North Anthropologie will occupy the Joseph's first two floors. In addition to the 9,800 square-foot Anthropologie, the Joseph development will include a boutique hotel, office space and a gallery featuring the Puzzuti modern art collection among its total 60,000 square feet of office and retail space. Colliers International is brokering the Joseph's lease agreements.
Anthropologie is one of several brands operated by parent company Urban Outfitters Inc. (URBN). An Urban Outfitters store further north on High Street is popular with OSU students and attracts a younger demographic than Anthropologie.
URBN reported total companywide net sales of $648 million, a new record coming in at 14% above Q1 2012. By brand, the company reported Q1 2013 net sales for Anthrologie of $265.1 million, up from $235.1 million in 2012. In his May 20 earnings call, URBN CEO Richard Hayne attributed the success to the company's increase in direct-to-consumer sales.
URBN opened seven new stores in the first quarter, including two Anthropologies.
Every Thursday, CEOLive links to selected websites from our ongoing database of legal blogs published by Columbus firms.
This week we’re highlighting firms ranked in Columbus CEO’s July 2013 Central Ohio Law Firms Leaderboard (available on newsstands and by subscription) as well as firms that have submitted blogs for this online feature.
Ice Miller: The Ice Loop (internet, tech and social media legal news)
Kegler Brown Hill & Ritter: Ohio Gaming Law
Jones Day: Legal News & Publications
Dinsmore & Shohl: Legal News & Publications
Dahman Law: Dahman’s Law (business, employment & asset management)
If you’re a Columbus firm or sole practitioner with a law blog, send a link to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll follow your work & spread the word.
Ohio's new business filings down in June
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted announced the state's June business filing numbers this week.
7,185 new entities filed to do business in Ohio, a slight decline from the 7,339 new entitites that filed in June of last year. According to the release, Husted's office has assisted with 47,918 new business filings from January to June, an increase from the 46,591 new businesses who filed during th same time period in 2012.
(Business filing chart courtesy of the Ohio Secretary of State)
Battelle CEO Leads OSU President Search
Jeffrey Wadsworth will chair the committee to replace E. Gordon Gee
Create Columbus Commission taking grant applications
The Create Columbus Commission's grant program has gone live and is now taking applications for the direct funding of young-professionals initiatives. As members of the commission discussed with Columbus CEO in July's "Young Professional Payoff" article, this new CCC grant program marks a major shift in the way YP initiatives are funded through the city.
According to the announcement, on July 1 Columbus City Council "unanimously voted to send funds for the grants program to the United Way of Central Ohio who will serve as fiscal agent for the commission. In 2013, the commission expects to distribute $50,000 in grants supporting the YP community."
The initial filing period runs through August 31, download applications here.
Facebook rolls out Graph Search; how is your social media optimization?
With Graph Search being released to the masses, businesses should start thinking about social media optimization
OU-alum photographer sues Perez Hilton for stealing his work
Robert Caplin, an award-winning photographer with Ohio ties, made national legal news early this month when he sued celebrity gossip blogger Perez Hilton for copyright infringement and DCMA violations.
A graduate of the Ohio University School of Visual Communications, Caplin is well-regarded among professional photographers in Central Ohio. Based in Manhattan, Caplin is a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, TIME and Newsweek. His corporate client roster includes Columbus-based American Electric Power and Abercrombie & Fitch.
Caplin’s complaint (read full filing here), filed in the California Central District Court, centers around photos of Glee actor Darren Criss that Caplin shot for the New York Times. Caplin published 32 of the shots on his website, complete with watermarks and security software preventing drag-and-drop/right click image copying. Mario Lavandeira (aka Perez Hilton) allegedly took screen shots of Caplin’s work, added his own watermark and published them on his blog.
Caplin called Lavanderia, asking him to remove the photos. He received an apology, but no remedy or response to his subsequent take-down request. Caplin is being represented by Nevada-based attorney Carolyn Wright, an intellectual property attorney whose primary clients are photographers.
Damages sought for multiple federal Title 17 violations range from $25,000 to 150,000 per infringement, plus legal fees. The suit seeks to prohibit Lavandeira from future infringements on Caplin’s work.
Should the case go to jury trial, it will be of interest to professional photographers, writers and artists with an interest in protecting their work on the internet. Also worth following is The Photo Brigade, an online community for photographers founded by Caplin and his wife, graphic designer Laia Prats. Photo Brigade features podcasts with photo editors and professional photographers across the country, including OU photography alums.
Franklin ranked least healthy county in Central Ohio
Franklin County ranks among the least healthy of Ohio’s 88 counties in the 2013 County Health Rankings and Roadmap measure, underscoring each of its contiguous counties in a measure of public health. Meanwhile, Delaware County ranked as one of the healthiest counties in Ohio.
The annual Health Rankings and Roadmap report is a county-by-county health assessment based on public data as calculated by agencies including the National Center for Health Statistics/Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Dartmouth Institute for health policy in Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine. The report is published by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in collaboration with the University of Wisconsin Public Health Institute.
The rankings include two measures of county health. The Health Outcome report is based on mortality and morbidity rates; the Health Factors report is a measure of health influencers and is based on health behavior, clinical care, social/economic conditions and physical/environmental factors within each county.
Franklin County is ranked No. 58 out of 88 in Health Outcomes and No. 41 out of 88 for Health Factors in 2013. Ohio data sets for 2010-2013 show Franklin County improving slowly in both the overall health of the community and in contributing factors. Franklin underscored every one of its contiguous counties in 2013 Health Outcomes, though it claimed better Health Factors than two of them:
- -- Delaware (No. 3 in Health Outcomes / No. 1 in Health Factors)
- -- Union (No. 9 in Health Outcomes /No. 10 in Health Factors)
- -- Fairfield (No. 13 in Health Outcomes /No. 13 in Health Factors)
- -- Licking (No. 32 in Health Outcomes / No. 24 in Health Factors)
- -- Pickaway (No. 51 in Health Outcomes /No. 48 in Health Factors)
- -- Madison (No. 44 in Health Outcomes/ No. 46 in Health Factors)
Read the complete methodology and use the interactive data tools on the County Health Rankings website.
Obamacare delay is no time for employers to rest
Despite the White House's blog post last week delaying until 2015 the major employer mandate provisions of the Affordable Care Act, employers are still scrambling to keep employee health benefits in compliance with various federal regulations.
“There are still several ACA mandates, putting this piece aside, that go into effect for 2014 that need to be addressed in 2013,” says Jolie Havens, a partner in the Vorys Columbus office practicing health care and employee benefits. Havens’ column in the May 2013 issue of Columbus CEO outlined a number of potential strategies for those companies with 50+ full time employees that will be affected by the ACA employer mandate.
By 2014, employers still need to comply with ACA rules regarding benefit waiting periods (90 days, maximum), coverage of clinical trials and pre-existing condition eliminations.
“Those ACA compliance issues don’t even touch the fact that we’ve got a big HIPAA deadline coming up in September (and) we recently got the Supreme Court’s decision on DOMA, which will impact among other things, employee benefit plans,” says Havens.
September is the deadline for health plans to comply with Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act modifications to HIPAA’s privacy and enforcement Rules. HITECH strengthens HIPAA privacy and standardization rules while allowing for stronger HIPAA enforcement.
Though HIPAA/HITECH applies to health plans rather than employers, a lot of responsibility falls to employers who sponsor group plans, says Havens. In addition, multi-state employers are beginning to consider the tax ramifications of the DOMA ruling.
“This is not blowing smoke on the part of employers, this really is quite complex,” says Havens. She and her colleagues at Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease have reached out to clients with a preliminary assessment of the delay, advised them that additional guidance is forthcoming, and offered encouragement to help them through the coming months of compliance work.
“Employers would be well served to keep key players internally engaged, keep their advisors close by and to keep moving down that path towards compliance,” says Havens. “Because even with this additional year, there’s still a lot to be accomplished.”
Best of Business: Vote Now
There’s one week left to vote in our sixth annual Columbus CEO “Best of Business” reader poll.
Business growth a priority for Worthington
More than 2,000 businesses call the city of Worthington home, and city leaders hope to attract more through strong economic development programs.
The city recently launched BusinessWorthington, an online hub for companies interested in the Columbus suburb’s tax incentives, grant programs and development projects.
Worthington’s Venture Grant Program is available to companies with 25+ full-time employees or payrolls of at least $1 million. Launched in 2003, 33 projects have received Venture Grant assistance to date, according to Jeffry Harris, Worthington’s economic development manager.
The program is funded by an annual Worthington City Council allocation of $250,000-$300,000 drawn from non-tax city revenues, said Harris via email. So far this year, the city has approved an annual $87,800 grant allocation over ten years to support Crawford Hoying’s new office park development near the Shops at Worthington Place.
Additional Worthington economic development incentives include:
--Tax Increment Financing Program
--Community Reinvestment Area property tax exemptions
--LEED-certified building grants
(Worthington has implemented the recommendations of the Wilson Bridge Corridor study, boosting development in the area near the North High Street / I-270 intersection. Courtesy of the City of Worthington)
Nationwide Children's chief pediatric surgeon appointed to national advisory council
Nationwide Children's Hospital announced today the appointment of Dr. Gail Besner, chief of pediatric surgery, to the National Advisory General Medical Sciences Council. U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius appointed Besner and 16 other physicians, scientists and researchers to the government advisory council.
From today's announcment:
This council of 17 of America’s most distinguished and accomplished scientists advises Secretary Sebelius, National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis Collins, the Director of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) and other key government leaders on grant applications to support biomedical research and research training activities. In addition, council members advise the NIH Director concerning pertinent programs and provide recommendations to stimulate additional work in promising fields of basic and biomedical science. The members of this group include some of the most influential individuals in American science and medicine.
During the last 22 years, Dr. Besner has achieved a level of academic excellence that places her among the most acclaimed pediatric surgeons in the world. In the process, she has authored more than 130 original scientific articles, delivered over 200 presentations, mentored dozens of fellows and has been awarded seven patents. Dr. Besner is a member of every significant surgical organization in her field and has served as visiting professor around the United States and on several continents. In addition, Dr. Besner is a professor of Surgery and Pediatrics at The Ohio State University College of Medicine.
Red White & Business
Downtown surface lots are filling up as visitors arrive to stake out their spots for tonight’s Red White & Boom Independence Day celebration.
As always, the Columbus business community has provided support and sponsorship for the event. Locally-based sponsors for 2013 include:
- American Electric Power
- The Arena District
- Catering by Cox
- Catering by Design
- Central Ohio Ford Dealers
- The Children’s Hunger Alliance
- Columbia Gas of Ohio
- The Columbus Blue Jackets
- The Columbus Clippers
- Franklin County
- The Westin Columbus
The full sponsor list, performance schedules and other fun event details are online at RedWhiteandBoom.org. Happy Fourth, Columbus!
Mayor’s Small Biz Expo
Mayor Coleman’s office issued a Save-the-Date this morning for the annual Small Business Conference and Expo. The theme of this year’s event will be “Go Forward II: New Directions to Small Business Growth and Profitability.”
The conference takes place September 26 & 27, 2013. The city has yet to post a registration portal, we'll post link as soon as it goes live.
On July 1, 1871, the Columbus Dispatch debuted as a four-page newspaper called The Daily Dispatch. For three cents, readers could catch up on the afternoon news.
The paper was founded by a group of 10 veteran printers with $900 in capital and was published from a rented building at N. High and Lynn Alley, according to Linda Deitch, archive and collections manager for the Columbus Dispatch Library. The first Sunday Dispatch published on Dec. 17, 1899.
Brothers Harry P. Wolfe and Robert F. Wolfe bought what by then was called The Columbus Evening Dispatch in 1905. THe Dispatch moved to its current headquarters at 34 S. Third Street in Nov. 1925 and was renamed the The Columbus Dispatch on March 24, 1975.
More historic Columbus images are available by visiting "A Look Back," the photo/archive blog administered by Deitch and the Dispatch Library staff.