Spring Sales Forecasts Rise
Michigan retailers boosted their threemonth sales forecasts after posting improved sales in February. Page 3
Retailer Runs for Congress
Traverse City retailer and former state senator Jason Allen is seeking the Republican nomination in the 1st Congressional District. Page 4
Parental Leave Policy
The birth of your own child is a good reminder to update your organization’s parental leave policies. Page 9
® April 2016 Vol. 41 No. 2
Legislators start work to prevent locals from regulating plastic bags Legislation to prevent local governments from outlawing or regulating stores’ use of plastic bags and other containers has been introduced in the Michigan Senate. Senate Bill 853 would pre-empt counties, cities, townships and villages from adopting ordinances banning stores’ use or sale of “auxiliary containers.” It defines an auxiliary container as a bag, cup, bottle or other packaging, whether reusable or single-use, that is made of cloth, paper, plastic, cardboard, corrugated material, aluminum, glass, postconsumer recycled material or similar material and is designed for transporting, consuming or protecting merchandise, food or beverages. It also would prohibit local governments from requiring a fee on the containers. The bill follows the lead of other states that have taken action to prevent a patchwork of local rules that place a burden on retailers and consumers. MRA supports the new legislation, said William J. Hallan, executive vice president, chief operating officer and general counsel. “The legislation is consistent with actions taken by other states and with the local pre-emption law passed by Michigan lawmakers last year dealing with local wages and benefits,” Hallan said. “Although the legislation does not prevent a possible statewide ban on plastic bags in the future, it does ensure that regulations are not adopted haphazardly by local governments throughout the state. Uniformity is import for Michigan businesses. “Subjecting business owners to a patchwork of different local regulaContinued on page 7
The official publication of Michigan Retailers Association
Buy Nearby expanding to weekend Michigan Retailers Association’s Buy Nearby campaign is planning to double the size of its signature fall event by expanding it from the first Saturday to the entire first weekend in October.
The annual celebration of the yearround campaign to encourage local shopping in Michigan will also get a new, brand-friendly name: I Buy Nearby Weekend. The changes were recommended
by the MRA Board of Directors to enable more Michiganders to participate in Buy Nearby. Participation demonstrates their commitment to their communities by shopping at retail businesses near where they live, work, vacation or visit, said MRA President and CEO James P. Hallan. “Our organization is proud of the success Buy Nearby is having and wants to keep it growing,” Hallan said. “We want more shoppers to hear the Buy Nearby message and make a personal commitment to support their local communities and Michigan’s economy. They do that by buying from businesses that have invested in Michigan and are creating Continued on page 5
Malls beating web as ‘Earth-friendly’
Americana John Foss built the 120-year-old bakery, and his descendants owned
Concerned about the impact consumer shopping makes on the environment? A new report finds shopping in a mall makes 7 percent less impact on the environment than shopping online. “…[M]all shopping represents a better sustainability performance over online shopping,” the report concludes. “Furthermore, in an age when consumers are increasingly demanding same-day or fast delivery, which requires more resources such as fuel to fulfill, the negative impact of online shopping is likely to worsen even more.” It adds, “Put simply, the choices customers make regarding how they buy products and how they utilize product return options have clear impacts on the environmental footprint.” The study was conducted by Simon, a global leader in retail real estate ownership, management and development, and Deloitte Consulting, a global business consulting firm. Malls came out on top environmentally because:
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The cops of Cops & Doughnuts: (from left) “Bubba” Alan White, “Grasshopper” David Saad, “Beaver” John Pedjac, “Junior” Richard Ward, “Midge” Dwayne Miedzianowski, “Dogman” Brian Gregory, “Bulldog” Greg Kolhoff, “Ryno” Greg Rynearson, “Squirt” Jeremy McGraw.
Cops rescue old bakery, build national following by Doug Henze
It was 2009 – in the depths of the Great Recession – and Clare’s historic downtown was going dark. Half a dozen businesses had failed. Even the city bakery, operating continuously since 1896, was at risk of closing. Enter the town’s nine-officer police force, which pulled off a different type of rescue. Pooling their paychecks, they transformed
a struggling bakery with less than $100,000 in annual revenue into Cops & Doughnuts, which had $3 million in sales last year. Through media attention and highway billboards, the shop – named by one of the officers’ young sons – has built a national reputation and now ships products across the country. “We just didn’t want to see the bakery die,” recalled Greg Rynearson, company president. “The bakery was the second-oldest business. The only one that beat it was the grain elevator.”
Jobless rate, officials’ ethics both keep sinking by James P. Hallan, MRA President and Chief Executive Officer Musings as we move into Spring … Unemployment We should all take a moment to clink our glasses and toast our state’s economic success. Michigan’s unemployment rate has fallen to 4.9%, the lowest since 2001 and back even with the national rate. That’s a far cry from the 14.9% recorded in June 2009, Michigan’s worst during the Great Recession. Ethics In my many years in Lansing, I’ve never seen anything like the sad events of today. Within the last couple of weeks, we’ve seen two House of Representatives members charged with felonies, a state senator sentenced for committing a felony, and the long-time Ingham County prosecutor charged with 14 misdemeanors and a felony for soliciting and enticing prostitution. No wonder public confidence in elected officials is at an all-time low. Unfortunately, the acts of a few cloud the good deeds of many. Retailers Insurance Company Thanks to many of you, Retailers Insurance Company just closed the books on another profitable year while enjoying sales growth of 16 percent. Not bad for a little Michiganbased company that competes with national players. New Babies The MRA family of employees’ families has two recent additions, both boys. Laura Schilling, one of our talented insurance underwriters, and her husband, Brian, welcomed their first child into the world eight weeks ago. This past weekend, my son, Bill, and his wife, Michelle, welcomed their third child. In case anyone is counting, Beth and I now have five grandchildren – three girls and two boys. They keep us young at heart. Website We will soon unveil a new, more user-friendly website that will make navigation easier for you. While the current version of retailers.com is really not that old, it’s time for a fresh look and technology update. Credit Card Processing Most of you participate in our widely successful bankcard program. I’m
pleased to report that our processing volume is up an incredible 9% since last July 1. We’re on track to process over $1.2 billion in members’ customer transactions this fiscal year. Continued growth enables MRA to keep rates and fees among the lowest in the nation for members. Legislative Work In 2015 MRA studied 1,890 legislative bills that were introduced, 194 of which would directly impact retail. Thirty-four of those were signed into law, while the other 160 continued their journey through the legislative process into 2016. Our legislative team also participated in seven leg-
islative issue workgroups, met with lawmakers 140 times and testified at 10 legislative hearings while attending another 62 committee meetings. We also wrote and distributed 17 Government Affairs News Updates. If you’re not receiving an update via email, please contact Director Amy Drumm at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will add you to the list. Love the Weather Forsythias are about to bloom and tulips will soon be sprouting. That means golf is around the corner. In my world, that’s a nice thing, though I wonder how many yards off the tee I will lose this year.
Board of Directors: Dan Marshall
Chair Marshall Music Company, Lansing
James P. Hallan
President and CEO Michigan Retailers Association
Orin Mazzoni, Jr.
Vice Chair Orin Jewelers, Garden City
Peter R. Sobelton Treasurer Birmingham
William J. Hallan
Secretary Michigan Retailers Association
Past Chair Ideation, Ann Arbor
Brian Ducharme AT&T
Becky Beauchine Kulka
Becky Beauchine Kulka Diamonds and Fine Jewelry, Okemos
Credit Card Group
New rep dishes up help for members
Brandon Tire & Auto Service Center, Ortonville
MarianChelize Hosking is MRA’s new customer service representative, assisting members on the phone in a timely manner with their credit card proHosking cessing accounts. “I always try to speak with an enthusiastic tone of voice and provide reassurance to those who are concerned about any aspect of their processing,” she said. “I feel great working here at MRA. My teammates provide me with significant support, which gives me additional confidence.” She said she enjoys helping members learn and master the new technologies – including chip card terminals, virtual terminals, smartphone processing and Apple Pay – and building relationships with the members she assists. Prior to joining MRA, Hosking was a senior customer service representative with Visa International Inc. in Florida, where she was chiefly responsible for all reward programs escalations. She is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business management, with a minor in human resources, online at the Florida Institute of Technology University.
Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island
Caribbean Childhood A daughter of the Caribbean, Hosking is adjusting valiantly to Michigan’s colder climate.
“I was born in Miami, but I was raised in the U.S. Virgin Islands. I was so used to the sea, sand and salt that my first Michigan winter almost froze me over – and the locals say it was mild,” she said. “My mother was born and raised on St. Croix and my father in the Dominican Republic. I was raised in the outdoors and enjoyed nature, as I do today. However, my outdoors on St. Croix included being at the beach as much as possible, and hiking around the island when not at the beach.” She resides in Lansing with her husband, Mario, and their two young girls “who are so energetic and social that you can certainly be entertained with their silliness.” Her husband was born and raised in Lansing. They decided to move the family north, she said, to experience the four seasons and slow down from the fast-paced life in Miami. Nature walks, especially at Woldumar Nature Center in Lansing, are among her chief hobbies now. She enjoys “all activities that have to do with water, especially swimming and fishing.” She enjoys sport shooting, and there’s also a lot of cooking. “I love to cook as much as I love to eat. Oh, eating is such a delight! And my creations really ‘feed’ into the joy of it,” she laughs. Given her Caribbean background, she says, she’s “a sucker for good, authentic food, and in the Caribbean there is much variety to keep me going. I can see myself opening my own restaurant some day and offering my cultural dishes to the world!”
R.D. (Dan) Musser III Barb Stein
Great Northern Trading Co., Rockford
Joe Swanson Target Corp.
Meijer, Inc., Grand Rapids
D. Larry Sherman
Board Member Emeritus
Michigan Retailers Services, Inc. Board of Directors: Bo Brines Little Forks Outfitters, Midland
Golden Shoes, Traverse City
Potent Potables Project, Lansing
James P. Hallan Thomas B. Scott Publisher
Publication Office: 603 South Washington Avenue Lansing, MI 48933 517.372.5656 or 800.366.3699 Fax: 517.372.1303 www.Retailers.com www.RetailersInsurance.com www.BuyNearbyMI.com
Michigan Retailer (USPS 345-780, ISSN 0889-0439) is published in February, April, June, August, October and December for $20 per year by Michigan Retailers Association, 603 South Washington Ave., Lansing, MI 48933. Subscription fees are automatically included in the Michigan Retailers Asociation membership dues. Periodical postage paid at Lansing, Michigan. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to 603 South Washington Ave., Lansing, MI 48933. The Michigan Retailer may be recycled with other white office paper.
MICHIGAN RETAIL INDEX
Retail sales and forecasts rise ahead of spring revised to a 0.4 percent decrease. The February Index survey found 44 percent of Michigan retailers increased sales over the same month last year, while 34 percent recorded declines and 22 percent reported no change. The results create a seasonally adjusted performance index of 58.7, up from 47.1 in January. A year ago February the performance index stood at 41.7. The 100-point index gauges the per-
formance of the state’s overall retail industry, based on monthly surveys conducted by MRA and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s Detroit branch. Index values above 50 generally indicate positive activity; the higher the number, the stronger the activity. Looking forward, 68 percent of retailers expect sales during March– May to increase over the same period last year, while 8 percent project a de-
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crease and 24 percent no change. That puts the seasonally adjusted outlook index at 75.2, up from 70.5 in January. Complete results of this month’s Michigan Retail Index—including data on sales, inventory, prices, promotions and hiring—are available at www. retailers.com/mra/news/michiganretail-index.html. The website includes figures dating back to July 1994.
Michigan retailers boosted their three-month sales forecasts after posting improved sales in February, according to the latest Michigan Retail Index survey, a joint project of Michigan Retailers Association (MRA) and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. The survey found 92 percent project their sales will improve (68 percent) or be as good as (24 percent) the same period last year. That figure rose from 85 percent in January. In addition, 66 percent of retail businesses reported February sales were better (44 percent) or as good as (22 percent) the same month a year ago. That rose from 54 percent. “February’s performance ended a two-month decline and provided some positive momentum for the spring season,” said MRA President and CEO James P. Hallan. “Economic conditions – including the state unemployment rate dropping below 5 percent – remain strong and encourage consumers to make purchases more freely.” Across the U.S., core retail sales rose 0.2 percent in February, according to the U.S. Commerce Department. But overall sales, which include autos and gasoline, dipped 0.1 percent and January’s 0.2 percent increase was
Seasonally adjusted diffusion index, calculated by adding the percent of respondents indicating increased sales and half the percent indicating no change, and then seasonally adjusting the result using the U.S. Census Bureau’s X-11 Seasonal Adjustment procedure. Index values above 50 generally indicate an increase in activity, while values below 50 indicate a decrease.
Be sure to complete your online survey each month!
Men’s clothier tosses hat in ring for Congress by Doug Henze
Having grown up in his family’s clothing business in downtown Traverse City, Jason Allen understands the frustrations of small business owners. Clearing a path for them to succeed is one of the motivating factors sparking his second run for Congress. “We’ve got to come up with a better way to structure taxation,” said Allen, a Republican seeking to succeed the retiring U.S. Rep. Dan Benishek, who has served for three terms. “When you look at the countless
To dedicate himself fully to the current congressional run, Allen resigned his post as senior policy advisor for the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency in January. A former member of the Michigan National Guard, Allen had served in that position since being appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder in 2011. “Our objectives were to work to ensure more veterans got their benefits and that the process was streamlined and more efficient,” he said, adding that the agency wasn’t computerized
Jason and wife Suzanne with their children Meredith, Amanda and Mark.
hours we have to spend to fill out our taxes and what a challenge that is, something has to change.” Allen announced his run in mid-January at the family store – Captain’s Quarters – which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. He’ll be competing for the U.S. House seat, in Michigan’s 1st Congressional District, in an Aug. 2 primary with Republican state Sen. Tom Casperson. The winner will likely face either former Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Lon Johnson or former Kalkaska County Sheriff Jerry Cannon in the Nov. 8 general election. Narrow Loss Taking another shot at that seat has been on the 52-year-old Allen’s mind “a lot” since his near miss in the GOP primary six years ago, he said. “I had run for the U.S. Congress in 2010 and lost by 15 votes,” he said. At that time, Allen was finishing his second term in the Michigan Senate. He was a state senator from 2003 to 2010, following his tenure as a Michigan representative from 1999 to 2002.
when he started. “We got everybody on a computer.” Allen said the agency reduced the claims backlog from a year to nine months by standardizing and modernizing the application process. He said the agency also successfully pushed legislation that now allows veterans to get credit, in the private sector, for military trade experience. “If you were a carpenter in the U.S. Army, there was no way to allow for recognition of your skills within Michigan law to get certification,” Allen said. As a member of Congress, Allen’s objectives would be to make sure the nation has a strong defense, to develop a deficit-reduction strategy and to take care of veterans and seniors, he said. Small Business The needs of small business also would be on the front burner. “We need to create an environment where small entrepreneurs are able to create jobs, and we need to help streamline the regulatory process so entrepreneurs are able to thrive,” he said.
“We need to create an environment where small entrepreneurs are able to create jobs, and we need to help streamline the regulatory process so entrepreneurs are able to thrive.” “The best way is to streamline and flatten the tax code and reduce the regulatory hurdles that so many small businesses in our country struggle with.” One of Allen’s biggest challenges as a congressman would be addressing the needs of constituents in a 32-county district that runs from Iron River in the western Upper Peninsula to northern lower Michigan. “Running from Iron River to Ludington, the district and its challenges are so diverse,” he said. For example, Ludington business owners focus on tourism issues while people in Iron River are struggling with access to good-paying jobs, he said. Retail Lessons To be successful, Allen plans to draw on customer service lessons learned at Captain’s Quarters, a longtime MRA member. “ We h a v e s t r u g g l e d through the ups and downs of the Michigan economy and have been able to prosper,” Allen said. His father, Maurie, left Montgomery Ward in 1966 to start the men’s clothing business with partner Rich Provencher. They acquired
the former Sheffer’s, renaming the business Captain’s Quarters in the early 1970s. Maurie Allen bought out his partner in the mid-1980s. Now in his 70s, he still heads up the business, his son said. Jason Allen is a manager for the store, where the employee count fluctuates between eight and 10, depending on the season. “Those big holidays, we’re always there,” he said. “My daughters (Meredith, 16, and Amanda, 10) are the gift wrappers during the holiday season.” Allen’s mom, Betsy, is a buyer and helps out at Christmas. His wife, Suzanne, a Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan executive and former chief of staff for several Michigan legislative leaders, is not active in the store. A commitment to the customer has kept Captain’s Quarters afloat for half a century, Allen said. “We’ve got customers we fitted for their Cub Scout uniforms, high school prom, their wedding and their professional suits,” he said. “As soon as tourist season comes, we’ve got customers who come every year as part of their visit to northern Michigan. We all work very hard to take care of our customers and sell a good, quality product.” Doug Henze is a freelance writer and former business reporter for the Oakland Press in Pontiac.
Jason with parents Betsy and Maurie Allen in their Traverse City store, Captain’s Quarters, a longtime MRA member.
Buy Nearby expanding to weekend event this October
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jobs and opportunity in this state.” Fourth Year Buy Nearby is beginning its fourth year. The campaign encourages all Michigan residents to explore the great shopping in Michigan and to understand the economic importance to their communities and their state by buying from businesses located in Michigan. Economic research commissioned by MRA shows that if everyone in Michigan practiced Buy Nearby, the state economy would grow by more than $9 billion and create nearly 75,000 new jobs of all types. The campaign runs year-round and encourages Michiganders to buy nearby all year. Borrowing a page from the American Express Small Business Saturday project, Buy Nearby holds an annual celebration in October to focus greater attention on the overall campaign. The one-day celebration was called Get Caught Blue-Handed Day to encourage shoppers to go out with friends and relatives and enjoy “getting caught” supporting their communities and businesses in Michigan. Expanding the event to the full weekend gives more residents the opportunity to plan a fun shopping event instead of having to work it into a busy autumn Saturday full of football and other important activities, Hallan said. In addition, changing the name to I Buy Nearby Weekend draws a stronger connection to the campaign and the shopper’s personal commitment to Michigan’s future, said Hallan. All retailers are encouraged to offer special merchandise and promotions to make the October 1& 2 weekend even more attractive to shoppers. MRA again this year will offer free materials, such as posters and merchandise tags, to retailers to display leading up to and during the weekend. Buy Nearby Guy The campaign mascot, Buy Nearby Guy, makes community visits throughout the year as a highly visible reminder to Michiganders to buy nearby. Last year he made 91 visits across the state and logged more than 8,000 miles. The mascot made his first appearance of 2016 at the Lansing Gift Show and posed for photos with dozens of retailers attending the show. Communities and retailers can request a visit by completing an online form on the BuyNearbyMI.com website.
Buy Nearby Guy was back in the action for 2016 at the Lansing Gift Show in early March, posing for photos with plenty of retailers, vendors, children and a group of Fashion/Merchandising majors from Eastern Michigan University. Photos by Gary Shrewsbury and Dave Trumpie
Ice cream shop hopes to scoop up world record House of Flavors in Ludington is seeking thousands of ice cream lovers this summer to help it break the world record for longest ice cream dessert. The sundae that the ice cream shop builds for the June 11 event will include more than 12,750 scoops of ice cream and stretch in a line across eight blocks of the city. The current record is reportedly held by the city of Aukland, New Zealand, where dessert lovers consumed an ice cream confection stretching 1,957 feet. To qualify for the record, the dessert must be one continuous food item and entirely edible, UpNorthLive.com reports. House of Flavors says it will need more than 6,000 people to eat two scoops of ice cream each. They should report for duty by 5 p.m. so they are in place to dig in an hour later. It also needs 1,000 volunteers – 500 to help make the sundae and another 500 to set up the ice cream trough, pass out bowls and spoons, and help tear down and clean up after the event. Sixteen block captains are needed,
one on each side of the eight blocks. Captains are encouraged to create a block party atmosphere in their area, including choosing a theme and other elements of a successful party. Cheese Lady founder Kathleen Ringer has sold the original Muskegon piece of the six-store retail business to longtime employee Shelley Lewis. Ringer announced in late Januar y she would be taking a step back from day-to-day operations to concentrate more on advising the other franchises and the company as a whole, according to MLive.com. The sale of the Muskegon store was effective January 1. The other stores are located in Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Traverse City, Farmington Hills and Rochester. Ringer started the business in 2004 after a trip to France, where the farmers markets inspired her to sell
cheeses to the public back home. She purchased a small Muskegon store in 2007 and within 15 months moved to a larger location. The Rochester store
opened at the start of this year. Meijer, Inc., will spend $400 million to build nine new Meijer Supercenters and undertake 32 remodeling projects, the Walker-based company announced in early March. The new stores will be constructed in Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin, according to MLive.com. Michigan has two of the new supercenter locations, in Sturgis and Flat Rock. Indiana, Wisconsin and Illinois also are sites for two new supercenters, while Kentucky will see one new supercenter. Remodels in Michigan include 12 stores in Southeast Michigan – seven in Metro Detroit – and two in West Michigan. The company said it plans to hire 3,000 new employees for the nine new stores. Meijer currently operates 224 locations in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin. A Millennial Hiring Fair will be held 3-6 p.m. on April 26 in Grand Rapids. Employers are encouraged to participate and recruit young adults aged 16-30 for full-time, part-time and seasonal jobs, as well as internships and apprenticeships. The event is sponsored by West Michigan Works! and will be held at Tooling Systems Group, 555 Plymouth Avenue NE. Illinois-based Fresh Thyme Farmers Market has opened its fifth Michigan store – its first in Grand Rapids – and plans to open locations in Farmington and Ypsilanti later this year. It also has its corporate eyes on opening stores in Canton and Kalamazoo this year, while on its way to 20-35 stores in
Michigan over the next 10-15 years, according to MLive.com. The Midwest grocer opened three stores in Metro Detroit and another in East Lansing last year. CEO Chris Sherrell told MLive he expects to open one or two more stores in the Grand Rapids area in the next several years. Principle Food & Drink in downtown Kalamazoo captured the grand prize at the 2nd Annual Full Contact Cocktails Competition held recently at New Holland Brewing Company’s pub and restaurant in downtown Holland. Mixologists from across Michigan competed for the prize of travel and lodging to “Tales of the Cocktail,” a nationally acclaimed competition in New Orleans. Beverage manager Tyler Kershek accepted the award. Principle Food & Drink opened in August 2015 and focuses on craft, technique and local sourcing. Salt of the Ear th in Fennville won the award last year. Both businesses are backed by chef and co-owner Matthew Pietsch, general manager Casey Longton and their business partners Robert Nicol and Mark Schrock. Detroit’s Midtown area is home to several new retailers that have moved into JoyRide Detroit, a year-round, pop-up space. Crain’s Detroit Business listed the new retailers as: • TJ’s Sweet Repeats – Theria Jones offers vintage men’s and women’s clothing and accessories; • Purple Love – Brittany Chanel McKinnon offers fashion jewelry and accessories; • Artsy Fart – Alyssa Baron-Klask offers “art for the kid at heart,” including artwork, hand-dyed denim coats with patches, framed art prints, stitched patches and hand-blown glass “eyeball” necklaces; • Triopia – Caroline Kane and two artist friends offer stained glass terrariums, feathers and pendants, art prints, hand drawings and handmade scarves, blankets, bags, jewelry and rugs sourced from villages in India to support fair wages for impoverished local women; • Cass Organic – Jennifer Williamsen offers nontoxic, personal care products, hair care and other stock from her former business in the building, Curl Up & Dye.
Work starts to pre-empt bag bans Continued from page 1
tions is confusing, inefficient and more expensive for retailers and consumers alike.” The legislation was introduced on March 15 by Sen. Jim Stamas (RMidland) and cosponsored by Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake), Ken Horn (RFrankenmuth), Jack Brandenburg (R-Harrison Township) and Wayne Schmidt (R-Traverse City). People Problem While there are currently no local bag bans in Michigan, at least two counties are considering taking such action. Sarah Damm, sustainability coordinator for Muskegon County, told the publication Michigan Capitol Confidential that the county board is expected to take up an ordinance banning plastic bags in the next few months. County officials complain that the lightweight plastic bags often land in trees and shrubs and clog sanitary and stormwater sewers and drains. Besides being unsightly, they can clog pipes. David Peterson, owner of Plascon plastic manufacturing company in Traverse City, told the Traverse City Record Eagle he supports the bill. He contends littering is the fault of consumers who don’t recycle or dispose of trash properly, not business owners. “I know there’s a problem with bags, but it’s a people problem,” he said. Retailers Recycle Amy Drumm, MRA director of government affairs, said that among the
numerous plastic bag/container ordinances across the country, few have been successful in changing consumer behavior. Outright bans on single-use plastic bags have often resulted in consumers switching to use of thicker plastic bags or paper bags, she said. Both alternatives are more expensive for retailers and consumers, require more energy and water to produce and emit more global warming gasses, more acid rain emissions and end up producing more solid waste than single-use plastic bags. Drumm pointed out that retailers support efforts to promote recycling and reduce bag litter and have adopted policies to encourage consumers to make choices to protect the environment. Many retailers offer bins placed near store entrances to collect used plastic bags, and they sell reusable bags at or near cost. Grocers train employees to fill bags efficiently, due to their costs, and to ask customers if they need a bag for large items. These recycling efforts across the nation have increased plastic bag and plastic film recovery over the last decade, she said. “It’s important to note that the bill would allow retailers to continue voluntary recycling efforts while allowing customers a choice on how to transport their purchases,” she said. “Retailers will remain able to choose what kind or kinds of bags to offer to consumers.” The measure was referred to the Senate Commerce Committee. Cosponsor Schmidt is chair of the committee.
Malls beating web as ‘Earth-friendly’ Continued from page 1
• Customers travel to the mall in groups. The average group buys 4.5 products per trip. The greater number of people traveling together and buying a higher number of products per trip lowers the average fuel burned, and therefore the environmental impact, to buy each product. • Shoppers tend to return a greater number of products bought online versus when purchased at a brickand-mortar store. A third of online purchases are returned, compared to 7 percent of brick-and-mortar purchases. This increases significantly the impact of online returns. • Packaging used for the delivery of online orders, such as corrugated boxes, bubble wrap, etc.) has a greater overall environmental impact compared with the plastic or paper tote bags mall shoppers may use when buying or returning their purchases.
The study pointed out that malls generate five times more jobs than online shopping for the same value of sales. It also said each mall can generate anywhere between a few hundred-thousand to a hundredmillion dollars worth of sales and property tax in a year, depending on the size of the mall and amount of mall sales. The research was based on a model in which shoppers bought 14.3 million of the same four types of products in an average brick-andmortar mall as they did in an online store. It examined those four retail products’ journeys from their manufacturing to their end of life when shopped in a mall or online. The four products were: women’s tops, women’s shoes, coffeemakers and wine glasses. Greenhouse gas emissions served as the environmental measure.
RETAIL TECHNOLOGY NEWS
A card ‘by any other name’ would still run as Discover John Mayleben CPP, is MRA senior vice president technology and new product development and a national expert on electronic payment processing. He is the first person in Michigan and among the first in the nation to receive the Certified Payments Professional designation from the national Electronic Transactions Association. Apologies to William Shakespeare for that headline. But it makes a dramatic point that can have your business coming up roses. In case you aren’t aware, as a merchant who is able to accept Discover card transactions (all of our merchants are set up to accept Discover cards), there are many international cards that can also be processed without hassle in your credit card terminal. In the industry, we refer to it as “running on the Discover rail.” Discover has been growing its relationships with card issuers in other countries. They include China’s UnionPay, Japan’s JCB, Diners Club International, Korea’s BC card and Serbia’s DinaCard. UnionPay is the major card issuer in China, with 2.4 billion credit and debit cards issued to cardholders in that country. When those cardholders travel to the United States, they are told to look for either their card logo or the Discover card logo to make sure their card is accepted at checkout. To u r i s m i s a f a s t growing segment of the Chinese market. Another area where we see growth in card usage is at merchants who are near a college campus. More and more college students from China come to school in the U.S. Those students carry the UnionPay card and want to use it in retail locations where they shop. Japanese Credit Bank, JCB, has 71 million cardholders worldwide, and 3.4 million of them visited the U.S. last year. In total, Japanese tourists spent $14.6 billion here. Also, if you have a retail location in a community with automotive business ties, there may be business travelers who also are looking to use
their cards in your store. BCcard is one of the largest card issuers in South Korea. It has issued 55 million cards there. Travelers from South Korea have an average income of $85,000 and are looking for business locations that accept their cards. These specific card issuers represent the largest credit card issuers in their respective countries, with billions of cards in use.
“Since you already accept Discover, you automatically accept all of these other cards.” Easy Acceptance You are able to accept all of these cards in your store without any special merchant agreements. Since you already accept Discover, you automatically accept all of these other cards. They all work the same way a Discover card does in your terminal: just dip, tap or swipe the card and follow the prompts on the screen. The cost to accept one of them is about the same as accepting a Visa or MasterCard from Canada or any other foreign country. Here’s an important tip. Make sure that your sales clerks and cashiers know which cards you accept, so that if a consumer asks, “Do you accept…?”, they can answer the question quickly and correctly. We can help by providing stickers and decals for use in your store and on your advertising materials to let visitors know you can accommodate their payment choices. Simply call our customer service team at 800.563.5981 to ask for these free materials. The international traveler is a source of increased business for you. Make sure you put out the welcome sign – in the form of card logos – that lets your guests know you are happy and able to serve them.
How to reduce conflict in the family business by Pete Walsh, Family Business Performance Center Reprinted with Permission With any family business, there will inevitably be some form of conflict among the family members. As a family business manager, you need to be prepared to resolve and minimize these differences when they crop up. Conflicts can arise for a variety of reasons. Professional or interpersonal conflicts of family members are common. Technical glitches or even administrative issues can also be a factor. The best way to minimize any negative conflicts is by stopping them before they happen. Encourage family members to learn these skills to prevent conflicts as much as possible: • Encourage your family members to take part in the development phase of the business. This ensures they feel invested in the business success and are responsible for meeting goals. It cultivates a sense of “ownership” of goals. • Make sure you get down in writing any commitments and expectations from you and your family members. Verbally agreeing or communicating each person’s role is not enough. Put it all in writing so if there is any question later you can refer back to it.
separate the business relationship from the personal one. Family members should stick to facts and issues, not each other’s personalities. Encourage different points of view and express views honestly. Be sure all team members focus on actionable solutions when they do have conflicts. Be Proactive • As the family business manager or patriarch/matriarch, you need to be proactive and forward thinking so you can anticipate possible problems before they arise. Before you assign members of your family to a particular role, soft train them in human relations. Explain your basic communication principles.
“It is important to separate the business relationship from the personal one.”
Regular Meetings • Monitor milestones frequently so you can identify and resolve any small conflicts before they become huge issues. This can include holding regular, scheduled status meetings with your family. You can get updates on the status of projects and avoid problems before they become problems. • Have a clear line of communication open. Family members should feel like they can bring issues to your attention as well as ask for help when they need it. • Practice active listening. This is a skill ever y member of the team should learn. As the family business manager, you need to encourage family members to ask questions and clarify or paraphrase what they don’t understand. The family business manager should always be available to family members so they can express their issues in a timely way. • Encourage team members to keep conflicts professional. This can be especially difficult in a family business. It is important to
Arrange for any team-building exercises for everyone involved, if possible. Keep it clear that all team members have access to team leaders, management and supervisors. They should know that their opinions and perspectives are of value to all in the business. Encourage mutual respect among all members of your family. • If conflict does erupt among the team, listen to all parties and all sides of the story. Look at body language, tone of voice and the demeanor of everyone involved. Acknowledge the issue and their concerns by saying something like, “I understand you’re angr y.” It doesn’t necessarily mean you agree with them. Then take proactive action. Make it clear the ultimate goal is a successful business. As the family business leader you need to be prepared for conflicts to happen at any time. Every business has some form of conflict among its employees. The main thing is to take steps to minimize as much as you can before it happens. Family Business Performance Center (www.familybusinessperformance. com) is an Arizona-based company whose mission is “to help families create stronger relationships that lead to successful and sustainable businesses and families.”
Membership Services Corner by Penny Sierakowski, MRA Customer Service Department Manager Quick notes on key services. Call 800.563.5981 for credit card processing assistance or 800.366.3699 for other matters. We v a l u e your membership and trust. Let us know whenever we can help you with your question or problem, no matter how large or small. Insurances • Open enrollment runs from June 1 to June 30 for most Health, Dental, Vision, Life and ShortTerm Disability policies. The open enrollment period is the time to sign up for these membership services or add or delete members of a group. Members also can make changes to benefit levels. Changes take effect July 1. • TruHearing is now an exclusive member extra for members enrolled in the VSP Vision Care plan. Enrollees can save up to $2,400 on a pair of quality hearing aids and gain access to a national network of more than 4,500 licensed hearing aid professionals. Pricing discounts are available on a selection of more than 90 digital hearing aids in 400 styles. Free or discounted hearing aid batteries are also available. To find out more, contact MRA at 800.366.3699 ext. 681. Shipping • M R A m e m b e r s t h a t a re enrolled in the free Shipping Savings Program saved more than $205,000 on their shipping costs during the final three months of 2015. Savings ranged from $24,437 to 37-cents during the quarter. Members can save up to 29 percent on FedEx Express, 25 percent on FedEx Ground, 10 percent on FedEx Home Deliver y and at least 70 percent on LTL Freight. Enrollment is free. To enroll, contact MRA’s Harmony Clouse at 800.366.3699 ext. 377. Credit Card Processing • Don’t be concerned if your new EMV/Chip Card terminal displays a message that American Express and Discover transactions “are not supported” at this time. There’s nothing wrong with your terminal, it’s simply missing the new software necessary to process those card types by “dipping” the chip card. The software is missing because their develop-
ers have not yet completed it. As soon as it is ready, it will download automatically to your terminal. In the meantime, you can continue to process those cards by swiping the mag stripe the “old” way. • If you haven’t upgraded your processing device to accept/ process Chip Cards, we strongly recommend you upgrade soon. • We now provide merchant assistance via email, in addition to over the phone. You can email any general questions to email@example.com. The response time for email inquiries is within two business days. • Please verify your 2015 form 1099K for accuracy. Contact customer service to make any changes. • Counterfeit Transactions are on the rise. Please verify the customer’s ID, the name printed on the credit card, and the name printed on the receipt before completing the sale. • You cannot impose a minimum transaction amount or a surcharge amount on Debit, Prepaid or Gift Card transactions. • If you currently utilize Dial Up connection on your credit card terminal and experience communication errors, you may want to explore utilizing an Ethernet connection to eliminate these errors. • If your terminal is a Vx520, you may need to complete an update to accept chip cards. Contact us to verify your terminal. • Par tial Authorization – if the credit card receipt displays “Amount Due,” you must collect the remaining balance by another form of payment. • To keep your processing costs low, answer all prompts on the terminal, including AVS (street number and zip code), CVV (3-digit security code on the back of card), Sales Tax (sales tax amount only), PO Number (if you don’t use a purchase order number, the default would be the last four digits of the card number). • If you receive a request to wire money or to ship merchandise out of the country, please call to discuss the situation before processing the transaction. The smart practice is never wire money! • Internet Explorer 8, 9, 10 are no longer supported. If you use any of these to access a payment processing gateway, please call to discuss your options. • Verifone 1000SE Pin Pads are no longer supported. Contact customer service to obtain upgrade options.
IT’S THE LAW
Opportunity Tax Credit Good reason to review extended through 2019 parental leave policies by William J. Hallan, MRA Executive Vice President, COO and General Counsel Nothing quite disrupts a deadline like the birth of a child. As the Michigan Retailer was about to head to press, my wife went into labor and gave birth to our third child. Theodore (“Teddy”) William Hallan wasn’t concerned about coordinating his arrival on March 12 with the deadline for my “It’s the Law” column, but at least he worked it around the Spartan’s Big Ten Tournament Championship! I’m currently home on paternity leave, and I’ve been busy helping our five-year-old make leprechaun traps for St. Patrick’s Day. Thus, this will be an abbreviated article, since I’m pretty sure we caught one and we have to make sure he doesn’t escape. My present situation is a good human resources reminder to
check your corporate parental leave policies. Michigan Retailers Association recently updated our personnel manual by developing a cohesive parental leave policy. Our goal was to recognize that there are many different family situations, and we wanted our policy to be broad enough to capture all circumstances. For example, our policy not only provides for leave in the event of childbirth, but also for child adoption. We also keep our verbiage gender neutral to ensure that samesex spouses are treated equally. Although the federal Fair Medical Leave Act only requires employers with more than 50 employees to provide at least 12 weeks unpaid leave for childbirth, establishing reasonable leave guidelines will help you attract and keep top talent. In addition, it’s a good corporate practice to regularly review your personnel manual. The birth of a child is a good reminder.
The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC), a federal tax credit available to private, for-profit employers who hire from specific targeted groups of people that have experienced difficulty in the past securing employment, has been extended through December 31, 2019.
President Barack Obama signed the extension into law last December. The measure also extends the credit ret-
roactively for hires from December 31, 2014. The program includes a new target group: individuals who are certified by a local agency as being in a period of unemployment not less than 27 weeks and during which the individual received unemployment compensation under state or federal law. For WOTC-certified new hires working at least 120 hours, employers can claim 25 percent of the first-year wages paid up to $6,000, for a maximum tax credit of up to $1,500. For WOTC-certified new hires working 400 hours or more, employers can claim 40 percent of the first-year wages up to $6,000, for a maximum income tax credit of $2,400. M o re i n f o r m a t i o n about the WOTC is available by calling 800.482.2959 or visiting michigan. gov/uia.
Billboards, humor help make Clare bakery a tourism destination Continued from page 1
it until 1964. “We’re now the sixth owners – and the last ones, we say,” said Rynearson. “It’s still the original nine of us.” Seven of those partners are fulltime cops. Rynearson and Vice President Alan White took department buyouts in 2013 to run the operation, with help from General Manager Sherry Kleinhardt. Around the shop, everyone knows the partners by their police department nicknames. Rynearson goes by “Ryno,” while White answers to “Bubba.” There’s also “Dogman,” “Junior,” “Beaver,” “Bulldog,” “Grasshopper,” “Midge” and “Squirt.” The old-fashioned nicknames help set the tone for a business trading on nostalgia. “A lot of our customers are looking for that old Americana,” Rynearson. “They don’t want to let it go.” Many of those customers are locals, who grab carryouts or sit and soak up the atmosphere at the shop’s round tables. “Our average customer is a retired person or older,” Rynearson said. “In the summer, we’re open 24-7. We’ve become a true tourist location. We’ve got people who travel from all over the world.” Billboards Although Clare County has a population of about 30,000 people, Rynearson estimates nearly 500,000 people have come through in each
knocked out walls to expand south initially expected to run their operaof the past two years. and north. tion with one full-time employee and Highway billboards help drive traffic Two months after taking over the some summertime help, the business to the doorstep. Most are in Michibakery, the partners had converted employs 55 full- and part-time people gan, but Florida and Indiana have one a closed pharmacy into The Cop at the two locations. billboard each and there are two in MisShop. Merchandise there – much of Every morning, the business delivsouri, along the old Route 66 corridor. it American made – ranges from hats ers its goods to 45 gas station/party “Billboards are our best advertisstores. ing,” Rynearson said. On Paczki Day in February, Social media, which RynearCops & Doughnuts sold about son considers modern word of 22,000 of the filled pastries. mouth, supplements that old“This is the third year in a row school advertising technique. we shipped to all 50 states and “We’re on it with Facebook D.C.,” Rynearson said. and Twitter,” he said. “You’ve got to be in there.” Coffee Sales In fact, the Cops & Doughnuts The business also stocks Savcrew has proven to be masters A-Lot stores from US-10 north to at generating publicity. Sault Sainte Marie with its private “Our story made the Associlabel coffee brands, produced by ated Press right off the bat,” Paramount Coffee of Lansing. Rynearson said. “We’ve been on On a recent trip to England, “Fox and Friends,” “The Mike the partners shipped and gave Huckabee Show,” MSNBC.” Cops & Doughnuts also won The bakery’s confections appeal to customers from away 3,000 bags of their coffee – Morning Shift, Midnight Shift the Doughnut Showdown on the across the nation and around the globe. and Off Duty decaf – at a policCooking Channel in 2014 and is and DWI (Doughnuts Were Involved) ing event. working with a Hollywood crew on a posT-shirts to colognes with names such Rynearson and White also aren’t sible reality TV show, Rynearson said. as Probable Cause and Miss Behavin’. shy about promoting the business “It just keeps going,” he said. “EvThe partners transformed a closed through speaking engagements. ery time it seems to settle down, Chinese restaurant into the Traffic “We’re always having fun,” Rynearsomething else pops up.” Stop Diner in 2012. son said, adding that he doesn’t miss This past September, Cops & the camaraderie of his 30-year police Constant Motion Doughnuts opened a Gaylord locacareer a bit. Rynearson, whose business extion inside Jay’s Sporting Goods – a “I see more cops now than I did perience includes cabin rentals and business with Clare roots. when I was working.” operation of a gas station/party store, “We were invited by Jay’s,” Rynearson Rynearson said the company has said the partners have been in consaid. “They really wanted us up there.” reached a point where it would need stant motion from the beginning. While the Cops & Doughnuts group to build an offsite, commercial bakery After buying the baker y, they to grow any more. He attributes Cops & Doughnuts’ overwhelming success to two factors: a fast-moving local ownership group and a sharp customer focus. “We went and quizzed people about what the bakery was doing wrong and we changed all of that,” he said. “We’re not listening to those retailers that tell us, ‘You have to train the customer.’ We’re here for the customer.” Doug Henze is a freelance writer and former business reporter for the Oakland Press in Pontiac.
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New Instants to maintain Lottery sales momentum by M. Scott Bowen, Commissioner The Michigan Lottery and ret a i l e r s a c ro s s the state are building on the momentum from last year’s record performance. At the halfway point of the current fiscal year, a number of key metrics point to even better results in 2016. The world record $1.6 billion Powerball jackpot and the ticket buying frenzy it ignited – $104.5 million in Michigan sales in 10 weeks – provided a boost to the Lottery and retailers. The Lottery’s instant game portfolio also continues to generate player excitement and increased sales, which are up by double digits. Club Keno, Lotto 47, Daily 3 and Daily 4 also are posting sales increases. To help maintain player interest and sales momentum, the Lottery is launching a new family of instant games, the “Hit” games, bringing back a popular Club Keno promotion and developing a new raffle game with a baseball theme. The “Hit” instant games, with an April 5 launch, offer players a range of price points: $1, $2, $5, and $10. They also offer a range of top prizes. The games are: • Hit $50 – A $1 ticket with more than 90,000 prizes of $50, top prizes of $5,000 and more than $15 million in total prizes. • Hit $100 – A $2 ticket with more than 95,000 prizes of $100, top prizes of $50,000 and more than $30 million in total prizes. • Hit $250 – A $5 ticket with more than 50,000 prizes of $250, top prizes of $500,000 and more than $40 million in total prizes. • Hit $500 – A $10 ticket with more
than 25,000 prizes of $500, top prizes of $1 million and more than $60 million in total prizes. We expect the wide range of price points and prizes will make the “Hit” family of games attractive to a large number of players and build on the already strong interest in instant games. Doubler Days Retailers and players can’t seem to get enough of the Club Keno Doubler Days promotion, so the Lottery is bringing it back for the fifth time in April. The January promotion boosted Club Keno sales by a record-setting 22 percent, or $10.5 million, compared to January 2015. Players also had success with the Club Keno Doubler Days, winning nearly $1.8 million in total prizes. Baseball Raffle We also have a baseball-themed raffle game in development. Although details are not yet complete, we expect to launch the Big League Raffle in May with sales to run through the summer. New Instants These tickets go on sale April 5: IG # 762 Hit $50 - $1 IG # 763 Hit $100 - $2 IG # 764 Hit $250 - $5 IG # 765 Hit $500 - $10 About 97 cents of every dollar spent on Lottery tickets is returned to the state in the form of contributions to the state School Aid Fund, prizes to players and commissions to retailers. In the 2015 fiscal year, the Lottery’s contribution to Michigan’s public schools was a record $795.5 million. Since it began in 1972, the Lottery has contributed more than $19.6 billion to education in Michigan.
NEW MEMBERS Advanced Architectural Products LLC, Allegan Copping Auto Service LLC, Alpena 16 Hands Ltd., Ann Arbor Soothing Spirit Therapeutic Massage, Ann Arbor Battle Creek Memorial Park, Battle Creek Cops & Doughnuts LLC, Clare K & K Assisted Living LLC, Detroit Russell Street Deli, Detroit Arctic Equipment Co., Flint Ball Park Floral & Gifts/Trillium Floral, Grand Rapids Arvron Inc., Grand Rapids Jack Dozeman Clothier, Holland DeLong & Brower PC, Holland Ishpeming Concrete Inc., Ishpeming MAG Supply Inc., Ishpeming Moyle Trucking & Excavating Inc., Ishpeming Gregory’s, Lansing
Veterans of Foreign Wars of the USA, Lansing Runway Avenue LLC, Midland R-Custom Fabric Products, Montague Hennessy’s Irish Pub & Restaurant, Muskegon Tri County Council for Child Dev., Paw Paw Kiddies’ Klubhouse LLC, Reed City Marmo Meccanica Parts & Services Inc., Rochester Hills Davenport Inn Inc., Saginaw Preferred Employment, Saginaw Detroit Towing Group Inc., Saint Clair Shores Sturgis Tool & Die Inc., Sturgis Cubby LLC, Traverse City Barothy Lodge, Walhalla America’s Tax & Accounting Inc., Warren Menard Inc., WI Component Engineering, Wyoming Miles of Golf, Ypsilanti David Schmidt DDS, Ypsilanti
The April 2016 issue of Michigan Retailer, the official publication of Michigan Retailers Association.