Corporate Social Responsibility
 
Sheetz Launches Free Meal Program for Children in Need
 
Sheetz has announced a program that will give free meals to children and families in need at nearly 300 of their locations. These meals will have a turkey sandwich, chips, and a drink. They will be available starting April 2 and continue for the next two weeks. Those families interested in the meals are asked to go to a participating location and ask an employee at the register for a meal. A list of these participating locations can be found here: https://www.sheetz.com/news/kidzmeals.
 
“The spread of COVID-19 and subsequent school closures has left many children across the communities we serve without a reliable food source,” President & COO of Sheetz, Inc. Travis Sheetz said in a news release. “It is our hope Sheetz’s Kidz Meal Bagz program will make a small difference and provide nourishment to those in need during these uncertain times.”
 
Kroger Family of Companies Announces Hero Bonus for All Hourly Frontline Associates
 
The Kroger Family of Companies has announced it will be giving all frontline grocery, supply chain, manufacturing, pharmacy and call center associates with a Hero Bonus, that is a $2 premium above their normal base rate, applied to time worked March 29 through April 18. This also comes after Kroger announced a one-time bonus to frontline associates which paid out April 3.
 
"Our associates have displayed the true actions of a hero, working tirelessly on the frontlines to ensure everyone has access to affordable, fresh food and essentials during this national emergency," said Rodney McMullen, Kroger's chairman and CEO, in a Kroger press release. "The Hero Bonus is just one more way we continue to convey our thanks and gratitude not only to our existing associates but also to the more than 30,000 new hires who have joined in the past two weeks and those who will soon join the Kroger Family of Companies."
 
Innovation
 
Ikea Acquires AI Imaging Startup Geomagical Labs to Supercharge Room Visualizations
 
The Swedish home furnishings and décor brand Ikea has acquired the AI Imaging startup Geomagical Labs, which is based out of Mountain View. The first product from Geomagical Labs allows users to scan a room using a smartphone, render it into a panoramic 3D photo in a few minutes, remove all of the furniture and as their founder Brian Totty said, “play dress up” by putting new items into the room to scale. This product will be implemented into Ikea’s website and apps to let customers use it better visualize how Ikea products would fit into their homes.
 
“We’re excited because the user can really play around with this and see how something would fit immediately,” said Barbara Martin Coppola, Chief Digital Officer, Ikea Retail, in an interview. She added that Ikea decided to acquire the startup rather than just partner with it for “a lot of different reasons, with the first being that the tech is exceptional and groundbreaking.”
 
From Adult Toys to Business Software, Coronavirus Is Rearranging the Subscription Landscape
 
Subscription services are seeing heavy ramifications of the Coronavirus pandemic. Some subscription services like Heart + Honey LLC and Brightback Inc. have seen massive cancellations due to the need to spend only on essentials. However, with many stuck at home, streaming services have seen massive upticks in viewership, such as HBO Now which, according to AT&T’s WarnerMedia, rose 40 percent after March 14 compared to its four-week average.
 
“People had no choice but to adjust to how they work, attend school, buy food and other necessities, socialize, exercise and entertain themselves,” said Dan Burkhart, chief executive of Recurly, a company that provides billing and other services for many subscription companies.
 
Restaurant
 
Uber Eats Moves into On-Demand Grocery Delivery
 
Uber Eats is bringing its move to the grocery delivery business early due to the Coronavirus needs. Uber Eats has been in contact with the French supermarket Carrefour as it tries to partner with retailers from Brazil to France. This service will be offered not only with the Uber Eats app but also by phone.
 
“Over-the-counter medicines will be available from the Pague Menos chain of pharmacies, grocery products from Shell Select convenience stores and pet supplies from Cobasi — one of the largest pet shop chains in the country,” an Uber Eats spokesperson told reporters in a statement. “The new services will be available on the Uber Eats app, with plans to launch in other Brazil states and cities in the coming weeks.”

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