June 28, 2016
Chamber members connect to keep people safe and employ people with disabilities
Kroger, the world’s third-largest retailer with $110 billion in sales and a 35-state footprint, is increasing investment in its own stores – more than $4 billion to open new stores, expand or renovate old supermarkets. As part of this plan, Kroger enlisted fellow member of the Chamber MN8®, developer of photoluminescent safety products, to install its LumAware® energy-free exit signs at all new and renovated Kroger stores nationwide.
MN8, created by firefighter Zachary Green, also develops, manufactures and sells photoluminescent products under their Foxfire® brand to keep more than 65,000 firefighters and those they protect safe. MN8 products don't just glow in the dark, they emanate (or MN8), light. These zero-energy EXIT signs eliminate the need for batteries, light bulbs, electricity and maintenance. The signs are being manufactured by people with severe vision loss at the Cincinnati Association for the Blind & Visually Impaired (CABVI).
“It is estimated that Kroger will save over $6 million and reduce its carbon footprint by over 50 million pounds over the next 15 years by transitioning to LumAware EXIT signs,” said Keith Oliver, VP of Facility Engineering at Kroger.
“We use LumAware technology in our retail store locations because it aligns with our core value of safety and reinforces our commitment to give back to the communities we serve by providing job opportunities for people, especially those with disabilities,” said Reuben Shaffer, Chief Diversity Officer at Kroger.
“People who can’t see are helping those who can to navigate in the dark,” said Zachary Green, CEO of MN8. “Coincidentally, Barney Kroger, who created the Kroger chain of retail stores, was the first board chair of the Cincinnati Association for the Welfare of the Blind.”
“CABVI may have started as a grassroots charity, but we have grown to become a high performing social enterprise,” said John Mitchell, CABVI CEO. “We are ISO 9001:2008 certified, a quality standard that many for-profit companies aspire to. We are grateful to MN8, Kroger, and the Chamber for believing in CABVI’s mission, the capabilities of our employees, and a commitment to community inclusion.”
“The Chamber models inclusiveness and regional thinking into everything it does,” said Jill Meyer, Chamber president & CEO. “We are proud to have helped these three member companies connect and grateful that MN8 is employing those who are often regarded as unemployable.”
“The Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber helps small businesses, like mine, connect with big businesses and with each other,” added Green. “Through those connections, we are changing lives for the visually impaired in our region and saving lives with LumAware® products in Kroger stores around the nation.”