Avanti January/February 2019

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January/February 2019


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Long Beach, California August 5-8, 2019


7 - E L E V E N


What Will Result From The New Contract?

Connecting To Community What Can We Learn From Our Past? Store Level Economics– Looking Back and Looking Forward Lawsuit Status Dispatch Special Feature: A Look Back At 2018



January/February 2019

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Long Beach, California August 5-8, 2019

Features 31 Connecting To Community By Jay Singh, Chairman, NCASEF, President, South Texas FOA

35 What Can We Learn From Our Past?


Win $2,500 Or More With Tropicana and Naked Juice Incentive Offers


California Franchisees Back Attorney General Becerra For Re-Election


FOA Of Greater LA Closes Year With Festive Holiday Party

By Michael Jorgensen, Executive Vice Chairman, NCASEF, President, Central Florida FOA

56 Franchisees & Vendors Win Big At San Diego FOA/FOAGLA Trade Show

41 Store Level Economics—Looking Back and Looking Forward

59 Coats Now Socks, Tees and Hoodies

By Eric H. Karp, Esq., General Counsel, NCASEF

45 Lawsuit Update

Your National Coalition Is Committed To Franchisee Interests


A Look Back At 2018


24 Dispatch Special Feature:




By Paul Lobana, Vice Chairman, NCASEF, President, Southern California FOA

Member News...........................14

Bits & Pieces............................16

Legislative Update.....................26 SEI News.......................................65

AVANTI is published by the National Coalition of Associations of 7-Eleven Franchisees for all independent franchisees, store managers and interested parties. National Coalition offices are located at 1001 Pat Booker Road, Suite 206, Universal City, TX 78148. For membership information, call 702249-3301 or e-mail nationaloffice@ncasef.com. AVANTI Offices are located at 116 Bellevue Ave., Suite 304, Langhorne, Pennsylvania 19047. For advertising information, call Sheldon Smith at 215 750-0178 or fax to 215 750-0399; on-line, send messages to sheldon.smith5@verizon.net. The views and opinions expressed in the articles and columns published in Avanti Magazine are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the National Coalition of Associations of 7-Eleven Franchisees, its officers or its Board of Directors.

Vendor Focus..........66 Franchisee Calendars.........70

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U.S. C-Store Count Drops Slightly There are 153,237 convenience stores operating in the United States, a 1.1 percent decline from last year’s record of 154,958 stores, according to the 2019 NACS/Nielsen Convenience Industry Store Count. The count is based on stores as of December 31, 2018. The decrease in stores was fueled by a 2,198-store decline in single-store operators, which still account for 62.3 percent of all convenience stores (95,445). The convenience store count accounts for more than one third (34.4 percent) of the brick-andmortar retail universe tracked by Nielsen in the United States. Among the states, Texas continues to lead in c-store count at 15,745 stores, or more than one in 10 stores in the country. California is second at 11,930 stores, followed by Florida (9,803), New York (8,550), Georgia (6,698), North Carolina (6,069), Ohio (5,637), Michigan (4,930), Pennsylvania (4,778) and Illinois (4,753). The bottom three states in terms of store count are Alaska (200 stores), Wyoming (352) and Delaware (346).

“Texas leads all states with 15,745 convenience stores.”

Looking at the last five years (20132018), the top three states—Texas (+554), California (+742) and Florida (+66)—have increased their store count by a combined 1,362 stores, with the growth mostly coming from larger convenience store chains with 500 or more stores. The bottom three states (Alaska, Wyoming and Delaware) have remained relatively unchanged.



702-249-3301 • jays@ncasef.com


347-251-1828 • mcjorg@yahoo.com


818-203-2527 • paullobana@aol.com

Amazon Go Stores Generate More Sales Than C-Stores Amazon’s new cashierless Go stores bring in about 50 percent more revenue on average than typical convenience stores, reported Recode, citing new estimates from RBC Capital Markets analysts. Using their own purchases at Go stores as data points, RBC analysts estimated that the typical order size at the new futuristic shops is around $10. The analysts also counted the continued on page 16


847-845-8477 • rehan711@yahoo.com


425-438-8381 • ajinderhanda@hotmail.com

Jaspreet Dhillon TREASURER

310-892-2106 • jaspakam@gmail.com


617-423-7250 • ekarp@wkwrlaw.com


262-275-3086 • jrpinc@charter.net


215-750-0178 • sheldon.smith5@verizon.net


The National Coalition Office The strength of an independent trade association lies in its ability to promote, protect and advance the best interests of its members, something no single member or advisory group can achieve. The independent trade association can create a better understanding between its members and those with whom it deals. National Coalition offices are located in Universal City, Texas. 14

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1001 Pat Booker Road Suite 206 Universal City, TX 78148 Office 210-971-9211 E-mail: nationaloffice@ncasef.com

The Voice of 7-Eleven Franchisees January/February 2019 © 2019 National Coalition of Associations of 7-Eleven Franchisees Avanti Magazine is the registered trademark of The National Coalition of Associations of 7-Eleven Franchisees.

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number of visitors to an Amazon Go—an average of 550 a day—which would mean the average Go store generates an estimated $1.5 million in revenue a year excluding days when current Amazon Go stores are closed. Using National Association of Convenience Stores data, RBC estimates a regular convenience store of the same size would bring in just over $1 million a year in sales. Amazon plans to open as many as 3,000 Go stores by 2021, meaning the shops could generate in the ballpark of $4.5 billion in sales a year.

7-Eleven #10 On ‘Franchise 500’ List Entrepreneur magazine has unveiled its 40th annual Franchise 500, ranking 7Eleven as No. 10. McDonald’s holds the number 1 spot for the second year in a row, with Dunkin’ and Sonic Drive-In coming

“7-Eleven was ranked No. 10 on Entrepreneur magazine’s 40th annual Franchise 500 aer being #2 last year.” in second and third, respectively. The key factors that go into the ranking include costs and fees, size and growth, support, brand strength, and financial strength and stability. The magazine states 7-Eleven has 67,000 locations worldwide, and plans to double its store count by 2027—the year of the company’s 100th birthday. In order to meet the needs of its evolving customer, 7Eleven is testing a delivery service in 24 markets, and hopes to roll out a “scan and pay” program next year, allowing customers to skip checkout lines by scanning and paying for items with their smartphones. continued on page 18

WIN $2,500 OR MORE WITH TROPICANA AND NAKED JUICE INCENTIVE OFFERS Pepsi is offering two incentive offers for franchisees, one for Tropicana products and one for Naked Juice products, to increase SKUs by 5 percent between March 1 and May 27, 2019. Each store that increases the number of Naked Juice or Tropicana SKUs will gain entries into a drawing for cash prices.

EACH CONTEST OFFERS 100 PRIZES, AND A POTENTIAL $120,000 PAYOUT! • Forty $500 prizes available ($20K) • Twenty $1,500 prizes available ($30K) • Twenty $1,000 prizes available ($20K) • Twenty $2,500 prizes available ($50K) The number of store entries into the drawing will be determined using 7-Exchange store level data for the latest 12weeks ending May 28, 2019 to See the ads on determine eligible SKUs. PepsiCo will pages 6-7 for the complete the drawing among eligible official rules and to see eligible Naked franchisees in June 2019, with the winJuice and Tropining stores announced in July 2019, cana products. and payout by August 31, 2019.


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During the recent government shutdown, the 7-Eleven at JFK Airport in New York extended house accounts to federal employees working without a paycheck, allowing them to make purchases with the promise of payment when they receive their paychecks. • Restaurant digital orders have grown at an average annual rate of 23 percent since 2013 and will triple in volume by the end of 2020, according to The NPD Group. The study also reveals a restaurant’s mobile app or website represents 70 percent of digital orders, with the remaining orders made through third-party apps or websites. • Cannabis is on track to be an even bigger disruptive force than previously anticipated, with U.S. sales predicted to reach $80 billion by 2030, reported Yahoo Finance. This would represent about a 4 percent compound annual growth rate. • China will overtake the U.S. in retail sales by more than $100 billion in 2019 driven by booming ecommerce, reported Retail World Magazine. In 2019, China’s total retail sales will grow 7.5 per cent to reach $5.636 trillion. By comparison, U.S. retail sales will grow 3.3 per cent to $5.529 trillion. • Amazon is testing cooler-sized autonomous robots to deliver packages in the suburbs north of Seattle, its latest experiment to automate the last-mile of delivery that’s a labor-intensive and costly component of buying products online, reported Bloomberg. • SevenEleven Japan plans to introduce a system to centrally manage the residence status and other information regarding foreigners working at its stores, in an effort to prevent its franchisees from illegally hiring laborers whose residence cards have already expired, reported The Japan News. • Kwik Trip has ranked No. 1 on GasBuddy’s 2018 continued on page 20

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However, Entrepreneur notes that in order to grow 7-Eleven, “…will also need to resolve a long-standing and increasingly noisy confrontation with many of its franchisees. The news coming out of the brand in 2018 has been largely unflattering—so much so that many Entrepreneur readers may be surprised to see 7-Eleven in our top 10. (It did drop from #2 last year to #10 now, but its growth and revenues were strong enough to keep it toward the top.) And the year ended on a particularly sour note, with the Board of the National Coalition of Associations of 7Eleven Franchisees announcing a vote of ‘no confidence’ in corporate management.”

Seven & I Reports Huge Sales Growth 7-Eleven parent company Seven & I Holdings has announced a 15.8 percent increase in net sales for the nine months to

November, reported Inside Retail Asia. Profit rose by “7-Eleven parent company Seven & I 2.9 per cent. Seven & I said Holdings has announced a 15.8 its overseas convenience percent increase in net sales for the store business achieved an nine months to November.” impressive 15.7 per cent increase in operating profit year-on-year. In Japan, its forms of competition entering the arena, to Ito-Yokado superstore managed to reduce the changing needs of its customers. “The its operating loss to ¥200 million (US$1.85 landscape is changing so fast. Yes, there’s million), however its York-Benimaru suAmazon and there’s GrubHub. … It’s all permarket division and Sogo & Seibu deabout immediate consumption,” DePinto partment stores both struggled, the latter said to the newspaper. “We have to be prelosing ¥937 million ($8.6 million). pared and ready in ways that our customers want. And the last four or five years, we’ve had our heads down, grinding it out. And we’re doing a lot of things right.” DePinto said technology is a big part In a recent Chicago Tribune article, SEI of 7-Eleven’s strategy, but it doesn’t get disPresident and CEO Joe DePinto explains tracted by it. For instance, drone delivery in some detail how 7-Eleven is adapting to is one of those ideas that the company has an industry in flux—from the different tested, but isn’t dwelling on. It’s also testing

DePinto Explains How 7-Eleven Stays On Top

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self-checkout with its employees at a store on the ground floor of its corporate headquarters. DePinto said he believes the key to the company’s success is its independent store owners, together with a corporate staff of 1,300 that delivers franchisees economy of size, technology and innovations that they wouldn’t have alone. You can read the full article at www. chicagotribune.com/business/ct-7-elevenon-demand-future-20170228-story.html.

C-Store Sales Increased In 2018 Both fuels gallons and in-store sales increased in 2018, according to the quarterly NACS Retailer Sentiment Survey. Overall, 84 percent of retailers said in-store sales increased in 2018 and 62 percent reported that fuels gallons sold increased. The strong in-store sales were led by foodservice growth (68 percent of retailers said sales increased) and continued strong sales growth of better-for-you items (62 percent of retailers report sales increases). NACS stated that strong sales in 2018 are one reason for an increase in retailers’ optimism about business prospects for 2019: 85 percent of retailers are optimistic about their prospects for the first quarter, the highest measure of optimism for the first quarter in the past five years. However, only 62 percent said they are optimistic about the economy, the lowest percentage in 11 quarters. Given the tight labor market, retailers said labor issues are the biggest threat to their businesses (59 percent). Other concerns cited by retailers for 2019 regulations/legislation (47 percent), economic

concerns (41 percent), competition from other convenience stores (39 percent), competition from other formats (29 percent), and potential decrease in driving/increase in gas prices (19 percent).

C-Store Retailers Optimistic About Business In 2019 Although the convenience store industry faces many different challenges, cstore operators express overall optimism for 2019, according to the 2019 Convenience Store News Forecast Study. Across most product categories, operators expect both dollar sales and unit volume to rise or remain the same yearover-year. On average, c-store retailers predict their total in-store sales will grow by 3.4 percent in 2019. C-store operators expect foodservice to lead the way in in-store sales growth in 2019, predicting a 6-percent gain in sales of prepared food and hot, cold and frozen dispensed beverages. Retailers are also bullish on alternative snacks (projecting a 3.6 percent sales gain), salty snacks (3.4 percent gain) and packaged beverages (3.3 percent gain). In terms of volume, retailers are less optimistic about edible grocery units (1.8 percent gain projected), motor fuel gallons (1.5 percent gain) and cigarette units (0.4 percent decline). Motor fuel prices (cited by 61.9 percent), healthy eating trends (41.2 percent), labor issues/regula-

“C-store operators expect foodservice to lead the way in in-store sales growth in 2019, predicting a 6-percent gain in sales.”

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Top Gas Station Brands in the U.S. report, revealing which gas station convenience store brands had the best-of-the-best experience based on nearly 7 million reviews in the GasBuddy app. Kwik Trip swept the rankings by capturing the highest ratings and reviews in four of the six GasBuddy categories: cleanliness, outdoor lighting, restrooms and overall experience. • Walmart recently announced the addition of four delivery companies—Point Pickup, Skipcart, AxleHire and Roadie—to its team to help expand its popular Online Grocery Delivery service. Walmart Grocery Delivery is available in more than 800 stores with another 800 being adding this year. • Phillips 66 announced that it is collaborating with Honda Developer Studio to develop in-vehicle fuel payment integration that allows Honda vehicle owners to reserve a pump and pay for fuel at Phillips 66, 76 and Conoco branded locations from the comfort of their driver seats through their in-dash infotainment system. • The Kroger Co. and Walgreens are joining forces for a convenient new partnership that brings Kroger-owned brands to several Walgreens stores, reported Stores Magazine. The 13 pilot locations are in northern Kentucky, near Kroger’s Cincinnati headquarters. • Sales of organic products now account for more than $21 billion in sales and are up nearly 9 percent in dollars and 8 percent in units, according to a new Nielsen report. • Americans received 26.3 billion spam phone calls from robocallers last year, up 46 percent from 2017, reported The Verge. Spam monitoring service Hiya has been analyzing calls, and found that many people are just simply not picking up calls anymore. • Nestle recently started to drop plastic straws from its products—replacing them with alternative materials such as continued on page 52

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tions (34.7 percent), tobacco and electronic cigarette regulations (34 percent), and emerging technologies (30 percent) are the top five factors that will have the biggest impact on convenience store sales in 2019, according to the retailers surveyed.

7-Eleven To Open At Pittsburgh International Airport 7-Eleven will open a 2,285-square-foot store on the baggage claim level of Pittsburgh International Airport in April or May,

reported the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The manager of real estate development for the Allegheny County Airport Authority said the store will be a “traditional 7-Eleven with more food offerings.” The airport store also will offer an expanded menu that will include to-go offerings like sandwiches for those who want to grab a bite before catching a plane or heading home. A 7-Eleven will be a first for Pittsburgh International. But the chain does have locations at other airports, including LAX in Los Angeles and Dallas-Fort Worth.

Retailers Using Payment Apps To Bypass Swipe Fees Retailers are trying to persuade their customers to embrace the mobile payments offered by third-party providers like Apple Pay and Android Pay as a way to avoid the swipe fees charged by Visa and MasterCard, reported Bloomberg. Several chains, including Walmart Inc., continued on page 53

California Franchisees Back Attorney General Becerra For Re-Election On October 30, 2019, the California 7-Eleven Franchisee PAC, along with 12 California FOAs, hosted a fundraiser to support State Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s re-election bid. Becerra is well known in California for standing up for franchisees and small business owners. Members of 12 FOAs—Bakersfield, Central Valley, Greater Bay, Greater Los Angeles, Joe Saraceno, Northern California, Sacramento Valley, San Diego, San Francico/Monterey Bay, Sierra, Southern California, and

West Coast—gathered at the Luminarias Restaurant in Monterey Park for the event, and the group raised $40,000 towards Becerra’s campaign. Becerra went on to win the election on November 6, and will continue to support 7-Eleven franchisees and small business owners in the state.


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Your National Coalition is Committed to Franchisee Interests

A Look Back at 2018 Since the 1970s, the National Coalition has been consistently focused on protecting the financial and legal interests of 7-Eleven franchise owners across the country. Because the National Coalition’s board of directors consists of your FOA leaders, we recognize that your best interests and our best interests are the same. We are here to advocate for you, the franchisees, as the unified voice for all 7-Eleven store operators. Yes, these are trying times for those who have invested in the 7-Eleven system; franchisees overwhelmingly believe SEI’s corporate executives are not acting in the best interest of store owners and most question whether SEI trusts us to do our best day in and day out. In light of the unhealthy situation we find ourselves in—and the fact that SEI spent that last six months of 2018 pressuring franchisees to sign a new agreement we believe will ultimately take more money out of our pockets—this organization took many bold steps in 2018, and is poised to continue strongly advocating for your interests in the New Year. This organization operates under specific written objectives and bylaws designed to ensure franchisees are protected. While we won’t list them all in this article, we do feel it’s important to point out a few which are relevant during these turbulent times.

system can’t run without us. On numerous occasions, we asked SEI’s leadership team to re-evaluate the agreement and negotiate its terms to help level the playing field. We asked for a mutually respectful dialogue grounded in transparency. When they didn’t listen, we took steps to have our voices heard.

“Because the National Coalition’s board of directors consists of your FOA leaders, we recognize that your best interests and our best interests are the same.”

We responded to inquiries from members of the national news media and they listened. Stories published in major publications including The New York Times, Bloomberg Businessweek, and The LA Times clearly illustrated the problems we face. Readers across the country now recognize the reality of our situation. We want this system to be successful. We want 7-Eleven to remain a profitable and well-respected brand, but don’t believe it has to come at the expense of the franchisees. (C) To secure, preserve, analyze, disseminate and distribute accurate and reliable information for the benefit of its members;

(A) To articulate and advocate in favor of the needs, economic interests and goals of franchisees of 7-Eleven, Inc., its affiliates, subfranchisors, successors and assigns (SEI);

This column—The Dispatch—as created as an additional way to share information directly with you about our efforts. Our series, “The 5 Reasons This objective is a guiding “On numerous occasions, we asked SEI’s leadership team to Why the New Agreement is force, because franchisees Bad for the Brand,” was deneed to run profitable busi- re-evaluate the new Franchise Agreement and negotiate its signed to help educate you nesses that can support em- terms to help level the playing field. We asked for a mutually about the specifics of the ployees, families and respectful dialogue grounded in transparency. When they agreement so you could make franchisors. In our assessa more informed choice about didn’t listen, we took steps to have our voices heard.” ment, the new Franchise whether to sign or hold off. Agreement jeopardizes this goal. Last year, our general We conducted a statistically valid 24-question survey of counsel, Eric Karp, carefully analyzed the agreement and found 47 major points of concern. These points prove that franchisees to objectively assess the health of our system and the new agreement was written for the benefit of SEI, not determine how you truly feel about the 2019 franchise agreeto improve the fortunes of franchisees, even though the


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“Advocating for all of you is of the utmost importance. We are particularly proud of the town hall meetings which took place in several states, including two in California that drew 800 franchisees.”

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ment and, more broadly, your choice to invest in 7-Eleven. The results corroborated what we already knew: franchisee morale is very low and SEI’s corporate leaders need to do a better job of making this system work for its franchise owners.

Over the last several months, we have also created a LinkedIn page which has quickly grown to about 440 followers. This is yet another way we are bringing information to our members as well as others in the franchising industry who are following our plight. We invite you to follow the page as well, and to consider sharing articles posted there on your personal LinkedIn pages and on other social media outlets. https://www. linkedin.com/company/ 18512369. In 2018, we held our most successful Convention and Trade Show to date and were proud to feature former SEI President James Keyes as a keynote speaker. His insider’s perspective and deep knowledge of the franchisee/franchisor relationship helped us recall those days when the interests of the corporation and the franchisees were in alignment. His message also helped give us hope that the future will not be so bleak. NCASEF voted to skip last year’s 7-Eleven Experience. While it was a difficult thing to do, we believe it sent a message to our corporate hierarchy—we all deserve better. And that is why we have once again voted not to attend the 2019 7-Eleven Experience.

(G) To articulate and advocate for the needs and interests of FOAs and 7-Eleven convenience store franchisees before legislative, administrative and judicial branches of local, state and national governments; Advocating for all of you is of the utmost importance today. We are particularly proud of the town hall meetings which took place in several states, including two in California that drew 800 franchisees. These were times where franchisees came together to talk about shared issues as well as hear from our general counsel Eric Karp the truth about the new franchise agreement. FOAs are also lobbying Attorney Generals in the states of California, Washington, Pennsylvania and Michigan—urging

them to investigate state franchise violations and discriminatory business practices. Because of our grassroots efforts, it is our understanding that the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the State of California and the State of Maryland have opened investigations into SEI’s practices. (E) To seek a balanced, constructive, cooperative, collaborative and mutually respectful relationship with SEI; This is a critical objective for the National Coalition. We deeply believe this is key to the success of the 7-Eleven system. Repeatedly we have asked SEI to listen to our concerns and amend the new agreement to improve our ability to be profitable. Repeatedly, they have ignored our requests and reinforced what our survey already showed: the vast majority of franchisees strongly believe the new Franchise Agreement shows SEI does not care about our well-being. The National Coalition is extremely proud of the work you all do within your communities. Your charitable efforts prove you are caring members of the places “Seeking a balanced, where you do business. It constructive, cooperative, is commendable and we collaborative and mutually want to recognize a few respectful relationship notable efforts over the past year in this Dispatch: with SEI is a critical Thank you to the fran- objective for the National chisees near Parkland, Coalition. We deeply believe Florida who raised this is key to the success money for the shooting of the 7-Eleven system.” victims and their families from Marjory Stoneham Douglas High School. Thank you to the many franchise owners who support Swim Across America events. Thank you to FOAGLA franchisees who raised $4,711 for ABC Channel 7’s recent holiday toy drive to help struggling families in the Greater Los Angeles area. And, thank you to the Utah franchisee who fundraised to feed homeless high school students in her town. These accomplishment—and many more—demonstrate the value franchisees bring to the 7-Eleven brand. In 2019, we pledge to continue working to level the playing field and provide greater balance to the franchisee/franchisor relationship. Please feel free to contact us with your comments or suggestions.

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Legislative Update Bill To Raise Federal Minimum Wage To $15 Per Hour Congressional Democrats recently introduced a bill to gradually raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour, reported CNBC. e Raise the Wage Act would hike the minimum wage from the current $7.25 to $15 per hour by 2024 through annual increases. It would also end provisions that in some cases allow employers to pay workers under age 20 and employees with disabilities less than the wage floor. e proposal to raise the U.S. wage will spark opposition within the business community, which largely aligns with Republicans on wage issues, the article states. Democrats say the proposal will put more money in the pockets of tens of millions—particularly women and workers of color—and boost the economy through their increased spending power. But powerful business groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce argue a $15 per hour U.S. wage will burden small-business owners, force cuts to workers' hours and hamper companies in areas where living expenses are relatively low. e push for a higher federal floor comes as numerous states and localities hike their minimum wages—even in red states such as Arkansas and Missouri. e U.S. base pay last rose in 2009. Labor activists argue pay has failed to keep up with the cost of living: the U.S. minimum wage hit its high in 1968 at $11.83 per hour in 2018 dollars, and has not approached that level in decades. Alaska—$9.84 to $9.89 Arizona—$10.50 to $11 Arkansas—$8.50 to $9.25 California—$11 to $12 Colorado—$10.20 to $11.20 Delaware—$8.25 to $8.75 District of Columbia—$13.25 to $14 Florida—$8.25 to $8.46 Maine—$10 to $11 Massachusetts—$11 to $12 Minnesota—$9.65 to $9.86

Missouri—$7.85 to $8.60 Montana—$8.30 to $8.50 New Jersey—$8.60 to $8.85 New York—$10.40 to $11.10 Ohio—$8.30 to $8.55 Oregon—$10.75 to $11.25 Rhode Island—$10.10 to $10.50 South Dakota—$8.85 to $9.10 Vermont—$10.50 to $10.78 Washington—$11.50 to $12

New Jersey Raises Minimum Wage e governor of New Jersey recently signed legislation that will raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2024, making New Jersey the fourth state in the country to commit to significantly raising incomes to that level, reported the New York Times. e minimum wage in New Jersey is currently $8.85, and raising it to $15 will boost the incomes of more than 1 million people in the state, according to New Jersey Policy Perspective, a liberal-leaning research group. e new law will increase the


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minimum wage to $10 an hour on July 1. On January 1, 2020, it will increase to $11 an hour, and then would increase by $1 an hour every year until it reaches $15 in 2024. e bill includes some exceptions: for seasonal workers and employees at small businesses who employ five workers or less, the base minimum wage would reach $15 an hour by 2026. For “NEW JERSEY IS farm workers, the base minimum SCHEDULED TO BEwage would increase to $12.50 an COME THE FOURTH hour by January 1, 2024. en, a STATE TO RAISE MINIspecial committee would review whether to raise those workers’ MUM WAGE TO $15.” minimum wage to $15 an hour.

SNAP Reauthorized & No EBT Processing Fees e Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, known as the Farm Bill, was recently signed into law, reported NACS Online. e measure bans processing fees on all Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) transactions and reauthorizes the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). More than 119,000 convenience stores accept SNAP benefits and serve the communities in which they operate. NACS campaigned for passage of the Farm Bill and during the legislative process to approve this measure, NACS advocated for the critical role convenience stores play in providing access to food for SNAP beneficiaries. “NACS commends Congress for passing sensible legislation that will place a ban on all processing fees and emphasizes the ban on interchange fees on SNAP transactions. We are pleased that Congress heeded these concerns and recognized that these fees have a negative impact on SNAP customers,” said Anna Ready, NACS director of government relations.

New York May Raise Age To Buy Tobacco New York Governor Andrew Cuomo wants to raise the state's minimum age to buy tobacco and electronic cigarette products from 18 to 21, as an effort to curb their use by younger people, reported the Associated Press. Cuomo announced recently that he will include the continued next page

“Cities, as well as townships, counties and some states are raising the tobacco age to 21.”

Legislative Update proposal in his 2019 executive budget. e legislation would also ban the sale of tobacco and electronic cigarette products in pharmacies, restrict their display in retail stores that are not adult-only, and require that only licensed retailers sell ecigarettes. e governor also wants to clarify the health department's authority to ban the sale of certain flavored e-cigarette liquids, except menthol, that could be popular as a smoking starter product for youth.

state, reported the Washington Post. Alarmed by rampant vaping by teens, a group of Republicans and Democrats in both the State House and Senate rolled out legislation recently targeting an industry whose roots in the commonwealth stretch back four centuries to the Jamestown Colony. Both the House and Senate versions of the bill have bipartisan sponsors, and the legislation has backing from some of the legislature’s most powerful members, the article states. Currently, six states and Washington, D.C. have limited sales of tobacco products to those 21 and older.

Virginia Considers Raising Smoking Age

Cincinnati Raises Smoking Age To 21

Some prominent Virginia legislators are backing a bill to raise the minimum age for buying cigarettes and vapes from 18 to 21 in the

e Cincinnati Council recently voted in favor of an ordinance that raises the age to buy tobacco in the continued on page 49

Connecting To Community BY JAY SINGH, CHAIRMAN, NCASEF

7-Eleven franchisees have a long history of getting involved with our local communities, and we do this through community outreach. To increase our sales and our presence in our local neighborhoods we need to let people know about our stores, and we need to participate in events that do good for our communities and create higher visibility for our brand. The National Coalition every year supports one or two national charities, and over the years has supported numerous deserving organizations, including MDA, MDA Summer Camps, St. Jude, Swim Across America, Hire Heroes USA, and Susan B Komen, to name a few. I heard a figure several years ago that 7-Eleven franchisees have given or collected over $82 million for MDA in the last 30 years. This year, our chosen national charity will be Swim Across America, an organization we have supported for the last three years. On a local level, in order to fully participate in our communities, we need to support local schools, fire and police, legislators, charities, and local events in the community. We need to invite city councilmen, local legislators and state senators to our local FOA meetings. We need to embrace this direction as individual storeowners, and help others who help us. We can always invite 7-Eleven management and vendors to our meetings, but it pays to make connections locally. On the local FOA level, community outreach has at least three stages.

1. Local Community Outreach. Each FOA and each franchisee must assess the local community’s needs and get involved in whatever activities are available. Support as many activities as you can as part of an FOA effort or as an individual storeowner. This includes schools, hospitals, local and national charities, police and fire departments, local clubs, chambers of commerce, bike and road races, car rallies, the list is endless. It all depends on what activities take place in your neighborhood and what opportunities present themselves in your area.

“On a local level, to fully participate in our communities we need to support local schools, fire and police, legislators, charities, and local events in the community.”

sentatives of an FOA, a group of businessmen very important to the community. Donate to their campaigns, talk to them at community events, invite them to your FOA meetings and talk to them every chance you get. You never know where you will find the next champion of small business. 3. National Issues Outreach. Legislative action on a national level needs the participation of grassroots organizers who can raise the visibility of our issues 2. Legislative Outreach. Franchisees in state houses and in Washington, D.C. In the past franchisees have supas local businesspeople face all kinds of legislative issues: tobacco, plastic bags, ported fighting interchange fees, tobacco soda taxes, minimum wage, recycling, li- licensing changes, minimum wage, and censing, and more! As it turns out, we sugar taxes, and we have supported such can influence local and regional legisla- issues as fair franchising laws and new tive assemblies to pass business-friendly product legislation. We have visited Conlegislation, but as with everything, we gressmen, Senators, and House reps in their offices, and we have proved we can need to get involved. We can approach county commis- make an impact. The message is clear: Community sioners, local city halls, county and city councilmen as individuals or as repre- outreach and involvement is important. It can be integral to the success of our stores and “The message is clear: Community outreach and involvement is our local FOAs. The important. The stronger the relationship with your community the stronger the relationship with your community the

more support you can expect from the local community at large.”

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Connecting To Community continued from page 31

more support you can expect from the local community at large. Often our efforts at community involvement are not based on immediate financial gain, but such involvement almost always pays off in the long run by establishing our stores and our FOAs as part of the community at large. Convenience stores are often one of the local resources that residents look to in times of crisis—hurricanes, wildfires, snowstorms—and it is important for our communities to know who 7-Eleven is and what we are about. We need ongoing visibility in our communities, and we do this by working in our communities to build relationships and partnerships. Local politicians, like their counterparts in Congress, know opportunity. If you knock on their door,


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“You might start by establishing an Outreach Committee as part of your local FOA. Create a team, make a list of potential partners and opportunities, and identify the opportunities that exist.” you can make significant changes. A community outreach plan should be an integral part of any store’s involvement and any FOA’s plan. Yet starting a community outreach program can be challenging. You might start by establishing an Outreach Committee as part of your local FOA. Create a team, make a

list of potential partners and opportunities, and identify the opportunities that exist. Mutual support is based on building relationships, and FOAs have to focus on the long-term goals of the organization. This means doing community activities and being visible. Social media can also be useful to connect to the community. Many stores have created Facebook pages. Some stores have Slurpee Kings and Queens, and have a dedicated person to reply to Facebook messages. Which reminds me.... The National Coalition has a new electronic newsletter, and you can follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. To do this, visit our website at www.NCASEF.com.



I’m sure you have heard the saying, “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” This saying is attributed to Harvard Philosophy professor George Santayana whose original words were, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." It’s a very simple concept to understand. As we mature, we repeat actions that led us to success and avoid actions that led us to failure. I recently recalled a very different time in 7-Eleven history, one which I had almost forgotten about, but one that in retrospect may help us to understand a bit about ourselves and our company culture and may help enlighten our path ahead. I first joined 7-Eleven in 2000. There are many franchisees in the system and many corporate employees who have been with 7-Eleven much longer, however there are even more franchisees and corporate personnel with shorter tenure, even high-level executives, who may not know this history. I think it is a history worth telling. There was a time, not all that long ago, when all cups had a retail value. Coffee cups, Gulp cups and Slurpee cups were not mark-ups as they are today, but upon delivery were entered into the store’s book inventory at retail. This meant that cups not sold, or wasted, needed to be written off in order to avoid inventory shrink. I can’t put a firm date on it but believe it was around 2004 when the practice of utilizing markups on cups began. This eliminated a problem franchisees had been complaining about for years. I think it is worth exploring the many issues the retailing of cups created within the 7-Eleven system and how it defined the culture of the system.

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

ISSUES RETAILED VALUE CUPS CREATED AT STORE LEVEL. Potential For Inventory Shrink. Franchisees and store staff —Professor George Santayana needed to account for operator inventory variation. In this case cups as a valuable item, an item which no it would, unless the franchisee or store asoutside party would reasonably understand sociate saw the customer throw the cup in had the value that 7-Eleven assigned them the trash or if they later searched through and an item not controlled by the fran- the trash and wrote off the cup or cups chisee or store associate (as are all other they found wasted. Write-offs missed or products), but which was readily accessible cups unaccounted for meant inventory to the general public at all times. variation. Unless franchisees were diligent,

As an example a customer might discover that they had some grounds in their coffee and throw their cup in the trash and get another cup. The customer would think nothing of this (nor should they), but this event could potentially cost the

these numbers could add up fast. Potential For Negative Customer Interactions. As mentioned in the example above, customers could not be expected to naturally comprehend 7-Eleven’s accounting system. This could sometimes lead to awkward situations, for example a customer with hot coffee wanting to “doublecup” to avoid burning their hands. Franchisees or sales associates, some with English as a second language mind you, would attempt to explain the situation, try to talk them into a sleeve (these were an even later addition), or in some instances make a note to later write off the extra cups (this created another potential issue). Customers also had the potential to see sales associates and franchisees saving cups that continued on page 38

“Much like franchisees in the past continually communicated about the cup issue, franchisees have been calling for a change in the method for accounting for Grill and Hot Foods items.” AVANTI J A N U A R Y | F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 9


What Can We Learn From Our Past? continued from page 35

had fallen on the floor or worse yet rooting through the trash for wasted cups. Potential For Negative Interactions Between Field Consultants And Franchisees. Write-offs were monitored, and there were instances where stores with high write-offs were asked to keep the write-offs for field consultants to verify and approve. This led stores to pull cups from the trash and hold them, sometimes for a period of up to a week. Potential For Unethical Third Parties To Take Advantage Of Our System For Personal Gain. There were occasions where delivery agents, knowing the value of cases of cups to 7-Eleven operators, would short some stores and sell to others at higher than actual cost. So why, in lieu of these many issues did cups have a retail value? I have to assume that cups had a retail value to ensure 7Eleven received its proper share of gross profit from the sale of hot and cold dispensed beverages. Based on that assumption, the system, 7-Eleven’s system, was designed to protect itself from unethical operators. This conscious decision, and the choice to continue this practice for years while franchisees complained, penalized not only the many ethical franchisees and store operators, but also created an atmos-

that fresh foods is crucial to our success. #1 of 7-Eleven’s 6 Point Plan remains to “Grow Fresh Foods and Beverages.” Much like franchisees in the past continually communicated about the cup issue, franchisees have been calling for a change in the method for accounting for Grill and Hot Foods items. One of the biggest concerns relates to inventory variation. It is not as simple as one might believe to ensure everything gets properly written off. This is

“As 7-Eleven continues to change our food service program, the need for a change will only become greater.” especially challenging in our store environment as we are always multitasking on demand. It’s fairly easy for expired hot food and grill items to get discarded with the intention of being written off at a later time, one which may never come. There is also a concern in that many hot food and grill items generally sell at a lower price than the retail at which they are booked into our inventory upon delivery check-in. This is mainly due to the common practice of bundling and of course promotional activity and can contribute to inflated inventory variation. As 7Eleven continues to change our food service program, the need for a change will only become greater. Additional benefits to addressing these concerns include simplifying in-store sampling, preventing expired food from sitting around while waiting to be written-off and

“It’s fairly easy for expired hot food and grill items to get discarded with the intention of being written off at a later time, one which may never come.” phere ripe for tension between customers and operators and corporate personnel and operators. As the system evolves, it allows for opportunities to change the culture. Today, a good place to start would be with fresh foods. We are all keenly aware 38

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a shift in operator perception, all of which will help expedite our food growth. As those who attended 7EE saw there are some great opportunities ahead including the development of the Roost concept and with the adoption of the Laredo Taco concept, which came with the Sunoco acquisition. These concepts will certainly change the way we do business and the current accounting methods will need to change. If you didn’t attend 7EE you can still see what 7-Eleven is working on to drive our food business forward by watching the 7-Eleven Food Strategy video in the 7-Store App. I recommend everyone check it out. It’s sure to get you excited about what’s to come. It should be understood that changing the accounting method for these items is not as simple as it was with the cups and may not be possible in a retail accounting system. All that aside, there may be other ways to solve for the issues. I have confidence that the talented folks in Dallas can figure out a solution. There is inspiration in #5 of 7-Eleven’s Leadership Principles: “It Can Be Done—Bias for Action.” One need look no further than this statement from the general session at this year’s 7EE: “Everything, I mean everything starts with the customer. It is always our job to meet and exceed customer expectations and do it with a franchisee first mindset. If it doesn’t work for franchisees then it’s not going to work for our customers.” Making changes now and eliminating the obstacle franchisees have been addressing surrounding these food items would also fall into #3 of 7-Eleven’s Leadership Principles: “Challenge the Status Quo—Innovate, Simplify, Constantly Raise the Bar.” It Can Be Done!




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Store Level Economics— Looking Back and Looking Forward ERIC H. KARP, ESQ., GENERAL COUNSEL TO NCASEF

YOY GPM/Same Store Sales

Securities and Exchange Commission when SEI was a 4.5% public company, as well as the 4.0% extensive materials available 3.5% to us by the publicly held par- 3.0% ent company, Seven & i Hold- 2.5% ings. You can find these 2.0% 1.5% materials at https://www.7and 1.0% i.com/en/ir/. 0.5% We have often said in 0.0% ’07 ’08 ’09 ’10 ’11 ’12 ’13 ’14 ’15 this ’16 space ’17 that 9/ the Graduated -0.5% Gross Profit Split on Steroids -1.0% 2017 2017 2017 2017 2018 2018 2018 2018 2018 “The 2019 franchise agreement Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Oct Nov means what SEI takes under transfers many categories of costs, that formula is a larger slice Existing Store Sales Merchandise GPM of a shrinking pie. As the expenses and charges from the chart below illustrates, consolidated franchisor to the franchisee.” (both franchised and company-owned The 2019 franchise agreement trans- stores) merchandise gross profit in the fers many categories of costs, expenses and system reached 36 percent in 2007. Over charges from the franchisor to the fran- the ensuing 10 and three-quarter years, chisee. It is a Sword of Damocles hanging with a few upticks along the way, consolover the head of franchisees as they con- idated merchandise gross profit dropped sider not only these additional costs and ex- by 1.7 percent of gross sales to 34.3 perpenses, but what will happen when the cent. That 1.7 percent of gross sales, so-called rate lock expires. In order to put which is unlikely to ever be made up, repAnother concerning set of statistics these concerns in perspective, we did a resents tens of millions of dollars of lost are shown without apology or embarrassdeep dive into publicly available docu- gross margin to franchisees every year. ment on page 12 of the parent company’s ments, including those filed with the U.S. And with the 2019 agreement reciting that Presentation Materials for its third quarter SEI will not of fiscal 2019, entitled Financial Results Consolidated Merchandise Gross Profit % assure you Y Presentation for the Nine Months Ended that it will get November 30, 2018, issued January 10, 36.00 the lowest 2019. The results are summarized in the 35.50 possible cost chart that follows. 35.00 of goods sold, Commencing with the first quarter of 34.50 we see this as calendar year 2017, same-store sales have a deeply con34.00 bounced around from a reduction of 0.4 cerning de33.50 percent to an increase of 4.1 percent in velopment. 33.00 SEI, having placed a figurative gun to the head of thousands of hard-working franchisees, and having succeeded in forcing them to sign an early renewal franchise agreement, cannot escape a close examination of what that agreement will do down the road to store level economics. As Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis once said, “Sunshine is the best of disinfectants.”

“SEI is willing to spend literally billions of dollars on new locations while suffering the closing of marginal stores—250 in 2018.”












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Store Level Economics— Looking Back and Looking Forward continued from page 41

October 2018. However, for seven consecutive quarters, store level gross margin decreased, spiking with a 7 percent reduction in the fourth quarter of 2017. While samestore sales apparently rose by 4.1 percent

that their average number of gasoline gallons pumped is approximately 45 percent higher than franchise stores. On the other hand, merchandise sales are slightly lower, as is merchandise gross profit. The take away is that SEI is willing to spend literally billions of dollars on new locations while perfectly

Cap Ex 180 160 140 120 100 80 60 40 20 0 ‘06






Existing Stores






New Stores

and 3.2 percent in October and November 2018, respectively, store level merchandise gross profit numbers have not been published for those months. Conspicuously absent from the presentation was any sense of urgency or any specific steps that might reverse trends. As you undoubtedly know, SEI’s parent company has been on something of a buying spree over the last several years, culminating with its $3.3 billion acquisition of nearly 1,100 Sunoco stations. The profile of these locations are somewhat at odds with the typical 7-Eleven store, in

’17 10/1/22

“Since 2012, SEI has spent 250 percent more on new stores than on existing stores.”

willing to suffer the closing of marginal stores—251 stores in the 12 months ended February 28, 2018 and is projected to close 370 stores in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2019—not to mention the deterioration of other stores badly in need of refurbishing and reinvestment. The Cap Ex chart demonstrates that for the years 2006 through 2011, SEI consistently devoted more capital expenditures on existing stores than in acquiring new stores. That trend reversed in 2012. Since that time, SEI has spent 250 percent more on new stores than on existing

“Experienced executives of other franchised companies have long recognized that if store level economics do not make sense, franchisees will not expand their investment in the system, and will not recommend entry into the system to their friends and relatives.” 42

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stores. The National Coalition has repeatedly requested that SEI substantially increase its expenditures on existing stores, including the replacement of worn out equipment, which only elevates maintenance expenses that are shouldered by franchisees and prevents franchisees from competing with the beautifully designed and gleaming new stores of the competition. Sadly, all of these completely reasonable requests have fallen on deaf ears. Experienced executives of other franchised companies have long recognized that if store level economics do not make sense, franchisees will not expand their investment in the system, and will not recommend entry into the system to their friends and relatives. Sadly, it seems that SEI either does not recognize this elementary principle or believes that franchised store level economics are somehow not relevant. Does SEI have a long-term undisclosed plan? If so, is that plan to hold onto just enough of the franchise community until technology can make them irrelevant? Will third party delivery services and drones sap revenue from franchise stores? Are stores without employees a model of the future? Will the 7-Eleven system be recognizable in 10 years? Will goodwill value in stores become a myth? For these and literally dozens of other existential questions about the future of the system, we continue to wait for an answer. To SEI we simply say, our door is always open to real discussions based on mutual respect and transparency. ERIC H. KARP CAN BE REACHED AT

617-423-7250 or ekarp@wkwrlaw.com

Vice Chairs’ Forum


on the basis that we couldn’t prove an employment relationship exists between franchisees and the company, a few franchisees got concerned, and made overtures to 7-Eleven about repairing the relationship and being buddy-buddy again, with no promise of getting anything in return. Until the case is resolved, we should do everything we can legally to continue the fight. 7-Eleven, meanwhile, is trying to stop our ability to continue the legal fight by asking us to sign new agreements that waive our rights in the case. Our lawyers have asked the Court to stop 7-Eleven from forcing us to make this choice. On Wednesday February 13, we had a hearing in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and hopefully within the next couple of months, we will know whether the Court will reverse the District Court and reinstate our case, or at least know whether we will be asked to sign away our rights in the case in order to renew our contracts with 7Eleven. While the legal case is being fought in court, at the same time, I believe we should work to bridge the gap with 7-Eleven and work on improving communications without hurting the everyday work of our franchisees. We can’t abandon the legal fight, and we can’t ig“I stood up because it was the right thing to do. I thought nore the fact that fran7-Eleven would see their relationship with franchisees is chisees have to have a relationship with 7-Eleven. their most important asset and that they would come up We absolutely have to patch things up with 7-Eleven and with a fair agreement and treat us with respect.” are looking forward to the transparency, giving us no chance at all to improve Court’s resolution of our case. We will continue to our lot as franchisees, we had no other recourse follow the advice of our litigation counsel on how to proceed. than to take legal action. We just cannot go to 7-Eleven right now and After our suit was dismissed in March 2018,

When I signed on as a plaintiff in the National Coalition-backed lawsuit filed in the United States District Court, for the Central District of California, Western Division, back in October 2017, not a single FOA president in the country voted against this lawsuit. Our suit alleged that 7-Eleven, Inc. was in violation of the Federal Labor Standards Act and California employment laws in con“WITH THE INTROnection with its operation of the 7DUCTION OF THE Eleven convenience store system. NEW AGREEMENT Because the suit was being filed in IN EARLY 2018, ALL California, we needed California WE WANTED WAS franchisees to stand up and lead the A CHANCE TO FIGHT charge for fairer treatment by 7FOR MORE FAIR Eleven, free from the overarching and CONDITIONS, AND suffocating control of SEI, which is EVERYBODY the subject of the lawsuit. As the curWANTED TO SEE rent president of the Southern CaliAN AGREEMENT IN fornia FOA, the largest FOA in the OUR FAVOR.” country, I stepped up and put my name on the lawsuit with everyone’s consent. With the introduction of the new agreement in early 2018, we wanted a chance to fight for more fair conditions, and everybody wanted to see an agreement in our favor. After 7-Eleven abruptly stopped meeting with the Franchise Agreement Committee, and reneged on its promises to provide important information in the interest of

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Vice Chairs’ Forum

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say, “We give up. We want to patch things “The system is changing from a single store up with you.” Because we know that 7operator to a multiple store operator system. Eleven will offer nothing in return. They have refused every olive branch that anyYou have to have multiple stores to survive.” one has extended. So we are going to folto stand up and say we are not going to take it anymore. low this to the end. Some franchisees are biting the bullet and swallow- I stood up because it was the right thing to do. I thought ing this completely and hideously unfair agreement and that 7-Eleven would see that their relationship with franwant to move on, but they are not happy—and how chisees is their most important asset and that they would could they be! The longer-tenured franchisees, looking come up with a fair agreement and treat us with respect. to ride out their contracts, don’t like this agreement be- Alas, they decided to go all in. Eventually we will have to work with 7-Eleven and cause it is grossly unfair to franchisees. In some areas of the country franchisees are waiting to see if they will bridge the gap, but at this moment, we are waiting on the have the chance to purchase Sunoco stores being con- court’s decision. We will follow our litigation counsel’s verted. They will make less money with the 2019 agree- advice, but eventually 7-Eleven will come to its senses and realize that a mutually rement and are wondering if they need to invest more PAUL LOBANA spectful, transparent, and fair remoney in additional stores. For people at or near the end CAN BE REACHED AT lationship with its franchisees is of their careers, they don’t want to invest anymore. PAULLOBANA@AOLCOM the only path to a secure future I always got along with 7-Eleven, and I enjoyed OR 818.203.2527 for all concerned. working with company people, but we had no choice but


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Legislative Update city from 18 to 21, reported Cincinnati Public Radio. e ordinance would prohibit the sale of tobacco products to anyone under the age of 21. at includes cigarettes, chewing tobacco, electronic cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco and snuff. A first violation would carry a fine of $500 and a second violation would increase to $1,250. It would also require businesses to pay $500 a year for a tobacco retail license to the city. ere would be a $75 penalty for a late application or fee payment. Opponents of the ordinance stated that the measure will hurt businesses in Cincinnati and won't stop the illegal use of cigarettes and other products.

Boston Plastic Bag Ban Goes Into Effect A Boston city ordinance banning major grocery store chains from providing plastic bags to customers went into effect recently, reported CBS News. e new law—enacted to help reduce pollution and clean up city streets—applies only to checkout bags, described in the ordinance as carryout bags with handles. Retailers can still stock recyclable paper bags, compostable bags or reusable bags and sell them for at least 5 cents, “BOSTON HAS as long as the charge is BANNED PLASTIC advertised near the checkout location. BAGS, BUT REe plastic bag ban TAILERS CAN will be rolled out over STILL STOCK REeight months. For now, it CYCLABLE PAPER applies only to stores that BAGS, COMare 20,000 square feet or POSTABLE BAGS larger. Stores that are at OR REUSABLE least 10,000 square feet have until April 1, 2019, BAGS AND SELL to comply. Smaller estabTHEM FOR AT lishments have until July LEAST 5 CENTS.” 1, 2019. Offenders will first receive a warning, followed by a $50 fine for a second violation, and $100 fine for a third violation. continued on page 50

Tobacco Legislation Update The following are the latest proposals and approved changes in tobacco legislation and regulation occurring throughout the U.S., as reported by Convenience Store News.

CONNECTICUT Bridgeport—City officials voted 16-1 to increase the legal minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21. e move makes Bridgeport the second municipality in Connecticut to pass Tobacco 21 legislation, following a similar vote by Hartford officials in October 2018.



Gainesville—Alachua County lawmakers voted unanimously to raise the legal minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21. In addition, tobacco retailers will have to apply for a one-year license to sell tobacco products and they are prohibited from selling them within 1,000 feet of a public school. Each city within the county has time to opt out of the ordinance, which will take effect in nine months.

ILLINOIS Arlington Heights—Members of the Village Board voted 8-0 to raise the legal minimum age of tobacco products to 21. Passed on January 7, the ordinance went into effect in 10 days, but enforcement began 30 days aer adoption.

MICHIGAN Lansing—A Tobacco 21 bill was introduced into the Michigan House of Representatives. In addition to hiking the legal minimum age to buy tobacco products and paraphernalia to 21 across the state, the proposal would also repeal language concerning the possession of tobacco products by minors. ose who sell tobacco to anyone under 21 would face a fine of no less than $1,000 for the first offense, and a maximum of $5,000 for a second offense within two years. It also provides a provision that local municipalities may enact their own rules regarding tobacco sales that are stricter than those set at the state level.

NEW HAMPSHIRE Concord—A bill has been proposed that would prevent municipalities from raising the age to buy any tobacco product above the limit set by the state. e legal minimum age to buy tobacco products in New Hampshire is 18.

TEXAS Tyler—e Tyler City Council voted to add electronic cigarettes to its 2008 ordinance prohibiting the use of tobacco products in public places.

VERMONT Montpelier—A bill has been introduced that would prohibit the online sale of electronic cigarettes or e-liquids. It was referred to the House Committee on Human Services.

VIRGINIA Richmond—A bill to raise the legal minimum age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21 is heading to the Virginia House of Delegates aer the state Senate voted 32-8 to pass SB 1727.

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Legislative Update New Jersey Wages War On Plastic Bags & Straws

block the ordinance, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the law violates constitutionally e global push to ban everyday plastic products like bags protected commercial speech. e judges granted a preliminary and straws has no greater fight in the U.S. in 2019 than in New injunction that prevents the ordinance from taking effect and Jersey, where the most far-reaching set of plastics regulations in kicked the case back to a lower court. e court also found San the nation is slowly making its way through the State Capitol, Francisco's warning that drinking sweet drinks can lead to obereported the North Jersey Record. Manufacturers sity and other and retailers are gearing up to defeat a bill that diseases was“A SAN FRANCISCO APPEALS COURT BLOCKED A LAW would ban plastic bags, foam conn't based on REQUIRING WARNINGS ON SODA ADVERTISEMENTS.” tainers and plastic straws, fearing established “New Jersey passage in New Jersey could prompt fact. e rulcould ban other states to adopt similar regulations. ing cited Food and Drug Administration statements that Support is growing for the measure, plastic sugar is “generally recognized as safe” when not consumed to excess. bags, foam with more than two dozen New Jersey towns and cities enacting their own regulacontainers, tions to curb the 4.5 billion plastic bags and California Bill Calls For E-Receipts and plastic other products given to shoppers each year. A state lawmaker in California recently introduced legstraws in But a coalition of plastics manufacturers, conislation that would make California the first state to require the near venience stores, supermarkets and other busibusinesses to offer electronic receipts to customers, reported nesses that turned out in force at a September future.” e Hill. Democratic Assemblyman Phil Ting called it “comlegislative hearing to oppose the bill said the measmon-sense legislation” during a news conference announcing the ure will cost jobs and do little to curb litter. e bill. Under the legislation, receipts would be sent electronically to American Progressive Bag Alliance said New Jersey's proposed ban customers unless they were to request a paper receipt. Ting also “goes way further than anything any state or municipality has done.” said the legislation would have environmental benefits because paper receipts have Bisphenol-A (BPA), a chemical Ting said is Berkeley Approves Fee harmful to the environment. Republican Assemblyman Brian On Disposable Cups Dahle said he's worried Ting's bill could adversely affect small Patrons of restaurants and coffee shops in Berkeley, Califor- businesses and that it may not save that much paper. nia, who don't bring a reusable cup for their beverage will have to pay a 25-cent fee for a disposable cup as part of an ordinance Illinois House Approves approved by city officials to reduce restaurant waste, reported $15 Minimum Wage the Associated Press. e ordinance, called Disposable-Free Illinois House members have passed a bill to increase the Dining, also requires restaurants to provide takeout containers minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025, reported e State Jourthat are compostable by mid-2020 and to provide only reusable nal-Register. e bill was recently approved along a party-line plates and utensils for those eating in. It also says other disposvote in the House Labor and Commerce Committee and sent to able items, like lids and stirrers, can only be offered when rethe House floor. e governor is expected to sign the measure quested. Restaurants would keep all proceeds, and it would be into law. Under the plan, the state’s minimum wage will go from up to them to decide what to do with the extra money. $8.25 to $9.25 on January 1, 2020, and then to $10 on July 1, 2020. It will then go up $1 more each January 1 aer that until it San Fran Law Requiring reaches $15 in 2025. Retailers were pushing lawmakers to estabWarning On Soda Ads Blocked lish a variety of wages based on geography, in order to reflect difA federal appeals court recently blocked for a second time a ferent costs of living in parts of the state and different levels of San Francisco law requiring health warnings on advertisements economic activity. e Illinois Retail Merchants Association for soda and other sugary drinks, reported U.S. News & World wanted a system where the wage would go to $15 in Chicago, $13 Report. In a victory for beverage and retail groups that sued to for the Chicago suburbs and $11 in the rest of the state. 50

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FOA OF GREATER LA CLOSES YEAR WITH FESTIVE HOLIDAY PARTY Members of the FOA of Greater Los Angeles dressed to the nines when they gathered at the Royal Vista Golf Club on December 15 to celebrate the holidays with friends, family and colleagues at the association’s annual Holiday Party. The event featured fine dining, festive music with lots of dancing, and gift giveaways.

Share Your Experience and Expertise Do you have a store experience, some operational expertise, or thoughts about the 7-Eleven system you would like to share with your fellow storeowners? Avanti Magazine welcomes articles from franchisees interested in communicating their ideas, knowledge, suggestions, opinions, etc. to the franchisee community at large. Please contact Sheldon Smith at sheldon.smith5@verizon.net or 215-750-0178 if you would like to contribute an article to Avanti.

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paper—and is working on biodegradable water bottles in a drive to reduce plastic waste, reported Reuters. • Total retail dollar sales of the U.S. chewing gum market reached roughly $4.1 billion in 2018, according to Packaged Facts’ latest study, “Chewing Gum: U.S. Market Trends and Opportunities.” Better-for-you sugarfree gum accounts for 85 percent of dollar sales, compared to only 15 percent for “regular” (sugared) gum. • On January 1, Dunkin’ Donuts official dropped “Donuts” from its name, and the new Dunkin’ brand identity came to life with bright and bold new in-store packaging. The new branding is part of the company’s multi-faceted blueprint for growth, a plan designed to transform Dunkin’ into a premier beverage-led, on-the-go brand. • Rutter’s Convenience Stores has applied for Video Gaming Terminal (VGT) licenses for 20 of its convenience stores, reported Fox 43 News. A VGT operates in a similar way to a slot machine in a casino, with each play random of the previous one. The machines only accept cash and winning will be paid through a redemption machine. • Starbucks recently announced the expansion of its Starbucks Delivers pilot to an additional six cities across the United States. The expansion, in partnership with Uber Eats, is rolling out to select stores in San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C. • U.S. nonfarm payrolls increased by 312,000 in December, easily topping all forecasts, after an upwardly revised 176,000 gain the prior month, reported Bloomberg. Additionally, average hourly earnings rose 3.2 percent from a year earlier, more than projected and matching the fastest pace since 2009. • A Philadelphia ShopRite supermarket is closing for good in March, and its owner is blaming it on the city’s 1.5-cent per ounce sweetcontinued on page 54


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Starbucks Corp. and Kohl’s Corp., have had some success by baking the apps into their loyalty programs—and more than half of companies surveyed recently by the National Retail Federation said they’ve implemented “branded digital wallets” or are considering it. The digital wallets use the Automated Clearing House network, which allows money to be sent electronically between bank accounts around the country. Cumberland Farms is a prime example of this approach. Drivers who fill up at one of the privately held chain’s gas stations can save 10 cents a gallon if they sign up for its SmartPay app, which connects directly to their bank account and is much like paying utility bills or rent. The company said its users have saved more than $100 million by using the SmartPay app.

Altria Buys Stake In Juul Altria recently purchased a 35 percent stake in e-cigarette maker Juul, worth $12.8 billion, reported CNN Business. The investment is the largest in Altria's history, and it values Juul at $38 billion

dollars. It pairs a company that controls half of the American tobacco market with startup Juul—which sells more than 70 percent of the cartridge-based e-cigarettes in the United States. The deal could give Altria a window into the rapidly growing market of e-cigarettes, while giving Juul access to Altria's massive distribution network and top-shelf space at stores. The marriage also allows Altria to broaden its customer base. Altria is a US-only business, spinning off from Philip Morris International in 2008. Juul sells its e-cigarettes in Canada, Israel, Russia and the United Kingdom, in addition to the United States.

comes out to about $1.3 million per person, the exact amount each individual receives will depend on the length of time spent as an employee at Juul and how much equity is owned.

Kroger Teams With Microsoft On Digital Shelves Supermarket giant Kroger and Microsoft are joining forces to bring the ease of online shopping to brick-and-mortar grocery stores, reported Bloomberg. Kroger has remodeled two stores to test out the new features, which include “digital shelves” that can show ads and change prices on the fly along with a network of sensors that keep track of products and help speed shoppers through the aisles. At the two test stores— located near Kroger and Microsoft’s respective head quarters in Cincinnati and Redmond, Washington—customers using Kroger’s self-checkout app will be guided through the store to items on their shop-

“Altria’s purchase of a 35 percent stake in Juul gives the e-cigarette maker access to a massive distribution network.” As part of the deal, Altria paid a $2 billion dividend, which will be split among Juul’s 1,500 employees as a bonus, reported People Magazine. While that

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Want to talk to other franchisees? To find the FOA closest to you. Visit www.NCASEF.com to contact any one of the 43 local Franchise Owner’s Associations nationwide. Want to talk to someone at the national level? Call the NCASEF Vice Chairman in your area: The National Coalition has Franchise Owner’s Association member organizations in all 33 states in which 7-Eleven operates.

Paul Lobana, Vice Chairman, President, Southern California FOA

Rehan Hashmi, Vice Chairman, Vice President, Alliance Of 7-Eleven Franchisees

paullobana@aol.com 818.203.2527

rehan711@yahoo.com 847-845-8477

Ajinder Handa, Vice Chairman, President, Greater Seattle, FOA

National Office

425-438-8381 ajinderhanda@hotmail.com

nationaloffice@ncasef.com 210.971.9211

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ping list. When they enter an aisle, the digital shelf will display a personalized icon chosen by the shopper below the relevant product. Kroger could eventually roll out the cloud-based system it developed with Microsoft in all of its 2,780 supermarkets.

“Walgreens is looking to embed smart displays in cooler doors to target ads to shoppers.”

Maine’s First Medical Marijuana C-Store Maine’s first marijuana con“Gas N’ Grass, venience store— the first marione of only a juana convenhandful in operation in the ience store, country— opened recently opened recently in Portland, in Portland, reported the Maine.” Portland Press Herald. Atlantic Farms Gas N’ Grass started selling cannabis-infused gummies, tinctures and smokable marijuana to those fueling up at the former Getty Mart at 460 Warren Ave. on the first day that Maine’s new, sweeping medical marijuana law took effect. At Gas N’ Grass, adults with a medical card and government-issued identification are able to buy marijuana products from a renovated walk-in cooler inside the convenience store, with different strains of cannabis selling for $5 to $15 a gram and concentrates selling for $20 to $40 a gram. Anyone can buy the non-intoxicating hemp products, traditional convenience store soda and snacks, and, of course, the self-serve, pay-at-thepump gas.

Walgreens Testing Smart Digital Cooler Doors Walgreens is testing a technology that embeds cameras, sensors and digital screens in the cooler doors in its stores, a new network of “smart” displays that marketers can use to target ads for specific types of shoppers, reported the Wall Street Journal. The refrigerator and freezer doors act as a digital merchandising platform that depicts the food and drinks inside in their best light, but also as an in-store billboard that can serve ads to consumers who approach, based on variables such as the approximate age the technology believes they are, their gender and the weather. Cameras and sensors inside the coolers connected to face-detection technology also can determine which items shoppers picked up or looked at, giving advertisers insight into whether their on-screen promotions worked—and can let a retailer know quickly if a product has gone out of stock.

C-Stores Unite To Fight Human Trafficking Three leading convenience retailing media groups—Convenience Store Decisions, Convenience Store News and CSP— have teamed up with NACS to help combat human trafficking during Human Trafficking Awareness Month (in Janucontinued on page 57


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ened beverage tax, reported WHYY. The owner said his store lost about 25 percent of its business in 2017 after the beverage tax was implemented, continued to lose in 2018, and the losses were too great for the store to absorb. • Denver-based Illegal Burger is partnering with a Dallas holding company to launch cannabisthemed food trucks in Colorado, reported Nation’s Restaurant News. The AmeriCanna Café food trucks, expected to launch this year, will park at cannabis dispensaries and feature a menu of foods that contain hemp. • The Food and Drug Administration recently stated that ecigarettes face an uncertain future in U.S. markets unless youth smoking rates drop over the next year, reported The Hill. The FDA commissioner said he could see the entire category of e-cigarette and vaping products removed from store shelves if companies don’t stop marketing such products to youth. • U.S. consumers have yet to fully embrace online grocery shopping, with only 3 percent of grocery spending occurring online, reveals a new study by Bain & Company and Google. However, the U.S. is on the cusp of a major increase in consumer adoption of digital shopping in this sector, as grocery e-commerce is expected to at least triple in the next decade. • Unilever has recently agreed to buy The Vegetarian Butcher, a fast growing Dutch producer of plant-based meat replacements such as vegetarian hamburgers, imitation meatballs and fishless tuna, reported Reuters. • Former boxing heavyweight champ Mike Tyson recently broke ground on a 40acre cannabis operation in the quiet desert of California City, reported SFGate.com. Half of the acreage on Tyson Ranch will be devoted to cannabis growing, while the remaining 20 acres will feature a cutting-edge extraction facility, a continued on page 58

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Franchisees & Vendors Win Big At San Diego FOA/ FOAGLA Trade Show

On January 23, the San Diego FOA and FOA of Greater Los Angeles held

our 9th Annual Trade Show at the Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, California. We had our best show ever. We raffled off $20,000 as our grand prize, and had $5,000 as our second prize. We also had a hot air balloon ride and many more exciting items we raffled off. This year we had 82 booths and great deals from our participating vendors. Over 1,000 people attended and our franchisees placed nearly 5,000 orders. The vendors offered great deals and in return our franchisees bought many items. We thank our franchisees and exhibiting vendors for making our trade show an outstanding success! —Kathy York, President, FOA of Greater Los Angeles


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ary), reported NACS Online. The convenience and fuel retailing industry works with groups that are active in serving as neighborhood watch groups, including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Blue Campaign, the National Safe Place Network and In Our Backyard’s Convenience Stores Against Trafficking (CSAT) program. In addition to employee training on recognizing and safely reporting the signs of human trafficking, CSAT also provides Freedom Stickers, which contain the National Human Trafficking Hotline number, to be posted in restroom stalls—often the only place a victim of human trafficking is alone and safe enough to reach out for help. The Department of Homeland

Security (DHS) developed The Blue Campaign to work with organizations and businesses, to raise awareness of human trafficking. In 2017, NACS worked with DHS to provide convenience retailers with access to free NACS-branded DHS Blue Campaign training and awareness materials for download—including posters, handouts and other materials.

Anheuser-Busch InBev To Explore Pot Drinks Anheuser-Busch InBev is partnering with medical cannabis company Tilray in a $100 million deal to research cannabisinfused drinks for the Canadian market, reported CBS News. The alliance is the

“Anheuser-Busch InBev is exploring cannabis drinks through a $100 million deal with medical cannabis company Tilray.” latest foray by a major beer company into the cannabis business in Canada, which legalized recreational marijuana in October. Anheuser-Busch InBev and Tilray Inc. said each would invest $50 million in the project to study non-alcoholic drinks containing cannabidiol, or CBD, which some claim has calming and healing affects, and THC, the cannabis compound continued on page 58

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known for its psychoactive effects. Belgium-based AB InBev, the owner of more than 500 beer brands, including Budweiser and Stella Artois, said it will participate in the project through its subsidiary Labatt Breweries of Canada.

Seattle’s New Soda Tax Passed On To Customers Seattle soda drinkers are paying nearly every penny of a tax on sugary drinks that the City Council put in place in January 2018, reported The Daily Caller. University of Washington researchers studied the effects of the soda tax on the prices of taxed and untaxed drinks at various types of stores. The study found that, on average, 97

percent of the 1.75 cents per fluid ounce tax is paid by consumers, according to the January 2019 report. Researchers studied drink prices at more than 200 Seattle stores before the tax was enacted and compared them to prices at the same stores six months after the tax went into effect. The researchers also studied prices at 200 stores outside Seattle in surrounding communities to gather a baseline. More of the tax burden was passed on to consumers in small stores than in larger supermarkets. Small stores passed on 104 percent of the tax to consumers, according to the report. Larger stores passed on 86 percent. Across all stores, 102 percent of the tax was passed on to consumers on soft drinks, 84 percent on sweetened teas and continued on page 60

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“Tyson Cultivation School,” an edible factory and a hydro-feed plant and supply store. • Giant Food Stores recently announced that it will place robotic assistants called “Marty”—which use image capturing technology to report spills, debris and other potential hazards to store employees—in each of the supermarket chain’s 172 stores across Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia, reported the Washington Post. • The Coca-Cola Company plans to collect and recycle the equivalent of every bottle or can the company sells globally by 2030, reported the Washington Post. Coca-Cola’s World Without Waste initiative is based on a closed-loop circular continued on page 60

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COATS NOW SOCKS, TEES AND HOODIES it’s winter,” says Serge. “I can’t stand seeing children going without, and It’s been 12 years since franchisee Serge Haitayan began supporting his it’s part of the makeup of a 7-Eleven franchisee that we care, and we two local elementary schools (attendance 250 students each) with coats for look to give back to our communities in all students who needed one. Bakman any way we can.” and Turner Elementary schools are less The giveaway of over 400 each of than a mile up the street from Serge’s socks, tees and hoodies occurred just after store (in different directions), and both kids came back to school from the Thanksare part of the Fresno Unified School giving holiday. “Giving back is an investDistrict in Southern California. ment in our community. Some of these This year, instead of coats, the families have been shopping in my store principal and school support for many years,” says Serge. “They’re more staffers lobbied Serge and the than just customers.” Serge also supports change was made to supply socks, events at the schools with coffee and other t-shirts, and hoodies instead. “This refreshments, and frequently helps out being a lower economic area, some kids were coming to school without Serge Haitayan with students and staffers at Bakman families in dire need with food and other household items. socks and with ripped t-shirts, and Elementary in Fresno.

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sports drinks, 63 percent on sugar-sweetened juice drinks, and 62 percent on sweetened bottled coffee drinks.

Three C-Stores Make ‘Best Customer Service’ List QuikTrip, Wawa and Sheetz have been named by Newsweek as the top three convenience stores in the U.S. that have exhibited superior customer service in the eyes of their customers. Newsweek’s list of America’s Best Customer Service 2019, conducted in partnership with global research firm Statista, ranks 423 companies across 141 categories. Over 20,000 consumers were surveyed on their opinions regarding various factors pertaining to customer service, such as a quality of communication, technical competence, range of services, customer focus, and accessibility.

Wawa Launches Florida Hiring Campaign Wawa, Inc. recently announced plans to launch a hiring campaign with the goal

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“Newsweek has named QuikTrip, Wawa and Sheetz as the top three convenience stores in customer service.” of hiring up to 1,000 new associates across Florida by March, with all of Wawa’s 160 stores in Florida looking to add new talent. The company said its hiring campaign will span the first quarter of 2019 and focuses on filling customer-service positions. Wawa also said associates hired in these full and part-time positions enjoy competitive salaries and health benefits, as well as flexible schedules and tuition reimbursement opportunities. In addition, through Wawa’s employee stock ownership plan (ESOP), associates share directly in the growth of Wawa. Today Wawa is 41 percent owned continued on page 62

Questions For The CEO? Got a question you want to ask the CEO of 7-Eleven? Submit it via email to nationalcoalition@NCASEF.com. Include the phrase, “Question for the CEO.” We’ll print your question here next issue. All questions are anonymous. The changing environment franchisees face over the next year is bound to raise many issues we have not faced before. We have all signed a new contract that we have yet to test in practice. So, got a question? Let us know: nationalcoaltion2@ncasef.com


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economy: a system in which all of the plastic packaging the company produces is designed to be recycled, kept in the economy, and reused in food and beverage packaging. • Circle K has successfully introduced its branded fuel at 132 locations in Missouri and Illinois as part of its global re-branding campaign, the company announced. Additional sites in the region will be converted to Circle K fuel over the next several months, the company said. • A Hawaii lawmaker has proposed a bill that would gradually raise the minimum smoking age to 100, which could effectively make Hawaii the first state to outlaw the sale of cigarettes, reported Time. The bill seeks to incrementally raise the age to 30 in 2020, 40 in 2021, 50 in 2022, 60 in 2023 and 100 in 2024. • Amazon has plans to open even more Whole Foods stores to make its two-hour grocery delivery service more accessible to customers, reported Business Insider. • Apple recently announced that Target, Taco Bell, Hy-Vee supermarkets in the Midwest, Speedway convenience stores and Jack in the Box are the latest merchants to support Apple Pay.With the addition of these national retailers, 74 of the top 100 merchants in the U.S. and 65 percent of all retail locations across the country now support Apple Pay. • PepsiCo is testing self-driving robots as a way to bring snacks directly to college students, reported the Washington Post. The company is testing the service at the Pacific in Stockton, California. Students are able to order Baked Lay’s, SunChips or Bubly sparkling water on an app, and then meet the six-wheeled robot at more than 50 locations on campus. • C-store retailer Sheetz has partnered with Lackawanna College in Scranton, Pennsylvania for a scholarship program that will offer tuition assistance to its employees, reported The Abington Jourcontinued on page 62

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by associates through the ESOP. Wawa continues to expand throughout Florida with plans to open 25-30 new stores each year for the next several years. In 2019, Wawa will launch in the new markets of Ocala and Miami-Dade.

Maine Orders Stores To Remove Edibles With CBD Maine health authorities have ordered that edible products containing cannabidiol, or CBD, must be removed from stores because the hemp-derived product is not a federally approved food additive, reported the Portland Press Herald. Environmental health inspectors began informing businesses recently that they must remove all foods, tinctures and capsules from their shelves that contain the non-psychoactive chemical compound found in the cannabis plant. The Maine Department of Health and Human Services has determined CBD is an unapproved food additive that federal authorities do not recognize as safe. National industry analysts estimate the U.S. CBD market hit $591 million in 2018 and—with new federal legislation making it distinct from marijuana, its cannabis cousin—it could hit $22 billion by 2022.

Walmart Expands Driverless Delivery Car Pilot Walmart is expanding its tests of driverless cars as a way to get online grocery orders to shoppers' homes more

“New York City’s 500 pharmacies will no longer be able to sell cigarettes or e-cigarettes.” 62

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quickly, reported CNBC. The big-box retailer is piloting a program to use Udelv autonomous-driving vans to deliver fresh groceries in Surprise, Arizona. Walmart has already announced other pilot programs with self-driving car companies, including Ford and Alphabet's Waymo. The company plans to end this fiscal year with an online grocery delivery option in roughly 100 metropolitan areas, reaching more than 40 percent of U.S. households. For 2019, it plans to add that to another 800 stores.

NYC Pharmacies Banned From Selling Cigarettes New York City pharmacies are no longer allowed to sell cigarettes or other tobacco products, reported the Associated Press. The ban, which kicked in on January 1, also includes businesses that contain pharmacies, such as supermarkets and bigbox stores. The city's health department said the change will affect about 500 pharmacies currently selling tobacco products. The new rules follow a ban on electronic cigarette sales at pharmacies that took effect in late August.

Franchisees Can Protect With E-Verify E-Verify is a United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) website that allows businesses to determine the eligibility of their employees, both U.S. or foreign citizens, to work in the United States. E-Verify, authorized by the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, allows employers to register, then electronically

confirm the employment eligibility of their employees. In the E-Verify process, employers create cases based on information taken from an employee’s Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. E-Verify then electronically compares that information to records available to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA). The employer usually receives a response within a few seconds either confirming the employee’s employment eligibility or indicating that the employee needs to take further action to complete the case. To use E-Verify for free, visit https://www.e-verify.gov.

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nal. Employees who qualify for the Sheetz College Tuition Reimbursement program will be offered a Lackawanna College Business Partners Scholarship. • Americans consumed nearly $386 billion of ready-to-eat snack foods last year, with the vast majority of those eaten between main meals; and snack food growth is happening at most dayparts with more use at meals and as meal replacements, according to the NPD Group’s Future of Snacking report. • Before Washington, D.C. starts enforcing its plastic straw ban in July, the city is sending inspectors to restaurants, stores and other eating establishments to educate retailers about the new law, reported the Washington Post. Failure to comply with the law could result in a fine of up to $800. • Over half of brands (54 percent) are already selling on Amazon today, and nearly threequarters (72 percent) of brands will be selling on the platform within the next five years, according to a new report by data continued on page 68

NEW CHIPS AHOY! HOT CHOCOLATE Chips Ahoy! Hot Chocolate, avail- limited-time exclusive products have able exclusively at 7-Eleven stores, cap- creative flavor profiles matching the flair tures the aroma of cookies baking in its of the dishes Morenstein creates on his newest hot beverage. The recipe for the YouTube “Epic Meal Time” food show. Suggested retail price for the Unrich hot chocolate was created to cured Bacon Jerky in a Bag taste like home-baked cookand Taco Beef Jerky in a ies fresh out of the oven. “SEI Senior Bag is $6.99 per bag. For a limited time, a VP Alicia Howell With 7 million subsmall cup of Chips has been named to scribers, Epic Meal Ahoy! Hot Chocolate, the board of the Time was one of the first or any other hot beverNetwork of Execu- viral food sensations on age, is only $1 at particitive Women.” YouTube. The Canadian pating stores. Americans cooking show debuted in 2010 love cookies, consuming more and has had 1 billion views across than 7 billion—approximately 1,000 per person—each year, and they espe- social media. Morenstein and friends cially love chocolate chip cookies. 7- host weekly episodes. Morenstein creEleven stores are one of the country’s ated Super Snack Time to bring his crazy favorite places to purchase hot choco- food ideas to the masses. late, and the retailer’s exclusive on-trend flavors are one of the reasons why. This is the third time 7-Eleven has carried an exclusive hot chocolate flavored with a favorite Nabisco cookie.

'SUPER SNACK TIME' JERKY FLAVORS 7-Eleven stores recently introduced two new exclusive jerky flavors from Harley Morenstein's Super Snack Time company: Uncured Bacon Jerky in a Bag and Taco Beef Jerky in a Bag. The two

SEI SENIOR VP APPOINTED TO NEW BOARD SEI Senior Vice President and Chief Accounting Officer/Controller Alicia Howell has been named to the Network of Executive Women (NEW) board of directors. Her appointment was effective January 1, 2019. NEW is a women's leadership organization aiming to create a community of leaders even more diverse than today. At 7-Eleven, Howell leads a team of 500 employees and is responsible for corporate and franchise accounting, financial reporting, shared services and internal control compliance for SEI and SEJ Asset Management Inc. As a member of the NEW board, Howell will work to shape the organiza-

tion's leadership development programs, research and insights, and advocacy while creating sustainable changes for women in retail, consumer goods, financial services and technology. “NEW is making a significant difference in people's lives by advocating for change and equality for traditionally underrepresented groups,” Howell said. “I'm honored to join this esteemed group, and look forward to continuing their important work to foster more inclusive and authentic collaboration across corporate America.”

53-CENT DEALS BIG GAME WEEKEND 7-Eleven stores nationwide offered special deals to users of its 7NOW delivery app over the Big Game weekend. From Friday, February 1 through Sunday, February 3, customers were able to order $3.00 whole pizzas delivered straight to their doors. Additionally, customers could order alcohol delivery—including beer, wine and liquor—across 18 markets through the 7NOW app. Right after the game and all day long on Monday, February 4, shoppers were able to use the 7NOW app to place on-demand orders for anything they need to recover from the weekend, and several of the hundreds of available items cost just 53 cents ($0.53) each. The next-day offer was available on select beverages, snacks, candy, pain reliever, tissues and more. Shoppers were able to check out the full selection in the app after the game.

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New Pringles Wavy—Thick Wavy Texture and Bold Crunch

and chocolate the most delicious flavor combination of all time and, after trying this new cookie, it would be hard to disagree. Discover how the oh-so-tempting Fudge Covered Nutter Butter Cookie can please everyone from cookie fans, to peanut butter buffs, to chocolate devotees—and watch your snack sales grow.

Introducing the latest, exciting addition to the successful Pringles portfolio: Pringles Wavy, a new twist on the Pringles crisps your customers crave. New Pringles Wavy boasts a thick, wavy texture to deliver a bold crunch and big flavor in every bite. The complex flavors are Fudge Covered Nutter Butter Cookies in 2.63 ounce packs. inspired by grilling and include Fire Roasted Jalapeño and Applewood Smoked Cheddar. Attract Trend-Setting Consumers: Allday snackers are always on the hunt for something new and different in both life and the food they choose. Salty snacks have become a part of their daily routine, and they especially enjoy sharing their disMerix Pharmaceutical Corp. announces its coveries with friends. New Pringles Wavy RELEEV 1 Day Cold Sore Symptom Treatment is fills the bill with its unique crunch and big, now available for convenience stores, including bold flavors salty snackers can’t resist. 7-Eleven. RELEEV 1 Day Cold Sore Symptom Innovation Pops Growth: Kellogg Treatment provides fast relief to those with seeks to expand the Pringles footprint by painful cold sores. providing new, on-trend flavors and texRELEEV contains Viracea, a proprietary New Pringles Wavy expands the tures in the iconic, resealable Pringles botanical extract formula. Merix’ patented EchiPringles portfolio with Fire RELEEV provides fast can, perfect for anytime snacking. Retailnacea Extract with the FDA approved OTC anRoasted Jalapeño and and complete cold ers will benefit from offering a new, distimicrobial antiseptic Benzalkonium Chloride is Applewood Smoked Cheddar. sore symptom and tinctive snack that appeals to Pringles continued next page fever blister relief. fans and foodies alike—and the 46-count shipper display is a great way to grab consumers’ attention. Ride the flavor wave and stock up on the new Pringles Wavy in both irresistible flavors, today. Don’t miss the opportunity to create salty snacking excitement An uncharted flavor frontier is hitting the candy aisle with the new Cookies & Creme Oreo that pops with fun in every iconic can—and see for yourChocolate Candy Bar. Available in two sizes—Standard and King Size—the Cookies & Creme Oreo self why Now is a good time to partner with Kellogg’s.

RELEEV 1 Day Cold Sore Treatment Now In C-Stores


Indulgent Fudge Covered Nutter Butter Cookies Introducing Fudge Covered Nutter Butter Cookies, the ultimate indulgent treat. The classic sandwich cookie with real peanut butter crème filling is made even better with a generous dip of rich chocolate fudge. Available in convenient, grab and go 2.63 ounce packs, your shoppers will go nuts for them. Already considered the peanut butter lover’s cookie, Nutter Butter enrobed cookies are covered in delicious, melt-in-your-mouth fudge and will appeal to chocolate lovers, too. Millions of consumers consider peanut butter 66

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Chocolate Candy Bar combines smooth vanilla creme, rich white chocolate and real Oreo cookie bits for a pleasing crunch in every bite. Real Oreo crunchy cookie pieces + smooth vanilla creme wrapped in white chocolate candy delivers a Cookies & Creme experience like no other on the market. The concept scores high across age categories, with 64 percent of consumers strongly agreeing kids will like the candy bar, and 40 percent agreeing adults will too (BASES 2017 Quick Predict). Plus, this item will drive excitement among your chocolate-loving customers: 34 percent of sales are expected to be incremental to the Chocolate category. With built-in buzz thanks to the iconic Oreo brand name, Cookies & Creme Oreo Chocolate Candy Bar is a winning way to drive sales and profit. Push the boundaries of snack time with this new twist on the classic chocolate candy bar.

New Cookies & Creme Oreo Chocolate Candy Bar appeals to adults as well as kids.

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the fastest healing treatment for cold sores known. In a double blind, placebo controlled, clinical trial, Viracea was found to heal cold sores in as little as one day. In laboratory testing Viracea was found to be highly active against HSV-1 and HSV-2. RELEEV eases the pain of cold sores, relieves other symptoms, and stops skin irritation after application. Those with cold sore symptoms using RELEEV can expect fast and complete cold sore symptom and fever blister relief. Easily used at home or on the go, RELEEV provides convenient relief for cold sore sufferers anywhere.

Swisher Sweets Limited Edition Sweet Cream Cigarillos

Swisher Sweets Sweet Cream is sure to quickly become a customer favorite.

Swisher Sweets Limited Edition Sweet Cream cigarillos provide a desirable blend of cream and vanilla for the ultimate sweet taste. Available for a limited time in a resealable 2count pouch with the “Sealed Fresh” guarantee, Swisher Sweets Sweet Cream is ready for shipment to stores nationwide. It is offered in “2 for 99¢,” “Save on 2,” and “2 for $1.49” options. This product is also available in a “2 for $1.29” option for selected markets. Swisher Sweets Sweet Cream is sure to quickly become a customer fa-

vorite and is available only while supplies last. To place an order, contact your Swisher representative at 1-800-874-9720. For more information, visit https://swisher.com/cigars-cigarillos/.

Super Premium Serendipity Pints New York-based Serendipity Brands debuts the Serendipity Ice Cream line of super premium pints. The brand is based on the iconic Serendipity 3 restaurant in New York City, Five flavors of Serendipity Ice Cream super premium pints have been approved as part of home to the $1,000 Golden the national plan-o-gram. Opulence Sundae. For the first time the famous frozen ice cream desserts from the restaurant menu are available for take-home enjoyment. Five flavors have been approved and are part of the national plan-o-gram: • Frrrozen Hot Chocolate (hot chocolate flavored ice cream with whipped cream swirl and chocolate shavings SLIN 190783) • Humble Pie (peanut butter ice cream, with peanut butter swirls, chocolate chunks and graham pieces SLIN 190859) • Forbidden Broadway Sundae (chocolate flavored ice cream with brownie pieces and fudge swirls SLIN 190611) • Strawberry Fields (strawberry ice cream with strawberries and cheesecake pieces SLIN 190942) • Birthday Cake (cake flavored ice cream with swirls of pink frosting, cake pieces and sprinkles SLIN 190717) The line is supported by a national social media campaign. Each 16 ounce pint has a suggested retail of $5.99 to $6.99.


American Licorice Company announces a brand refresh, unveiling a new packaging design for its popular Sour Punch product line. Introducing a brighter, more modern look, the refresh arrives on the heels of the recently announced brand purpose, “Embrace Your Punch.”This is a message about self-love and appreciating the differences in others with the goal of encouraging mutual respect and spreading kindness to make a difference in people’s lives. The brand refresh, which includes the message “Love what makes you unique, appreciate what makes others different” on each package encompasses the shared goal of American Licorice Company to invest in the happiness of employees and consumers alike.

Sour Punch’s new packaging expands on the brand’s purpose, “Embrace Your Punch.”

Working alongside the branding and design experts at Kaleidoscope, the new packaging was an inclusive process that enlisted a panel of Sour Punch consumers to weigh in on the creative elements. The new packaging will be available in stores and online beginning February 2019, phasing out current packaging later in 2019.

Optimum Nutrition Snacks Exceed Expectations Your customers are looking for convenience store snacks to support their active lifestyle. Exceed their expectations and boost store sales with Optimum Nutrition’s high-quality ON protein snacks. Optimum Nutrition’s extensive line of convenient grab-and-go continued on page 68

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continued from page 67 continued from page 62

protein snacks includes: • Cake Bites—deliciously whipped 3-cake servings packed with 20 grams of protein and tempting flavor. • Protein Almonds—delectably dipped in a whey-enriched confection coating that provides 2X the protein of regular coated almonds (based on USDA data). • Protein Crisp Bars—a delicious crunchy snack Fulfill consumer demands and fuel your store’s sales growth by ordering the full ON protein snack portfolio. packed with 20 grams of protein that’s sure to satisfy sweet tooth cravings. • Protein Wafers—a deliciously light and airy layered snack providing 15 grams of protein per 2-wafer serving. Fulfill consumer demands for protein variety and fuel your store’s sales growth by ordering the full ON protein snack portfolio today.

New Zapps Potato Chips Portfolio & Shipper Zapps recently launched a line of 2-ounce hole-punched potato Zapps introduces four flavors chips in an 8-count caddy and 48-count and easy to display 8-count shipper. Zapps Potato Chips come in a convenient caddy and 48-count shipper.

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SWEDISH MATCH NIGHT OWL PIPE TOBACCO CIGARS Swedish Match, the makers of White Owl cigars, announced the nationwide launch of Night Owl, an innovative pipe tobacco cigar that is creating excitement in the category. From the makers of the highly successful White Owl brand, the newest entry, Night Owl tipped pipe tobacco cigars, are crafted with the finest tobacco and packaged in the unique resealable FoilFresh pouch, which guarantees freshness. The new packaging has been tested by consumers and is preferred over the package box design that competitors offer by consumers, according to a Swedish Match consumer study. Night Owl pipe tobacco cigars are now available nationwide in four flavor options, including Classic, Wine, Tropical and Black Cherry. The Night Owl flavor profiles selected for the launch are aligned with the top segment flavors, and were tested and approved by consumers, who rated the flavors as being on par Night Owl pipe tobacco cigars are now available nationwide in four flavor options—Classic, Wine, with successful White Owl cigar flavors, also Tropical and Black Cherry. produced by Swedish Match. 68

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company Feedvisor on the evolving relationships between brands and Amazon. • New research from Mintel reveals that Americans prefer to jump-start their healthy lifestyles through exercise. Consumers are more likely to say that exercising is more worth the effort than eating healthy (48 percent vs. 31 percent eating healthy). • Colorado’s unusual alcohol rules changed on January 1, allowing grocery and convenience stores to sell full-strength beer, reported the Denver Post. As a result, grocery and convenience stores are likely to increase their beer orders by a cumulative 30 percent in 2019, the article states. • In the three states with the longest history of legalized recreational marijuana sales—Colorado, Washington state and Oregon—there is no evidence that legalization has had any impact on total alcohol sales, according to a new study by the Distilled Spirits Council. • In 2016, 95.8 percent of stores in New York refused to sell tobacco to undercover minors working with health inspectors—the highest compliance rate since the inspection program began in 1998, reveals a new report by the New York State Department of Health. • Country music legend Willie Nelson recently introduced a hemp-infused coffee bean as the first product in his health and wellness line,“Willie’s Remedy,” reported Austin news station KXAN. The non-intoxicating coffee is infused with “certified organic, full-spectrum hemp oil grown in Colorado” and the coffee is sourced from smallholder farms in Colombia. • One Step Vending Corp. recently announced that it has signed agreements for the placement of CBD vending machines— KOSK’s branded “CBD Kiosks”—in multiple convenience stores located throughout strategic areas of New York continued next page

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grad-and-go size, and are kosher and gluten free. The 8-count caddy is an easy to display countertop box and contains fan favorite flavors Voodoo, Voodoo Heat, Cajun Dill Gator, and Tator Cajun Crawtator. The 48-count shipper contains 24 bags of each Voodoo Chips and Voodoo Heat Chips.

White Castle Adds Turkey & Cheddar Slider White Castle recently announced the addition of the new Turkey Slider to its expanding retail product line. The new Turkey Slider, made with a Butterball all natural white meat turkey patty, topped with smoked cheddar cheese and served on a White Castle signature bun, will begin to arrive on shelves in March and adds to a diverse lineup of retail offerings available at grocery, mass, dollar and convenience stores across the U.S. White Castle’s retail lineup has grown beyond hamburgers and White Castle’s new Turkey Slider cheeseburgers to include Chicken Slidfeatures a Butterball all-white ers, Veggie Sliders, Black Bean Sliders meat turkey patty. and four variations of breakfast sliders. The Turkey Sliders are available in packs of four and can be easily microwaved and enjoyed in minutes.

New 7-Eleven Organic Cold-Pressed Juices 7-Eleven recently introduced new additions to its 7-Select GO!Smart organic cold-pressed juice—this time in 100 percent single juice varieties. While orange and apple juice can be found anywhere, the new 7-Select GO!Smart 100 percent fruit juices are unusual items that aren't typically

found in every grocery and convenience store. The three new varieties are: • Pomegranate—Each bottle is made using 2.5 pomegranates, a powerful source of antioxidants. Unlike most pomegranate juices in the market place, 7-Eleven's is cold-pressed, organic and only sourced from pink pomegranates. • Melon—This honeydew melon New 7-Select GO!Smart organic cold-pressed juice flavors Pomegranate, variety is a good source of VitaMelon and Blackberry. mins A, B and C. • Blackberry—Each bottle contains the juice of 165 Dewberry blackberries, a good source of Vitamin C and a powerful antioxidant. The new single fruit juice varieties are sold in 11.2-ounce glass bottles and contain one serving per bottle. Suggested retail price is $2.99, but for a limited time, thirsty customers can get two for $5. The current award-winning 7-Select GO!Smart line of organic cold-pressed juices are fruit and vegetable blends. Within two months of launching, sales of three of the four varieties are in the top 10 of juices sold in 20ounce or smaller juice category. continued from page 68

City. • Foodservice company Sodexo Inc. and Starship Technologies recently announced the launch of robot food delivery services at George Mason University’s Fairfax, VA campus. Students, faculty and staff can use the Starship Deliveries app to order food and drinks to be delivered anywhere on campus, within minutes. • Nestlé is planning to introduce a plant-based, meat-free burger in the spring called the Incredible Burger, as the company aims to capitalize on the growing appetite for plant-based products, reported FoodBev.com.

Advertiser’s Index

Yowie Surprise Rescue Series includes one of 26 collectible endangered species animals.

American Licorice.............55

Dean Foods ......................34

JUUL .........................cover 4


Serendipity Ice Cream......63

Anheuser Busch ...............10

Diageo Guinness ..............15


Mondelez ...........................5

Simply Orange................8-9

Aon Risk Services .............27

Florida One Wholesale.....58

Li'l Debbie ........................18

Muscle Pharm..................61

Blue Bunny/Wells ............19


Logic Ecig....................36-37

National Confectioners ....64

Swisher International........... ..............................3, cover 3

Bug Juice .........................30

Hormel .............................23

Mars Ice Cream.................21

Pepsi Quaker.........6,7,32,47

Tell Industries...................48

Coca-Cola..................cover 2

Inventure Foods ...............57


Premier Nutrition.............51

Whitewave Foods ............40

Cookies United .................39

Johnson & Johnson ....12-13




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foa events Eastern Virginia FOA Delaware Valley FOA Annual Golf Tournament Trade Show Sleepy Hole Golf Club Suffolk, Virginia April 15, 2019 Phone: 757-247-6152

Caesars Palace Atlantic City Atlantic City, New Jersey April 25, 2019 Phone: 215-771-6178

Eastern Virginia FOA Annual Trade Show

Southern California FOA Annual Trade Show

Wyndham Garden Norfolk Downtown Norfolk, Virginia April 16, 2019 Phone: 757-247-6152

FOA Of Southern Nevada Trade Show Alexis Park Resort Las Vegas, Nevada April 17, 2019 Phone: 702-646-8383

FOA Of Southern Nevada Golf Tournament

Pasadena Convention Center Pasadena, California May 15, 2019 Phone: 818-203-2527

South Texas FOA Trade Show Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort & Spa San Antonio, Texas May 23, 2019 Phone: 702-249-3301

South Texas FOA Golf Tournament

Rhodes Ranch Golf Club Las Vegas, Nevada April 18, 2019 Phone: 702-646-8383

Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort & Spa San Antonio, Texas May 24, 2019 Phone: 702-249-3301

Chesapeake Division FOA Trade Show

San Diego FOA Golf Tournament

Waterford at Springfield Springfield, Virginia April 18,2019 Phone: 571-344-2781

Riverwalk Golf Club San Diego, California June 5, 2019 Phone: 619-733-5917

Texas FOA Trade Show

7-Eleven FOAC Charity Golf Outing

Four Points by Sheraton Dallas Fort Worth Airport North Coppell, Texas April 23, 2019 Phone: 214-208-0992

Texas FOA Golf Tournament Cowboys Golf Club Grapevine, Texas April 24, 2019 Phone: 817-797-4911

San Francisco/ Monterey Bay FOA Trade Show Paradise Ballrooms Fremont, California April 24, 2019 Phone: 510-693-1492 70

(Venue TBD) June 17, 2019 Phone: 847-343-7777

7-Eleven FOAC Annual Trade Show Schaumburg Convention Center Schaumburg, Illinois June 18, 2019 Phone: 847-343-7777

Southern California FOA Annual Charity Golf Tournament Industry Hills Golf Club at Pacific Palms Resort City of Industry, California June 19, 2019 Phone: 818-203-2527

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Board meetings National Coalition Board of Directors Meeting

National Coalition Board of Directors Meeting Ceasars Atlantic City Atlantic City, New Jersey October 23-24, 2019

National Coalition Board of Directors Meeting

The Westin Alexandria Alexandria, Virginia May 17-18, 2019

Long Beach Convention Center Renaissance Long Beach Hotel The Westin Long Beach Long Beach, California August 4-5, 2019

National Coalition Board of Directors Meeting

NCASEF 44th Annual Convention & Trade Show

Renaissance Long Beach Hotel Long Beach, California August 4-5, 2019

Long Beach Convention Center Renaissance Long Beach Hotel The Westin Long Beach Long Beach, California August 5-8, 2019

National Coalition Affiliate Meeting Ceasar's Atlantic City Atlantic City, New Jersey October 21-22, 2019

FOA Of Greater LA Golf Invitational

San Diego FOA Vendor Appreciation Day

Black Gold Golf Club Yorba Linda, California June 19, 2019 Phone: 909-822-4122

Alesmith Brewing Company San Diego, California October 3, 2019 Phone: 619-733-5917

7-Eleven FOAC

7-Eleven FOAC

Annual Picnic Trade Show & Cook County Forest Preserve, Grove 29 Holiday Party Cook County, Illinois Holiday Inn Skokie July 27, 2019 Skokie, Illinois Phone: 847-343-7777 November 14, 2019 Phone: 847-343-7777

San Diego FOA Day At The Races

Del Mar Thoroughbred Club Del Mar, California August 23, 2019 Phone: 619-733-5917

San Diego FOA Christmas Party Hilton San Diego Del Mar San Diego, California December 14, 2019 Phone: 619-733-5917

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