Category Archives: Companies

The Shift in Black Friday

In 2015, the retailer REI first announced that its stores would be closed on Black Friday. This was a dramatic message at the time, as the day after Thanksgiving is known to be the most popular shopping day of the year, with stores offering competitive sales. From then, the store continued in its path of shutting its doors on Black Friday, making the decision on a year-to-year basis. Now, however, the company has announced that every aspect of the business will be closed on Black Friday every year. This includes all 178 of its retail stores, its call centers, headquarters, and distribution locations – giving a paid vacation day to 16,000 employees.

In recent years, the excitement of Black Friday has been slowly waring off.  The younger generation is less willing to wake up at the crack of dawn and wait outside on line for hours to get a good deal. Additionally, many companies have extended their “Black Friday sale” to the days leading up to Thanksgiving, or the days after – leaving less pressure to shop specifically on that Friday.

Following REI, a new trend has been noted with retailers choosing to “Opt Outside.” The movement prioritizes spending the day outdoors, creating experiences, and basically doing anything other than shopping. The CEO of REI, Eric Artz, says: “Opt Outside has always been about prioritizing the experience of our employees, choosing the benefits of time outside over a day of consumption and sales. When we first introduced this movement, it was considered revolutionary for a retail brand, but we felt it was the right thing to do for our members and employees.”

While most retailers are still open for business on Black Friday, the change in thinking is revolutionary and sure to continue shifting trends in consumerism as the years go on.

American Airlines to Buy Supersonic Jets

In a bold move, American Airlines has put down a deposit to purchase 20 supersonic jets from Boom Supersonic.

Boom is in the process of developing an aircraft called Overture, expected to be officially completed and released in 2025. Overture can travel at almost twice the speed of sound, and is designed to fit 65 to 80 passengers. While the company recently released a sophisticated version of the jet, Overture is still in the early development stages and has not yet run a test flight.

Overture, however, is not the first of its kind. The Concorde was a supersonic jet with routes across the Atlantic Ocean, primarily between London and New York City. In 2003, the ultra-speedy aircraft was forced to halt its services. With seat prices reaching a steep $10,000 per person, and deafening engines preventing the jet from flying over land, use of the Concorde was unsustainable. Although many have asserted that high-speed jets won’t make a comeback for these reasons, airlines seem confident enough in their return to be investing in them. Prior to the current American Airlines purchase, United Airlines had publicized its plans last year to buy up to 15 supersonic jets from Boom.

Despite previous economic failures of the aircrafts, the US government has shown support for bringing supersonic jets back and the FAA is devising new sets of code regarding noise levels over land. While Boom hopes its jets can begin running by 2029, the aircrafts and routes will need to be approved.

Although it is still unclear whether or not Overture will be approved for flying, the possibility is exciting. Many would love the opportunity to reach London from Miami in less than five hours, or to travel from Los Angeles to Honolulu in just three hours.

Only time will tell what the likelihood is for supersonic jets to fill the airspace…let alone the price tag!

Largest Four-Day Workweek Trial Underway

Recently, there has been a demand by employees to cut back on days in the office. After two years of the pandemic, people want to work from home, spend more time with loved ones, and just have more flexibility in general. While many companies have adopted the hybrid model to accommodate these sentiments, some have taken a more extreme stance.

For the past 8 weeks, the world’s largest four-day workweek trial has been running in England. About 3,300 employees from 73 different companies have taken on the task of producing 100% while working only 80%, still earning their regular salary. And while this endeavor does come with some inherent challenges, an overwhelming majority of participants are absolutely loving it.

The program is being spearheaded by the nonprofit “4 Day Week Global.” Andrew Barnes, the organization’s founder, has been advocating for a four-day workweek since 2017. In his own organization’s trial, he found that when working four days instead of the traditional five-day model, his employees demonstrated a productivity rate 25% higher than before.

During the initial stages, many companies struggled to set themselves up for the experiment. Samantha Losey, managing director at Unity public relations firm, called the first week “chaotic.” However, she explained, she and her team quickly instituted some systems that enabled continued productivity throughout the four-day workweek. All internal meetings are limited to 5 minutes, while client meetings end after 30 minutes. A “traffic light” system ensures workers are not interrupted unnecessarily – if a colleague’s desk light is set to green, they’re available for a chat; if the light is orange, they’re busy but available if needed; and if the light is red, they cannot be disturbed.

In addition to positive reports from employers, participating employees have given very favorable feedback. Many are appreciative of the extra time they can devote to other important things in their lives besides for work, such as family, mental health, exercise, and extracurricular activities.

It will be interesting to see continued outcomes from the big four-day workweek trial as time goes on. The results may have life-changing outcomes on work-life balance, company culture, employers, and employees.

“What Would You Do for a Klondike Bar?”

After 40 years on the market, the Klondike Choco Taco ice cream bar is being discontinued.

The company, which is owned by Unilever, explained that consumers have shown increased interest in many of its other products. In order to ensure enough supply of those items, Klondike has had to make significant decisions.

While the reasoning behind the decision is a positive one, nostalgic customers are disappointed. In addition to leaving a mix of disgruntled, funny, and emotional comments on Klondike’s Twitter account, fans have rushed to stores before it’s too late. Many shops have been bought out of Choco Taco.

If it is any consolation, Klondike has alluded that there is hope that the beloved ice cream bar will make its way back to ice cream trucks in the future. In the meantime, people can continue to enjoy the summer with the signature Klondike bar, as well as cones and shakes.

PepsiCo Will Open Its Largest US Facility

In a time where unemployment is on the rise, news about companies expanding or opening new facilities is exciting. Last week, PepsiCo Beverages North America (PBNA) announced it will be opening a massive manufacturing facility in the Denver High Point development zone. The 152-acre area will house a 1.2 million-square-foot factory, creating an estimated 250 jobs.

The company has set high standards for the new facility. The plant is slated to reach 100% renewable energy, achieve top quality water efficiency, and minimize use of plastic. It is expected to be the largest and most sustainable PepsiCo plant in the US.

In a statement put out by the president of PBNA’s West Division, Johannes Evenblij expressed his excitement over the plans and appreciation for its location. He stated, “We’re thrilled to call Denver, a city that shares so many of our values, home to PepsiCo’s most sustainable US plant location. With the High Point facility serving (as) a model for the future of PBNA’s supply chain, we’re eager to continue deepening our dedication to Colorado through positive impacts such as new job opportunities and more sustainable business solutions.”

The combination of new employment prospects with efficient and healthy business practices yields positive opportunities for growth. It will be exciting to follow the progress of PepsiCo’s newest endeavor.