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Amazon HQ2: New York, Virginia picked for additional headquarters

Amazon has chosen a pair of cities to build their second headquarters in, company officials confirmed Tuesday morning.

>> Read more trending news 

The company’s “HQ2” will be in both New York City and Arlington, Virginia. Officials also announced that Amazon will build a Center for Excellence in Nashville to serve the company’s operations business.

Between the three locations, Amazon officials said they expect to create more than 55,000 jobs.

Update 10:30 a.m. EST Nov. 13: Amazon’s planned Operations Center of Excellence will be based along the Cumberland River in downtown Nashville.

The company expects to invest more than $230 million in the center and create more than $1 billion in incremental tax revenue over the next 10 years.

“These are quality, high-paying jobs that will boost our economy, provide our workers with new opportunities, and show the rest of the world that Nashville is a premiere location for business investment,” Nashville Mayor David Briley said Tuesday in a statement.

The Operations Center of excellence will serve as Amazon’s Eastern U.S. regional hub for the technological and management functions of the company’s retail operations division.  

Update 10:15 a.m. EST Nov. 13: Amazon officials said the planned headquarters in Arlington, in the Washington D.C. metro area, will be located in National Landing, an urban community in northern Virginia.

“This is a big win for Virginia – I’m proud Amazon recognizes the tremendous assets the Commonwealth has to offer and plans to deepen its roots here,” Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said Tuesday in a statement.  “Virginia put together a proposal for Amazon that we believe represents a new model of economic development for the 21st century, and I’m excited to say that our innovative approach was successful.”

The company’s New York headquarters will be in the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens, just across the East River from Midtown Manhattan and the Upper East Side.

“With an average salary of $150,000 per year for the tens of thousands of new jobs Amazon is creating in Queens, economic opportunity and investment will flourish for the entire region,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday in a statement.

Officials expect to start hiring people for both locations next year.

Update 10 a.m. EST Nov. 13: “We are excited to build new headquarters in New York City and Northern Virginia,” Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon said Tuesday in a statement. “These two locations will allow us to attract world-class talent that will help us to continue inventing for customers for years to come.”

Original report: The New York City and Washington, D.C., metro areas are splitting Amazon’s planned second headquarters projectaccording to a Wall Street Journal report Monday night. The official announcement could be made as soon as Tuesday, the media outlet said, citing unnamed “people familiar with the matter.”

Politico published a similar report early Tuesday, also citing unnamed sources.

The news outlets reported that the company has settled on New York’s Long Island City as well as Crystal City, Virginia, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C.

Losing dibs on the tech giant’s proposed HQ2 and a projected 50,000 jobs would be tough news for boosters in a host of other cities that tried to lure Amazon as it promised a major headquarters expansion beyond its Seattle base.

Amazon generated enormous attention with its very public call out last year for cities interested in landing the project.

Read more here.

– The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.

UPS Freight workers OK labor contract, avoid strike

UPS Freight workers voted in favor of approving a new labor contract over the weekend, avoiding the risk of a strike that could have affected shippers transporting goods around the country.

>> Read more trending news 

However, it’s possible the labor turmoil leading up to the contract vote could have a lasting impact on the company’s freight business and some of its workers.

During the days leading up to the Teamsters contract vote count on Sunday, Sandy Springs, Georgia-based UPS had stopped picking up shipments from freight customers to empty its network of freight by last Friday in case there was a strike.

UPS said Sunday evening it will resume normal freight operations “and will immediately begin accepting new volume from UPS Freight customers.”

UPS spokesman Glenn Zaccara said workers will be called back to work “as we receive orders from our customers.” The number of workers called back to work will depend on the orders that come in, he said.

The Teamsters contract covers about 11,600 workers at UPS Freight, which trucks bulk shipments on pallets from shippers to stores and other locations.

It’s yet to be seen how much impact the temporary disruption had on UPS Freight’s business.

“We expect to bring as many workers as we need back to work based on the business needs,” Zaccara said. There is “a possibility” that number could be less than the previous workforce, he acknowledged.

The contract was approved with 77 percent of votes cast in favor, according to the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. The union said 84 percent of eligible members voted.

It was a second contract vote, after freight workers at UPS in early October voted down an initial proposed labor contract. More than 62 percent of votes cast then were against that agreement. The two sides returned to the bargaining table and wrapped up negotiations Oct. 25, with UPS making a last, best and final offer.

The union told its members that the offer did not address all issue raised by workers, but it was putting the labor agreement up for a vote without a recommendation for or against, “as the consequences of this decision are yours alone to make.”

UPS Freight workers had earlier voted to authorize a strike, and the Teamsters union told members that if the contract was voted down, a strike could start as early as Nov. 12.

As a result, UPS a week and a half ago told its freight customers to make alternative shipping arrangements because service could be disrupted.

“Because we do not have a guarantee against a work stoppage, we cannot afford to put our customers’ volume at risk of being stranded in our system,” UPS said when it was awaiting the contract vote results.

Kris Taylor, co-chair of the national UPS freight negotiating committee for the Teamsters, called that “an unprecedented action.”

He told members during a conference call Sunday evening that there would be a ramp-up period for the company to get freight back into its system.

After narrowly avoiding the risk of a strike, “there could be that impact of a customer saying, ‘Yeah, forget it, we’re not interested, we don’t want to be your customer anymore,’” said logistics analyst Cathy Roberson, who founded Logistics Trends & Insights in Atlanta. “At the same time, there may be some customers saying, ‘Oh great, you handled that wonderfully, so please take our freight.’”

Taylor told Teamsters members at UPS Freight that those who are not called back to work should file for unemployment compensation “just like any layoff.” He said other unionized freight companies are hiring, and UPS Freight workers who are not recalled within a week should apply for jobs at other companies.

“I am hopeful that the company will get back to full operations quickly. I expect, however, that there will be some lost customers. It’s unfortunate, but that is the boat we’re in,” Taylor said.

The labor deal approved Sunday includes some reductions in subcontracting -- a key issue for workers -- and would also improve some terms for pension and vacation benefits.

But some dissident groups within the Teamsters union were looking for bigger wage increases and more limits on subcontracting.

“Too many jobs in this company are subcontracted out,” said Ken Paff, national organizer for Teamsters for a Democratic Union, a dissident group within the Teamsters. “And the wage increases, especially for the road drivers, were infinitesimal.”

The freight agreement approved Sunday is one part of a massive round of labor contracts in progress at UPS.

A much larger contract – covering about 240,000 UPS drivers, package sorters, loaders and others who handle small packages – failed to get a majority vote in favor, but was deemed ratified by the Teamsters union after low voter turnout.

However, local supplemental agreements for that larger contract remain to be negotiated. A Chicago local representing more than 10,000 Teamsters UPS workers is demanding better terms, raising the possibility of turmoil later this year if a contract is not reached.

Bojangles' Famous Chicken 'n Biscuits to be sold to NY firms

The southeastern United States regional fast-food chain Bojangles’ is being sold

Two groups, Durational Capital Management and the Jordan Company will acquire Bojangles’, according to a company press release

“Bojangles’ is an iconic brand with an authentic Southern heritage and a deeply loyal following,” Eric Sobotka, managing partner at Durational Capital Management, said in a statement. “We have admired the brand and its high quality and craveable food for years, and we look forward to partnering closely with the employees and franchisees to drive its future growth and continued success.”

>> Read more trending news 

Officials said the Bojangles’ board of directors unanimously approved the deal, but stockholders will still have a vote. 

“For the Bojangles’ family of employees, franchisees, and our customers, today's announcement represents an exciting next phase for this great brand. The new ownership group is committed to maintaining the qualities of this brand that have sustained it for over four decades,” Bojangles’ interim President and CEO Randy Kibler said. 

Bojangles’ said they will pay shareholders $16.10 a share. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of next year. 

In the release, the company said Bojangles’ will continue to be based in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Duncan Hines recalls some cake mixes over salmonella risk

Duncan Hines announced it is recalling several varieties of cake mix due to potential threat of salmonella contamination.

The company said the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are investigating a potential salmonella outbreak that may be linked to Duncan Hines Classic White cake mix.

>> Salmonella: Signs and symptoms of infection

Duncan Hines said it has voluntarily recalled the following products as a precaution because they were made during the same time period:

  • Classic White, UPC: 644209307500, and have a best if used by date of March 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 2019.
  • Classic Butter Golden, UPC: 644209307494, and have a best if used by date of March 9, 10, 12, 13, 2019.
  • Signature Confetti, UPC: 644209307593, and have a best if used by date of March 7, 8, 9, 2019.
  • Classic Yellow, UPC: 644209414550, and have a best if used by date of March 12, 13, 2019.

According to the recall notice on the FDA's website, five people so far have reported becoming sick after consuming the cake mix.

"Several of the individuals reported consuming a cake mix at some point prior to becoming ill, and some may have also consumed these products raw and not baked," read the statement on the FDA's website.

>> Read more trending news 

The FDA is also reminding consumers not to eat any raw batter.

Consumers who have purchased these items are advised not to consume them and to return them to the store where originally purchased.

If you have any questions about the recall, contact customer service at 888-299-7646 or visit the Duncan Hines website.

Amazon offers free shipping during holiday season

Amazon is offering free shipping on all orders this holiday season for U.S. customers beginning Nov. 5.

CNN reported Monday that the company is offering free shipping for a limited time only in an attempt to add Prime members and pump up sales. 

>> Read more trending news 

No minimum purchase is required. 

"With free shipping, your order will be delivered five to eight business days after all your items are available to ship, including pre-order items," according to Amazon's website

The company has not yet released an end date to this promotion.

Click here for more information.

Lowe's announces plans to close more than 50 stores in US, Canada

North Carolina-based Lowe’s announced Monday morning that it will be closing 20 stores across the country as well as an additional 31 stores in Canada.

The company, based in Mooresville, said the “wind-down” of certain underperforming store locations was part of its ongoing strategic reassessment.

>> On Lowes.com: Click here for a full list of the stores that will close

Lowe’s said most of the impacted stores were located within 10 miles of another Lowe’s store, and that most workers at these stores will be extended opportunities to transition to a similar role at a nearby Lowe's store.

>> On WSOCTV.com: New Lowe’s CEO hints at what’s to come for home-improvement retailer

>> On WSOCTV.com: Lowe’s out, Ally in as main sponsor for NASCAR star

"While decisions that impact our associates are never easy, the store closures are a necessary step in our strategic reassessment as we focus on building a stronger business," said Marvin R. Ellison, Lowe's president and CEO. "We believe our people are the foundation of our business and essential to our future growth, and we are making every effort to transition impacted associates to nearby Lowe's stores."

>> Read more trending news 

Lowe's expects to close the impacted stores by the end of the company's 2018 fiscal year, which is Feb. 1, 2019.

The company intends to conduct store closing sales for most of the impacted locations with the exception of select stores in the U.S., which will close immediately.

5 ways new tech will change your holiday shopping experience this year

As technology advances and retail grows more competitive, the shopping experience is changing.

>> On DaytonDailyNews.com: Here’s how you can avoid long checkout lines this holiday season

Here are five ways technology could make your shopping experience quicker and easier:

1. Shipping options

Anticipating a 15 percent increase in online orders this year, several retailers have updated shipping standards for the season, including Target’s free two-day shipping on any orders regardless of price. Target is among many retailers picking up advance shipping services, a deal made famous when Amazon began offering it for Prime members.

2. Virtual reality for shopping

Kettering-based Marxent has developed virtual reality to help Macy’s customers visualize furniture within their homes. Beck Besecker, founder and CEO of Marxent, said a growing number of apps are also allowing shoppers to visualize products without ever having to step out the door.

>> On DaytonDailyNews.com: Want Toys “R” Us exclusive toys? Kroger will have them for the holidays

3. Virtual reality for training

Virtual reality is also being used to teach store workers how to handle crowds during the holiday. The technology, used at 198 Walmart training academies, including in West Chester Township, has helped Walmart develop new strategies to make holiday shopping more efficient.

4. Amazon Alexa devices

Amazon’s voice technology gives consumers the ability to purchase their items by simply asking an Alexa-enabled device to purchase an item, and Amazon will take care of the rest.

>> On DaytonDailyNews.com: Kohl’s debuts Black Friday ad with pre-sale

5. Mobile payment

Consumers who choose to brave the crowds at stores this holiday season can also expect a quicker trip, with new mobile checkout technology debuting in both Walmart and Target.

The mobile payment options are expected to keep customers from waiting in long checkout lines, with Walmart’s Check Out With Me and Target’s Skip-the-Line giving shoppers a chance to check out with store employees strategically placed in the busiest parts of stores throughout the holiday season.

>> Read more trending news 

“One of the things that we’ve seen over the course of the past few years is that customers are really wanting to get in and get out pretty quickly,” said Tim Mahan, the western Ohio e-commerce manager.

Harley-Davidson recalls 238,300 bikes for clutch issue

Harley-Davidson is recalling about 238,000 motorcycles worldwide because of a clutch issue. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported that it’s the fourth recall for such an issue in five years.

The Associated Press reported that nearly 178,000 of the motorcycles are being recalled in the United States.

>> Read more trending news 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that fluid can leak inside the clutches, which makes it hard to disengage the bikes from gears and could lead riders to lose control of the bike and crash. Five crashes have been reported, but there were no injuries reported.

Recalled models are the 2017 and 2018 Police Road King, Road King, Road King Special, Electra Glide Ultra Classic, Ultra Limited, Ultra Limited Low, Ultra Limited Shrine, Police Electra Glide, Street Glide, Street Glide Special, Road Glide Ultra, Road Glide, Road Glide Special, Freewheeler, Tri Glide Ultra, CVO Limited, and the CVO Street Glide.

The 2017 Softail Slim S, Fat Boy S, CVO Pro Street Breakout and the 2018 115th Anniversary Ultra Limited, 115th Anniversary Street Glide, 115th Anniversary Street Glide Special, 115th Anniversary Tri Glide Ultra, 115th Anniversary CVO Limited, and CVO Road Glide are also recalled.

“We, along with our dealers, are committed to addressing this issue,” Chief Financial Officer John Olin said during a conference call Tuesday, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported. “The safety of our riders is our highest priority.”

Riders can check if their bike is part of the recall at Harley-Davidson.com.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Walmart's new mobile checkout could ease long holiday shopping lines

Walmart’s new mobile checkout technology may keep you from waiting in long lines this holiday season.

Check Out With Me will launch Thursday at stores across the nation, giving shoppers a chance to skip long checkout lines and opt for mobile checkout assisted by associates in the busiest parts of stores.

>> Thanksgiving store hours: 60 stores say they will be closed on Thanksgiving 2018

The associate will be able to swipe credit cards and offer receipts just like at checkout lanes.

“Every day we’re committed to providing customers with the broadest assortment of quality products at great prices, but, during the holidays, we take that promise up a notch,” said Steve Bratspies, chief merchandising officer for Walmart U.S.

The retailer is also launching store maps on Walmart’s app to help shoppers find gifts and other holiday purchases more easily.

>> Read more trending news 

And for customers who don’t want to leave their home at all, Walmart has added new editorial and curated content to its website to refresh new deals regularly.

“With new convenient ways to buy, we’ve never been in a better position to help our customers deliver for their families than this holiday season,” Bratspies said.

Red Square Foods recalls frozen meat and poultry ravioli, blintzes

Red Square Foods Inc. has recalled various frozen meat and poultry ravioli, and blintzes products shipped to retail stores in Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced the recall of an undetermined amount of the products from the Somerset, New Jersey, establishment Saturday.

>> Read more trending news 

The recall was due to misbranding and undeclared allergens. The product labels fail to state that they contain egg, milk and/or wheat.

Establishment number of the products recalled are “EST. 18874” or “P-18874” inside the USDA mark of inspection, according to FSIS.

Read more here.

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