AUG/SEP 21 Michigan Retailer

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AUG/SEP 2021

Planning=Success Data: Plan your security journey Marketing: Tips for creating videos Operations: Claim filing mistakes Supply: Illegal trade impacts business

Volume 46 No. 4

The official publication of the Michigan Retailers Association


Board of Directors BO BRINES

Chair Little Forks Outfitters, Midland

WILLIAM J. HALLAN

President and CEO Michigan Retailers Association

BILL GOLDEN

Michigan Retailers Services, Inc. Board of Directors WILLIAM J. HALLAN

President and CEO

CHAD AYERS

Allendale True Value, Allendale

MEREDITH GREMEL

Vice Chair Golden Shoes, Traverse City

SpartanNash, Grand Rapids

PETER R. SOBELTON

Leppink’s Food Centers, Belding

Treasurer Mondial Properties, Birmingham

BECKY BEAUCHINE KULKA

Past Chair Becky Beauchine Kulka Diamonds and Fine Jewelry, Okemos

KIM EDSENGA

Meijer, Inc., Grand Rapids

DAN MARSHALL

Marshall Music Company, Lansing

ORIN MAZZONI, JR.

Orin Jewelers, Northville

JOSEPH MCCURRY

Credit Card Group

BRYAN NEIMAN

Neiman’s Family Market, St. Clair

BARB STEIN

Great Northern Trading Co., Rockford

THOMAS UNGRODT

TDU Consulting, LLC, Ann Arbor

D. LARRY SHERMAN

Board Member Emeritus

Advertise With every issue, we reach retail owners, managers and executives who make spending decisions for 15,000 stores and websites across the state. To request a media kit, email Rachel Schrauben at rschrauben@retailers.com.

MICHIGAN RETAILER AUG / SEP 2021

JOHN LEPPINK

JOE SWANSON

Target, Retired

Michigan Retailer WILLIAM J. HALLAN

Publisher

JENNIFER ROOK

Editor

PATRICK KERWIN

Design and Printing Manager

Publication Office 603 South Washington Avenue Lansing, MI 48933 517.372.5656 or 800.366.3699 Fax: 517.372.1303

About Us Michigan Retailer (USPS 345-780, ISSN 0889-0439) is published in February, April, June, August, October and December by Michigan Retailers Association, 603 South Washington Ave., Lansing, MI 48933. 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 white office paper.


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“Failure to prepare is preparing to fail.” Benjamin Franklin

Contents FEATURES

DEPARTMENTS

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DATA SECURITY IS A JOURNEY, NOT A DESTINATION John Mayleben believes information protection is an endeavor.

4 FROM THE CEO Bill Hallan talks how different the world is today versus same time last year.

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5 STEPS YOU MUST TAKE BEFORE CREATING A VIDEO Cold Box Films Tracey Spaulding on what to do before your first take.

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COSTLY CLAIMS MISTAKES YOU MAKE DAILY Is your workers’ comp claims process failing you?

12 AND THE WINNERS ARE Celebrating 26 winners of the MRA Foundation Scholarship Award.

Retailers.com RetailersInsurance.com BuyNearbyMI.com Visit us online to see what’s new in the industry and what services we provide members to strengthen your business.

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CURBING ILLEGAL TRADE IN MICHIGAN The challenge of online counterfeit goods.

15 COVID-19 MRA SURVEY RESULTS See how your fellow members fared during the pandemic.

5 NOTE FROM THE EDITOR’S DESK The last 90 days of the year are coming. Are you ready? 6 LEGALLY SPEAKING Tom Clement covers ways to avoid premium increases in workers’ comp insurance. 7 NEWS FROM THE CAPITOL Amy Drumm recaps recent legislation impacts to Michigan business. 16 IN THEIR OWN WORDS thistle: Deidre Weller welcomes everyone who loves fashion! 19 CATCH-ALL DRAWER News from around the state that affect your business. 22 NEW MEMBERS

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FROM THE CEO The world is vastly different today Michigan Retailers Association operates on a fiscal year, and June 30 marked the completion of MRA’s 81st year as a company. As we embark on our 82nd year of advocating for Michigan’s retail industry, the world is vastly different from where we were a year ago when we were just months into the pandemic. Most notably, COVID restrictions for employers and consumers have ended. In late June 2021, the state rescinded the epidemic order requiring masks and limiting gatherings. Similarly, the COVID MIOSHA rules have also been lifted for non-healthcare businesses. Retail is now fully open, and we’ll continue advocating to keep it that way. While the positives decidedly outweigh the headwinds, the current state of affairs does feel a bit like a sports car that is waiting to hit the next gear. Stop me if this sounds familiar to you: sales are increasing but you’re having trouble sourcing your entire inventory. Customer traffic is picking up and you’re thankful to be able to operate at 100% capacity, but you’re having trouble staffing all open positions. There are industry events you’d like to attend or vacations you’d like to take but you can’t pull yourself away from your business due to coverage issues. Almost every member we talk to is experiencing the same issues with labor shortages and supply chain inventory. Of course the continued federal unemployment benefits are not helping to get people back to work. The total weekly benefit, $662, consisting of $362 Michigan dollars and $300 federal, equates to $16.55 per hour for a 40-hour week. Even if a business offers to pay more than that, it’s tough to compete with the lure of getting paid to stay home and not work. Unfortunately, calls from the business community to eliminate the additional benefits have fallen on deaf ears. Even with such challenges, the retail industry is sparking back to life. In our May Retail Index, 70 percent of retailers reported an increase in sales over April and 57 percent believe business will continue to rebound. 4

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Optimism is strong as the economy starts to ignite. As we shift the engine of that sports car into the next gear, MRA has many exciting initiatives. For example, we’ve partnered with Cold Box Films to offer discounted video production services to our members. Cold Box produced MRA’s award winning videos and if you are looking to expand your marketing profile in this ever-changing digital world, Cold Box is the company for you. Video production may seem daunting, but they are a breath of fresh air and have the ability to capture the exact story you want to tell. Check out the interview with Cold Box’s Tracey Spaulding on steps to take before yelling, “Action!” We’ve also created a new discount for Retailers Insurance Company policyholders. Similar to a multi-policy discount, if you participate in one of our other services, like our merchant processing or shipping program, you can save an additional 10 percent off your workers’ compensation policy. There are perks for loyalty, and our perk is 10 percent! So, while it might take a minute for the economy to start firing on all cylinders and for employment to fully rebound, Michigan Retailers Association is here for you. Full speed ahead!

WILLIAM J. HALLAN MRA President and Chief Executive Officer


FROM THE EDITOR’S DESK

The last 90 days are coming. Are you ready? Is it me, or does it seem like a bunch of new holidays have been added to the calendar in recent years? From fun holidays like Talk Like a Pirate Day (September 19) to legitimate ones like Juneteeth, (June 19) to several unofficial events that everyone treats like holidays such as Black Friday (date depends on when Thanksgiving occurs), there are a lot more holidays to celebrate beyond the 11 on the federally-recognized list.

JENNIFER ROOK MRA Vice President, Communications and Marketing Contact Jennifer at jrook@retailers.com

“For many industries, the last 90 days of the year are “go time.”

One trend I’ve noticed is the recognition of October 1, the official first day of the last 90 days of the calendar year. I became familiar with the concept when a friend of mine sent a notice on LinkedIn touting her availability to assist with “last 90” marketing projects. A week later, another friend invited me to take part in Rachel Hollis’ #Last90DayChallege. Hollis is the author of the popular self-help book, “Girl, Wash Your Face.” According to Hollis’ website, “the Last 90 Days is built on the belief that we can finish the last three months of the year stronger than we started it.” (Did I succeed? That’s a story for another time.) For many industries, the last 90 days of the year are “go time,” the final push to end the year on a high note. Although presently we are in August, it’s typically the time of the year when people start to transition from the “lazy days of summer” to getting back to business, whether business is back-to-school or ironing out sales strategies. We dedicate this month’s issue to planning by highlighting initiatives that require detailed planning: video production, PCI compliance, workers compensation, and claims management. There is always something to learn in these categories. By consulting with our trove of experts, we think we are giving you – our MRA members – an edge to succeed and to kick off the “October 1” holiday (you heard it here first) with a bang that helps your business finish the year strong. SPEAKING OF EXPERTS…INTRODUCING COLD BOX FILMS! We signed a new deal that we believe our members are going to like - a new partnership with Cold Box Films. Based in Lansing, Cold Box Films, is an award-winning, full-service commercial video production company led by Cooper and Tracey Spaulding. Cold Box Films believes that creating a compelling video requires a meticulous planning process to uncover all of the puzzle pieces that helps a story come together. Common challenges we hear repeatedly about creating videos are the unexpected production

costs and time. We started working with Cold Box Films in 2019 when they produced several Facebook video ads to promote our competitive credit card processing program. We were so impressed by the group’s creativity, production methods, and planning process that we thought our members would benefit too. In the months to come, we will be tapping Cold Box’s expertise to illustrate ways that help you connect with new customers and position your brand in a new light. As a start, I sat down with Tracey Spaulding and discussed five important steps you need to take before filming a video (page 9). Watch your email for more details on this partnership and what Cold Box Films can do for you. CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR MRA SCHOLARSHIP WINNERS! We are proud to feature the 2021-2022 MRA Scholarship award recipients. This year, MRA Foundation added two new scholarships increasing the number from 24 to 26. Award amounts range from $1,000 - $1,500 and are open to all students who either work in retail for an MRA member, or who have a family member that does. To date, MRA Foundation has granted 601 scholarships totaling $605,750. See pages 12-13 for more details. HAVE YOU BEEN LISTENING? Faced with the challenge of keeping our members informed on changing legislation and regulatory issues, Amy Drumm, SVP of Government Affairs for MRA, and I came up with an idea: what if we did a brief weekly recording? In April, we launched our first MRA Legislative Update and have been going strong ever since. Weekly, we discuss all legislative issues happening at the State Capitol that may affect your business. If you haven’t had a chance, check your email and take the time to listen. NOT TOO LATE! You know who has been excited to be out after months of sheltering in place – our beloved Buy Nearby Guy! There’s still room on the calendar to book the Buy Nearby Guy for your fall or winter event. Reach out to me at jrook@retailers.com. This summer, the Buy Nearby Guy discovered TikTok and has been visiting members to film short video clips to promote their businesses. Search for Buynearbymi on TikTok to see where he has been. WWW.RETAILERS.COM AUG / SEP 2021

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LEGALLY SPEAKING

Avoiding premium increases in workers’ compensation insurance Workers’ compensation claims are an unfortunate reality for employers of all sizes. Most importantly, employers want their employees to be safe and free from any harm. This is easier for some types of jobs than others. Those working in construction or heavy manufacturing may be more susceptible to injuries on the job than other types of work, but the potential for harm exists in all professions.

THOMAS P. CLEMENT MRA Vice President, Operations and General Counsel Contact Thomas at tclement@retailers.com

“Failing to report claims in a timely fashion can make your premiums go up and have a direct impact on your bottom line.”

Beyond keeping employees free from harm, employers also want to limit their workers’ compensation claims and return employees to work as soon as possible, thereby avoiding increased premium costs. This can be effectively accomplished through both the timely reporting of claims and the implementation of a return-to-work program. In Michigan, wage loss benefits for employees begin after they are unable to work for seven days. If a disability lasts for at least 14 days, retroactive benefits for the first seven days are paid. Wage loss benefits continue as long as wage earning capacity is reduced because of the disability. However, employees cannot continue to receive benefits if they have received and refused a reasonable job offer. Taking this into consideration, the wisest course of action for an employer is to report a workers’ compensation claim immediately upon learning of an employee’s disability, assist the employee in getting the care they need, and explore return to work possibilities. Immediate reporting and assistance in receiving care are vital to a workers’ compensation claim because the seven-day clock for wage benefits starts at the time of the injury, regardless of when the claim is made. A claim reporting delay may result in immediate and retroactive payment of benefits without the ability for the employer or the insurance carrier to timely assess the validity of the claim or explore return to work possibilities that would limit exposure. As a result, delayed claims may increase, sometimes dramatically, the cost of the claim and have a negative impact on the employer’s experience modification factor (“MOD”). The MOD is the

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standard by which an insured’s loss experience is calculated and has a direct result in premium costs. Simply put, failing to report claims in a timely fashion can make your premiums go up and have a direct impact on your bottom line! Timely reporting is just one piece of the puzzle, however. An employee who is disabled in the course of their employment for seven days of work or more and truly unable to return to work will receive benefits regardless of when reporting occurs. On the other hand, many employees may be able to return to work in some capacity thereby reducing or eliminating the benefit they are owed. Employers would be well served by developing a return-to-work program designed to get employees the care they need and back to work. A return-towork program should clearly state that its purpose is to get employees the care they need and back to work through temporary, transitional job duties through a modification of the original job or a different job altogether until they can return to their original position. A prime example would be a delivery driver who can no longer lift heavy packages but may be able to take phone calls and schedule deliveries while he or she recovers. This type of program will make clear that you value your employees and are committed to getting them back in the workplace as soon as possible. It will also reduce or eliminate the benefits that need to be paid and help to maintain a favorable MOD. For a sample return-to-work policy, please visit retailersinsurance.com. As much care as employers take to avoid workplace injuries, they do occur. While you may not be able to guarantee against a claim, you can take steps that may have a positive impact on the workers’ compensation premium you pay. Keeping workers’ compensation premiums from increasing is a constant challenge for business owners. So much so, we continue the conversation about it on page 11, where our insurance experts address the top five common costly mistakes that also impact premiums.


NEWS FROM THE CAPITOL

AMY DRUMM MRA Senior Vice President, Government Affairs Contact Amy at adrumm@retailers.com

Legislation moves that impact retail and employers VETOED: REBATE FOR SALES/USE TAXES PAID ON PPE PURCHASES Retailers and business owners should be dismayed that politics got in the way and caused the veto of a set of bills (HB 4224-4225) that would have provided some relief on the purchase of COVID-related safety equipment. The bills would have allowed businesses that purchased plexiglass barriers, masks, and sanitizing equipment to keep their employees and customers safe to get a rebate on the sales and use tax paid on such items. Despite receiving overwhelming bipartisan support in the legislature, Gov. Whitmer vetoed the bills because the rebate wasn’t offered through a grant program that could use federal funds. That concern was not raised during the legislative process and it’s believed the state’s sales tax collections were higher partly since these items wouldn’t have been purchased if they hadn’t been mandated by the state to operate over the last year. The Republican-controlled House attempted to override the veto. The vote failed along party lines despite passing nearly unanimously a month prior. CHEERS TO SOCIAL DISTRICTS AND TO-GO DRINKS Legislation to extend temporary COVID-related relief via outdoor social districts and special licenses for offering to-go drinks was signed into law. Enacted last year, the sale of to-go drinks can continue through 2025 and downtowns can create common gathering spots (social districts) to dine and enjoy adult beverages through 2024. SB 559, extends each sunset by one day, through January 1 of the following year to allow social districts in downtowns and temporary licenses to sell to-go drinks through the New Year’s Eve/Day holiday. These districts bring more traffic into downtowns, make downtowns more enticing places to hangout for longer periods of time, and offer greater opportunities to businesses and retailers alike. MRA is hopeful the sunsets will eventually be removed to make both practices permanent. BILLS TO ADDRESS THE MANY WORKFORCE CHALLENGES Lawmakers know well the challenges employers are facing when it comes to workforce shortages – especially this summer. That’s why they passed legislation (SB 501) that was signed into law and requires those receiving unemployment benefits to register with the job-placement agency, Michigan Works! in a timely fashion to continue receiving benefits. Republican legislators also approved a bill that would

prevent the state from accepting and passing along the $300/week federal pandemic unemployment assistance that will continue until early September. While this was not signed into law, we’re hopeful the administration will reconsider its position on accepting money that is serving as a disincentive for some workers to return to the workforce. Lastly on our list, is a bill that would help grocers, convenience stores, and bars and restaurants by allowing workers under the age of 18 to sell or serve alcohol. Currently only employees over the age of 18 are allowed. The House Regulatory Reform Committee heard testimony on a bill to lower that age this spring and we’re hopeful it will move when they return this fall. TAX PARITY FOR PASS-THROUGH/FLOWTHROUGH ENTITIES ALSO VETOED Another bill that would have helped retailers, HB 4288, was vetoed by the governor. The bill would have matched the state’s tax deductions for passthrough or flowthrough businesses, like S-corporations and partnerships, with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act deductions allowed on State and Local Taxes (SALT) for traditional corporations. Essentially, it would have allowed these types of businesses to ensure the tax is deductible at the federal level on the corporation tax return (which does not cap deductions for state and local taxes), as opposed to a recipient’s individual income tax return (on which the equivalent deduction has been capped at $10,000 by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act). STAY IN-THE-KNOW To see all of the nearly 200 bills MRA is tracking, check out our bill tracker. You can find it on our website: under the advocacy tab click on government affairs news. Did you know we also have a weekly legislative audio update? It’s sent weekly to members via email and is a quick listen (5-10 minutes). It gives a high-level recap of what’s happening in the legislature. Listen in and impress your fellow business owners with how much you know. GOT A QUESTION? SAVE YOURSELF SOME TIME AND ASK US FIRST! Send your questions about regulations, state licenses, and more to our team of experts at askusfirst@ retailers.com. We’ll answer your question, point you in the right direction, and connect you with the right people in various state agencies who can help. That’s what we’re here for, so don’t hesitate to reach out whenever you need assistance! WWW.RETAILERS.COM AUG / SEP 2021

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Data security is a journey, not a destination By SHANDRA MARTINEZ Data security isn’t a one-and-done proposition. Taking precautions required for data security should be viewed more as a journey than a destination. “It doesn’t ever end because, on any given day, the bad guys are figuring out a new way to steal from us,” says John Mayleben, a Michigan Retailers Association (MRA) consultant and national expert on payment processing.

The merchant can be charged for the cost of card replacement. The price per card is roughly $25, which can add up quickly, since it is assumed, that all of your transactions during the period of time the bad guys were in your system, are exposed and will need to be replaced.

The COVID-19 pandemic crisis has provided more opportunity for those bad actors to steal data as businesses have scaled back their physical footprint or closed their doors completely in the face of reduced traffic to their brick-andmortar locations. THE FIRST STEP IN THE JOURNEY So what can merchants do? Begin by completing a Self-Assessment Questionnaire, or SAQ. In the credit card world, data security policies require every merchant, regardless of how big or how small, to complete an SAQ. The process involves answering questions and completing an attestation of compliance that they are Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliant at that moment in time. Merchants are required to do this once a year or anytime they change their systems, whether that’s a processor, credit card terminals, or any of their payment processes. “You have to fill this out once a year to be compliant. If you ever have a data breach, you have to show that you’ve done this within the last year,” Mayleben said.

INSURANCE COVERAGE Fortunately, a portion or all of that cost can be covered by an insurance policy. As part of its credit card transaction program, MRA automatically includes $100,000 worth of data breach coverage for every merchant number (MID) on its system. Still, if the breaches are big enough, that coverage might not be enough. That’s why some businesses are layering coverage with outside cyber insurance policies.

A data breach is conceivably a life-ending event for a business because of the potential fines and related expenses, according to Mayleben.

While insurance policies are important to have, the best way to avoid a data breach is to make sure you have policies and procedures in place that reduce your exposure by removing sensitive authentication data and limiting data retention.

TWO-FOLD RESPONSE A response needs to be two-fold. The first step is what Mayleben describes as stopping the bleeding. This usually involves replacing the terminal, addressing the area that is allowing the bad guys access, and adopting a new, more secure procedure for processing transactions.

How complicated is filling out the SAQ? It depends on the transaction processing solution you use. The less data gathered, the lower the risk, so the easier the compliance process.

Mayleben

The second part is the cleanup, which requires identifying when the first and last breaches occurred. For that time period, when transactions were exposed, all of those cardholders need to be notified that their information was compromised. 8

Fines from Visa and MasterCard related to a data breach are more significant for merchants that aren’t PCI compliant or don’t have an attestation of compliance.

MICHIGAN RETAILER AUG / SEP 2021

“The first conversation I always had with merchants was when they talked about PCI compliance,” said Mayleben. “Before we talk about what kind of hardware and soft virus software you have, let’s go through your procedures. Let’s review how you do transactions and see if we can limit scope because if we can limit the scope, we’re done talking. You should always ask yourself, do I really need to have this data in my control?”


5 steps you must take BEFORE creating a video By JENNIFER ROOK “Let’s make a video!” You’ve probably heard this phrase once or said it yourself. Marketing experts would agree that video is the most effective selling tool, even more so thanks to the pandemic. It’s a common wish that you create a video and it turns out to be the next YouTube sensation that “goes viral” and amasses millions of views and sends thousands of new customers to your business. Realistically, the probability of your video going viral is > 0.0001. In fact, according to Statisa.com, roughly 50% of the YouTube videos never cross 1k views and 30% never cross 500 views.

“We see lots of businesses create a video then try to figure out how to get people to watch it. The days of ‘If you build it, they will come’ are long behind us.”

“Regardless of the type of video it is, like a How-to video, an advertisement, or an informational piece, all videos tell a story,” said Spaulding. Your video needs to flow like a story. It needs a beginning, a middle, and an end, regardless of the content.” Spaulding also advises keeping the viewers perspective in mind during the creative process. “Viewers have a very brief attention span,” said Spaulding. “You are competing against a sea of videos. In fact, more than 500 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube and Facebook every minute. Viewers only care about your video if it is useful or entertaining to them.” Look at your content through the lens of the viewer and ask yourself: what’s in it for me if I watch this? If you find the video is more about appeasing yourself or your business interests, then you need to revisit your plan because your audience inherently knows the difference. If you are short on content, use case studies and customer testimonials. Both are fantastic tools to use to tell an authentic story. The other part of this is making sure your viewers can relate to your content.

So, setting aside any viral aspirations, the question becomes not if you should create a video, but how do you create videos that are effective and get watched? We sat down with Tracey Spaulding, head writer and producer of Lansing-based Cold Box Films to discuss what needs to happen first before yelling, “action!” 1. DETERMINE WHY YOU NEED A VIDEO It’s natural to want to jump into creating a video thinking you can figure it out as you go. “It’s a common mistake,” said Spaulding. “We see lots of businesses create a video then try to figure out how to get people to watch it. That approach wastes a lot of money. The days of ‘If you build it, they will come’ are long behind us.” Spaulding says to take the time to write up a quick plan by answering these questions: • What do you hope this video accomplishes for you? • Who should see it? • Where are people going to see it? • How are you going to get people to watch it?

Planning saves time and money in the production stage. Photo by PATRICK KERWIN

You should revisit these questions and your answers often to keep the project and everyone involved, on track. “Consider your plan to be the foundation of your project,” said Spaulding. 2. FLUSH OUT YOUR STORY It’s tempting to just wing it to give the impression of authenticity, thinking viewers will be enamored with the visuals or the information you’re providing. Nothing can be further from the truth, says Spaulding.

For example, if your video showcases people, how are these characters reflective of your audience? Will they see themselves in them? The more your viewers can identify with what they see (and who they see) onscreen, the more likely it is that they will agree with your message. This is POWERFUL. 3. FOCUS. FOCUS. FOCUS This point is so important it bears repeating, says Spaulding. Focus your video on a single topic with a single objective. It’s tempting to continued on page 18 WWW.RETAILERS.COM AUG / SEP 2021

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FEB/MAR 2021

Michigan

The official publication of the Michigan Retailers Association

www.retailers.com

RESILIENCE BUILDS LEGACY Carson City Lumber Determined to Make it Through Century Mark Dublin Jerky & BBQ: A Lesson in Tenacity Tips to Keep Your Website in Working Order In Her Own Words: Ann Arbor’s Mast Shoes Chris Copp and father Gary Copp pose in a lumber storage warehouse area at Carson City Lumber Co. in Carson City, MI.

Volume 46 No. 1

OCT/NOV 2020

AUG/SEP 2020

The official publication of the Michigan Retailers Association

The official publication of the Michigan Retailers Association

www.retailers.com

www.retailers.com

Painting spree

Gearing up

Murals: Are they right for your building?

Shoppers head outdoors

Election: MRA’s Friends of Retail

Artist Brian Whitfield is painting a mural for Meijer’s new urban market opening in mid-October in downtown Lansing.

Retail liability issues during COVID-19

Your pandemic compliance guide 2020 scholarship winners named

What downtowns are doing to help retail

Calming down angry customers Backcountry North’s Alan Schug poses with high-end kayaks. But the Traverse City store’s ceiling typically has several lower-priced options hanging from the ceiling. They’ve all sold.

Volume 45 No. 5

Volume 45 No. 4

DEC 2020/ JAN 2021

DEC 2019/ JAN 2020

The official publication of the Michigan Retailers Association

The official publication of the Michigan Retailers Association

www.retailers.com

www.retailers.com

An iconic clothier

PIVOTING

Hand sanitizer helps distillery weather COVID

How Kositchek’s has stayed relevant for 154 years

Music stores find ways to keep us in tune

Enroll for your share of the VISA/MasterCard class action suit Know the legal pitfalls of putting merchandise on sale

Tips to embrace winter and maintain sales MRA’s Shop 3 Challenge

Your 2020 retail calendar

David Kositchek has mastered the art of retail as a fourth-generation clothier.

A customer enjoys a beer brewed by Michigrain, a Lansing distillery that changed course during the pandemic.

Volume 45 No. 6

Volume 44 No. 6

Your loyalty means more perks as an MRA member!

It pays to be loyal!

Introducing RIC Save 10, our new affiliated discount program. Save 10 percent on your workers’ compensation premium when you sign up for other MRA services. You enjoy MRA member services, now enjoy one more added benefit.

Contact your MRA Rep today to learn more:

800.366.3699 mra@retailers.com Retailers.com 072821

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MICHIGAN RETAILER AUG / SEP 2021


5 costly insurance claims mistakes you make daily By BRETT GERRISH Retailers Insurance Company works on behalf of businesses across the state and, while many are doing all the right things, many more are making costly mistakes. The good news? These daily errors can be easily fixed — if you work at it. Here are five of the costliest claims mistakes being made by businesses today. If you and your team can hit “pause” and make real changes, you’ll be able to decrease the cost of claims, reduce litigation, improve future premiums, and get employees back to work faster. 1. BEING SLOW TO REPORT CLAIMS & IGNORING INCIDENTS The average time to report a claim varies from days to weeks, but every minute missed represents a significant hike to your premiums. One study showed a 22% cost reduction for claims reported within two days compared to claims reported after 10 or more days — those are real savings!

“The average time to report a claim varies from days to weeks, but every minute missed represents a significant hike to your premiums.” 3. CHOOSING CONFRONTATION OVER EMPATHY While most employers believe they prioritize employee safety, it isn’t always made clear to employees. Some don’t report injuries out of skepticism about your reaction or fearing that they’ll be sent home. This is why empathy matters. Make sure your workforce knows you value their contributions. When they know you care, they will be quicker to report on-site injuries because you have their best interest at heart. 4. IGNORING YOUR REAL SUSPICIONS Unfortunately, insurance fraud is real and you shouldn’t ignore your suspicions. Many employers believe that claims adjustors can’t or won’t take suspicious circumstances into account. In fact, more information available usually leads to more sound decisions and fewer incidents of fraud. All employers are encouraged to speak with injured workers, on-site supervisors, and any potential witnesses to the accident as soon as possible. By getting an immediate and accurate account of what happened, you’ll minimize the likelihood of false or unwarranted claims.

It’s important that you make the effort to report all incidents in a timely manner and communicate the importance of on-the-job injury disclosure with your employees. Not every incident rises to the level of a claim, but all incidents should be documented in case they do. For easier reporting, Retailers Insurance Company offers employers access to both its Clinical Consultation service line (866.764.7705) and a 24/7 online claims filing service — www. retailersinsurance.com > Policyholders > File a Claim. 2. LACKING EXISTING SAFETY PLANS AND PROCEDURES You can encourage early reporting of incidents by making it part of a broader, company-wide culture of safety-mindedness. You can do this by: • Designate a single person or department to oversee incidents and be a place employees can go to report on-site injuries • Highlight safety standards and processes from the moment of hire as part of new employee onboarding • Hold regular safety meetings and encouraging your workers to speak to management about any concerns

5. LACKING A RETURN-TO-WORK (RTW) PROGRAM Many businesses don’t have a plan for bringing workers back to work and it will cost them dollars and talent. One study by Crawford & Company saw employees at companies with RTW programs reach “maximum medical improvement” after just five weeks, compared to 13 weeks at businesses without an RTW programs. It’s also a fact that, by 12 weeks, employees have only a 50% chance of ever returning to work. By bringing employees back to work as soon as possible — even if roles and responsibilities have to be adjusted — you’ll reduce costs and reinforce the value employees have to the success of your company. MOVING FORWARD Unsure of your next step? Give Retailers Insurance Company a call at 800.366.3699 and their experts can provide you with valuable resources, assist you in navigating the complexities of the insurance claims process, and help you avoid making these and other costly mistakes. WWW.RETAILERS.COM AUG / SEP 2021

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students receive Retailers scholarships

MRA’s annual scholarship competi• The Bill Golden Legacy Scholartion awarded 26 college students ship, established by Bill Golden, for the 2021-22 academic year. The co-president of Golden Shoes in awards are funded by the Michigan Traverse City. Retailers Foundation and contributions from MRA members and other To date, the program has awarded donors. Award amounts range from $615,250 to 601 recipients since $1,000 - $1,500 per recipient. 1999. Scholarship recipients were chosen by a third-party administrator New 2021-22 awards include: - International Scholarship and Tuition • The W. Bruce and Joyce M. Rog- Services. ers Legacy Scholarship, established by long-time retail advocate, W. Bruce Rogers; and

Maria Adamo Shelby Township Target Corporation Platinum Legacy Scholarship • Miami University • Business Management • Freshman

Emma Allen Holland Fred and Lillian Sherman Legacy Scholarship • University of Michigan • Communications • Sophomore

Jacob Dunwoody Caledonia Orin and Tina Mazzoni and Family Legacy Scholarship • Grand Valley State University • Geological Sciences • Freshman

Jacob Flickinger Grand Rapids Al Kessel Memorial Scholarship • Grand Valley State University • Criminal Justice & Law Enforcement • Sophomore

Michael Flickinger Grand Rapids Paul M. Felice Memorial Scholarship • Grand Valley State University • Medical Engineering • Senior

Mark Formosa Grosse Ile Raymond A. and Mildred C. Sobelton Platinum Legacy Scholarship • University of Detroit Mercy • Business • Freshman

Isabelle Fritz Mount Pleasant Jean L. Sarasin Legacy Scholarship • Grand Valley State University • Accounting • Freshman

Keaton Ludwig Hale Bill Golden Legacy Scholarship • Alpena Community College • Applied Science • Freshman

Danielle Nowak Brecksville, Ohio Mark Schrag Legacy Scholarship • Ohio State University • Marketing • Junior

Kal O’Brien Mackinaw City Thomas Ungrodt Legacy Scholarship • Marymount College • Marketing • Freshman

Keegan Rumler Jackson Kenneth A. and Margaret Schwark Legacy Scholarship • Michigan State University • Physical Therapy • Senior

Jaydynn Schut Middleville Nathan Rosenfeld Legacy Scholarship • Grand Rapids Community College • Physical Education • Sophomore

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MICHIGAN RETAILER AUG / SEP 2021


Lauren Aymen Bad Axe Helen McCurry Legacy Scholarship • Central Michigan University • Neuroscience • Senior

Avery Coleman Hale Kenneth A. and Margaret Schwark Legacy Scholarship • Michigan State University • Environmental Sciences • Freshman

Jacob Dafoe Laingsburg Willis W. and Mary Jane Marshall Memorial Legacy Scholarship • Lansing Community College • Music Performance & Management • Sophomore

Jordyn Disbrow Kalkaska W. Bruce and Joyce M. Rogers Legacy Scholarship • University of Michigan • Biology • Freshman

Melissa Draves Midland Brines Family Legacy Scholarship • Iowa State University • Genetics • Senior

Mason Gabriel Muskegon Paul M. Felice Memorial Scholarship • Grand Valley State University • Education • Junior

Christopher Garbe Kawkawlin Al Kessel Memorial Scholarship • Grand Valley State University • Biology • Senior

Olivia Garbe Kawkawlin Walsh Family Legacy Scholarship • Central Michigan University • Health Services & Technology • Sophomore

Jadyn Hackmann Ypsilanti Linda Mayleben Legacy Scholarship • Concordia University • Nursing • Freshman

Morgan LeFaive Jackson Judy and Rodney Phillips Legacy Scholarship • University of Michigan • Electrical Engineering • Freshman

Madison Timmreck Alpena D. Larry Sherman Legacy Scholarship • University of Michigan • Business • Sophomore

Josephine Van Dam Grand Rapids William J. Hallan MRA President and CEO Legacy Scholarship • Pepperdine University • Nutritional Science • Sophomore

Kallan Williams Charlevoix Joseph Swanson Platinum Legacy Scholarship • Michigan State University • Packaging Engineering • Freshman

Madilyn Wojdula Reese Barb Stein Legacy Scholarship • Grand Valley State University • Physical Therapy • Freshman

The scholarships are funded by the Michigan Retailers Foundation from earnings on tax-deductible contributions from MRA members and other generous donors.

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USA-IT: working together to curb illegal trade in Michigan By KRISTIN REIF, Director of External Affairs, Philip Morris International Illegal trade takes many nefarious forms and is perpetrated by a shadowy web of criminal and terror organizations. Regardless of the commodity, criminals will traffic anything that earns a profit— from items often viewed as “victimless crimes” like counterfeit luxury purses and apparel to dangerous contraband like illicit drugs and weapons. Transnational crime facilitated by illegal trade is a $2.2 trillion-a-year industry and has far-reaching consequences around the globe and across the United States. And Michigan is no exception. Michigan is best known as the car capital of the world, but it’s less well known for something equally significant: the world’s busiest commercial border crossing where the Detroit River meets Canada.

from cocaine with 768 fatalities in 2018. The state also ranks seventh in U.S. in human trafficking cases, with 1,871 cases since 2007—and those only account for the cases that were reported. A problem of this magnitude cannot be tackled by a single agency, government, or industry. Curbing illegal trade requires cooperation and public-private partnerships, making full use of existing expertise, information sharing, innovative solutions, and evolving technologies. Public actors, the private sector, and civil society alike all have a role to play.

Though famous as a key industry in Michigan, the U.S automotive industry is also famous amongst black market traffickers as a source of immense profit. Across the country, the industry loses an estimated $3 billion annually due to service parts counterfeiting. The Detroit border crossing handles more than $206 billion in cross-border commodities annually, with more than 13,000 trucks and 25,000 automobiles driving through every single day. Inevitably, the border crossing has also emerged as a major conduit for transportation of illicit substances from Canada, including large quantities of illegal drugs. But drugs are by no means the only product trafficked by black market criminals. Often regarded as a global problem, the tenacles of illegal trade are evident in the U.S. and in Michigan.

For years, retailers have been challenged by the growing problem of online counterfeit goods. This problem, ranging from the sale of fake sneakers to pirated software, has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the pandemic began, online counterfeited products rose by nearly 40 percent. Criminals even took advantage of customers’ fears and sold mountains of counterfeit personal protective equipment (PPE) to unsuspecting Americans. Michigan also contends with a formidable trade in illegal tobacco products, which costs the state and its taxpayers $207 million every year. Instead of funding critical services for all Michiganders, those lost millions are profiteered by criminals and often feed directly into other forms of organized crime, including drugs and human trafficking Despite the best efforts of law enforcement, Michigan is a hot spot for illegal trade. The Office of National Drug Control Policy lists 12 Michigan counties as high intensity drug trafficking areas—Michigan had the seventh-most deaths in the country 14

MICHIGAN RETAILER AUG / SEP 2021

That’s why a coalition of national and state brand enforcement experts, law enforcement agencies, and leading business organizations have come together to form United to Safeguard America from Illegal Trade (USA-IT). USA-IT is providing local officials, law enforcement, and other thought leaders with information and training programs to help tackle illegal trade and raising public awareness of the depth of the problem as well as the severe consequences inflicted on states and municipalities by black market profiteers. USA-IT is proud to partner with the the Michigan Retailers Association (MRA) in the fight against black market criminality. MRA members provide their customers with high quality products and are on the front lines of the fight against counterfeit or expired products that could negatively impact the lives of customers and their families. By working together, we can better confront the scourge of illegal trade, hold criminals accountable, and build a safer and more prosperous Michigan.


Michigan Retailers Continue to

Rebound from the Pandemic Michigan Retailers Association conducted a survey among its members to understand the impact of the pandemic on business and how they’ve fared during this recovery period.

31%

report sales are outperforming pre-pandemic sales

6 of10

67% adopted new methods to stay in touch with customers

did not lay off employees

57%

SALES

57%

believe business is rebounding

gained new customers or retained them

60%

84%

received round 1 of Federal Paycheck Protection Program

added new customer services such as curbside, online ordering and delivery. Some added Facebook live shopping and zoom shopping

67% plan to keep their new services in place

PPP 73%

will not require employees to be vaccinated in order to work

60% 65% have been vaccinated

have supply chain issues.

50% expect this to continue through 2021

061521

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In their own words

Deidre Weller, owner, of thistle in Charlevoix, MI in the store.

thistle

Member since: 2021 Owners: Deidre Weller Location: 205 Bridge St., Charlevoix Opened: 2016 Specialties: Women’s clothing, unique accessories and gifts, dog gifts

Story by RACHEL SCHRAUBEN Photos by STEVE JESSMORE Does your business have a unique story? Contact rschrauben@retailers.com.

Deidre Weller’s love for fashion took a backseat as she worked as a public accountant and then in healthcare finance for 30 years. However, during her shopping trips, she could see there were opportunities to improve customer service in some of the boutiques she frequented. While driving through downtown Charlevoix in 2018, she saw a retail space was available. Weller treated it as a sign – she was going to open a boutique where women would feel welcome, confident, and comfortable. Within 30 days, Weller had signed the lease, given notice to her employer, and began her journey as a small business owner of thistle, a women’s clothing boutique in the heart of downtown Charlevoix. This is her story, in her own words. When I was deciding on a name for the store, I knew I wanted it to be one word and I knew the color theme would involve purple. I created a list of possible names and kept going through it, showing it to friends and family. ‘thistle’ just caught my heart. After I chose the name, my mom gifted me a set of antique dishes from her mother that had emblems of thistles on them. I had no idea they existed and it made the name that much more special to me. We greet everyone when they come in. Our goal is to provide an exceptional shopping experience. I want

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MICHIGAN RETAILER AUG / SEP 2021


you to remember your trip to thistle and think of us again and again, even if it’s just to stop in and say “Hello.” We want to make women feel beautiful no matter what they’re wearing. One of the hardest, but most rewarding things about owning this boutique is helping women overcome a negative body image. We try to help them gain the confidence they deserve. I’ve been blessed with great staff that understand my vision. They want to support and uplift women. One of the biggest misconceptions of the boutique is that we only carry high priced items. One of my key tenets is that we carry items at a variety of price points. The key features of the lines we carry are quality, comfort, style, and versatility. My vision for the boutique has always been to have it feel elegant and special, while still being welcoming and comfortable. Our Frenchie Style was inspired by… My French bulldog, Francois. I know how important dogs and pets are to their families. I wanted a way to offer dog parents something fun too. We have our best-seller, the doggie denim, custom denim jackets and so unique. All the products we sell are personally tested by Francois for their style factor, flavor, and durability! He even helps out in the store. Our community was so supportive and truly amazing this past year. In the early days of the pandemic our community supported businesses through phone orders, curbside shopping, and online orders. They showed support through social media by sending encouraging messages. Honestly, they were our beacon. They gave us hope that we might make it through. It was very frightening in the early days. Knowing that our community rallied to help us speaks to the love they have for local stores. They want us to survive and thrive. I joined the Michigan Retailers Association because… The camaraderie amongst other retailers is so helpful and was truly a lifeline during the past year. The lobbying efforts and regulatory assistance are so important. In my opinion, membership to MRA is actually an incredible value for all the services you receive. I also joined the Michigan Retailers Strategizing Together Facebook group for ideas and advice during the pandemic. I first learned about MRA through the Buy Nearby campaign. This year, it will be BIG! I’ve missed being able to have fun with customers and host events. The specifics are in the works, but I would like to do something special to say “Thank You” for all the support that got us through the worst of the pandemic.

Buy Nearby Weekend 2021 is Oct. 1-3! Visit buynearbymi.com/news for the latest on what’s happening.

Top to bottom: “Francois” wearing the doggie denim custom jacket; details and clothing for sale; thistle offers stylish options in a comfortable and elegant setting; Stylist Raven Gank arranges display; thistle stylists are trained to help customers find that perfect piece; thistle’s unique collections draws customers from across the country. WWW.RETAILERS.COM AUG / SEP 2021

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Five steps: video continued from page 9

think more is more, but that logic tends to confuse the viewer and your original intent could be lost on them.

brands add a CTA earlier in videos to get viewers to click through. Spaulding isn’t a big fan of this approach.

“It’s tempting for brands to want to ‘say it all’ in one video, but that usually proves to be ineffective,” said Spaulding. “It’s better to be brief and create more videos on separate topics like a series versus cramming everything into one video.”

“If you’re telling a good story, the end of the video is the perfect spot for your call-to-action, said Spaulding. “In my opinion, the beginning of the video grabs the attention, the middle earns their trust, and the end plants ‘the ask’.” Spaulding notes that too many brands don’t include “an ask.” “This is a crazy missed opportunity,” said Spaulding.

Spaulding is also a big proponent of planning your video’s messaging in the form of scripts and storyboards BEFORE the camera rolls. This ensures you and the project stakeholders are fully aligned on your vision. Taking this action will mitigate costly revisions down the road. Plan your video’s message using scripts and storyboards.

Make time for script read-throughs and rehearsals, so all participants understand their cues and are comfortable with the material.

“Great videos are made in the planning phase, which is where my team spends the MOST time, said Spaulding, “Showing up to set and ‘figuring-it-out-as-you-go’ is a recipe for regret later.” 4. OPTIMIZE YOUR VIDEO FOR SEARCH This is a dry task, but necessary. YouTube is full of videos that people never watch. Viewers primarily use search to find videos. A video’s title and description are the most common reason why viewers choose a video to watch says Spaulding. Also, using closed captions help from a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) perspective by increasing your video’s chance to be found. “We live in a multitasking world,” said Spaulding. “Most viewers watch videos on mute. Adding captions helps to keep your audience engaged and will draw more eyeballs to your content.” As you plan your video’s content, do a search to see what viewers are searching for that connects with your product or message. There are many guides on how to optimize video for search. Do a quick Google search to find one that’s right for you. 5. WHAT DO YOU WANT VIEWERS TO DO ONCE THEY WATCH? At the end of the video, it comes down to the brass tax – the callto-action (CTA). Once a viewer watches the video, what action do you want them to take? Share the video? Call you for more information? Sign up for a seminar? “A call-to-action is like shinning a light down a path to purchase,” said Spaulding. “A call-to-action is your moment to start a new connection with a potential customer.” Because of brief attention spans, there have been instances where 18

MICHIGAN RETAILER AUG / SEP 2021

“The key to getting viewers to watch your video until the end is to tell them a great story,” said Spaulding. “It’s also important to do that within a timeframe that’s easy to commit to.”

As like most social media tools, start small with your video efforts, and learn as you go, says Spaulding. “You’ll notice most brands leverage a mix of video content from Instagram reels to highly produced commercials,” said Spaulding, “Both have their place. If you’re looking to dip your toe in the water start with low-risk options like Tik Toks or Instagram stories so you can see what gels with your audience.”

Surprising Video Stats 1. By 2022, online videos will make up more than 82% of all consumer internet traffic. (Cisco) 2. Today, 83.3% of internet users in the US access video content. (Statista) 3. 78% of people watch videos every week, and 55% view videos every day. (Social Media Week) 4. Studies show that 54% of consumers want more video content from a brand or business they support. (HubSpot) 5. 72% of customers said they would rather learn about a product or service through video. (Optinmonster) 6. Viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video, compared to 10% when reading it. (Insivia) 7. Including a video on your landing page can boost your conversion rate by up to 80%. (WordStream) 8. 6 out of 10 people prefer watching video content compared to TV. (Think with Google) 9. 40% of shoppers said that they purchased products that they had discovered on YouTube. (Think with Google) 10. Emails with the word ‘video’ in the subject are opened 7% more than emails without it. (Social Media Week)


catch-all drawer The

MICHIGAN JUMPS 13 SPOTS IN CNBC’S TOP STATES FOR BUSINESS RANKING In CNBC’s Top States for Business annual ranking, Michigan landed the #11 spot, marking a 13-spot improvement in the ranking from 2019. Michigan increased its scores in education and infrastructure, with high scores in the categories of technology & innovation, cost of living and cost of doing business helping drive the jump in the ranking. Michigan scored high in the technology & innovation category, which looks at factors including patents issued per capita and the vitality of the state’s technology ecosystem based on people, companies, and investment. With the world’s largest tech companies including Amazon, Microsoft and Google investing in Michigan, the state is also home to hundreds of startups across a broad cross section of the tech world. Here are some examples of recent tech investments in Michigan. • Tier 1 supplier American Axle & Manufacturing Inc. investing $38.6 million and adding 100 new jobs in Three Rivers • Whirlpool investing $60 million to rehabilitate and reconstruct its Global Laundry and Dishwasher Technical Center in St. Joseph and launch an innovative new development for workforce housing in Benton Harbor • Storage products manufacturer Speedrack Products investing $64.5 million and adding 164 new jobs in Walker • Tier 1 supplier Flex-N-Gate investing $52.1 million and adding 245 new jobs in Troy • Software developer TechSmith investing $15 million and adding 50 new jobs at a new global headquarters in East Lansing • Boston-based XL Fleet investing $1.2 million and adding nearly 50 new jobs at its new Fleet Electrification Technology Center in Wixom • Mission Design and Automation investing $5.3 million, adding 109 new jobs at its headquarters in Holland and supporting Industry 4.0 adoption efforts in the state. • Superior Extrusion, Inc. in Marquette County, adding 44 new jobs as part of one of the largest manufacturing expansions in the Upper Peninsula in several years. MEDC LAUNCHES CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGN The Lansing Makers Network is growing into a new space that will expand its programming and operations with the help of a new crowdfunding campaign, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and nonprofit Lansing Makers Network. If the campaign reaches its crowdfunding goal of $50,000 by September 10, the project will win a matching grant with funds made possible by MEDC’s Public Spaces Community Places program. Lansing Makers Network (LMN) is a maker’s space for hobbyists, entrepreneurs, artists, and engineers to meet, make, learn, and teach together. With tools and equipment for woodwork-

Tidbits to make business easier

ing, blacksmithing, metalworking, machining, jewelry-making, laser-cutting, 3D printing, sewing, and more, LMN provides a space for tinkerers to play and entrepreneurs to grow. Through this campaign, LMN will move into a larger and more accessible space allowing the nonprofit to host more makers and events. They will also be able to create and expand youth and adult programming in the space, invest in new equipment and infrastructural improvements, and expand free services they offer to the public. For project details and to donate, please visit: patronicity.com/lansingmakers. REFER A BUSINESS, GET $50 Being an MRA Members pays off. Tell us about someone who would benefit by being a member of MRA. When you refer a business that joins MRA, we will pay you a $50 Referral Bonus. Contact MRA Customer Service at 800.366.3699 to learn more. HELP AVAILABLE FOR MICHIGAN RESTAURANTS The American Rescue Plan Act established the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) to provide funding to help restaurants and other eligible businesses keep their doors open. This program will provide restaurants with funding equal to their pandemicrelated revenue loss up to $10 million per business and no more than $5 million per physical location. Recipients are not required to repay the funding if funds are used for eligible uses no later than March 11, 2023. For more information on eligibility and to apply, visit www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/ covid-19-relief-options. THE CITY OF HOUGHTON RECEIVES CERTIFICATION AS REDEVELOPMENT READY COMMUNITY The city of Houghton has been awarded the Redevelopment Ready Communities (RRC) certification by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) recently. As an RRC participant, Houghton received a comprehensive assessment that measured current community and economic development practices. The program evaluates and certifies communities that integrate transparency, predictability, and efficiency into economic development practices. Certification status is a compelling indicator that a community has removed development barriers and streamlined processes to be more competitive and attractive to investors. Houghton joins an elite group of 58 Michigan communities that have qualified as “thoroughly prepared” when it comes to planning and zoning. continued on page 20 WWW.RETAILERS.COM AUG / SEP 2021

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$150M LOCAL PARKS & TRAILS INVESTMENT PROPOSED Governor Whitmer recently announced a historic planned investment of $150 million in Michigan’s community parks and recreation facilities. The funds would address critical needs in local park systems with funding from President Biden’s American Rescue Plan. Together with the Governor’s previously announced investment in State Parks, the plan would create more jobs across the state. Over the past five years, the state has averaged almost $40 million a year in grant applications to the DNR Natural Resources Trust Fund, Recreation Passport Grants, and Land and Water Conservation Fund. Nearly $20 million of those annual requests could not be funded because of limited resources. Governor Whitmer’s proposed investment would close this gap and ensure that every community has safe, clean, and beautiful outdoor recreation spaces. S&P BOOSTS MICHIGAN’S CREDIT RATING OUTLOOK The State of Michigan’s improving economy and multi-billion-dollar revenue surplus coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic have prompted S&P Global Ratings to improve the state’s credit rating outlook from “negative” to “stable” – an affirmation that Michigan is headed in the right direction. This is the second credit rating boost the state has received in the last month, a sign of growing confidence in Michigan’s communities and small businesses. The State of Michigan recently announced new revenue projections taking the state from a nearly $3 billion deficit to a $3.5 billion surplus.

MICHIGAN INVESTS IN TRAINING TO GET MICHIGANDERS BACK TO WORK Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) announced the recipients of grants totaling more than $15.6 million to help get Michigan back to work. The Michigan Learning and Education Advancement Program (MiLEAP) grants have been awarded to 10 groups who will work as Regional Consortia to assist job seekers in transitioning from education and training programs to high-skill, high-wage careers, resulting in industry-recognized credential attainment and reduced educational debt. In all, the $15.6 million investment will allow the 10 awardees to serve an estimated 5,069 participants. • Upper Peninsula Michigan Works! (450 participants, awarded $1.6M) • Southeast Michigan Community Alliance (556 participants, $1.9M) • Networks Northwest dba Northwest Michigan Works! (375 participants, $1M) • West Michigan Works! (667 participants, $2M) • Oakland County Michigan Works! (667 participants, $2M • Berrien-Cass-Van Buren Michigan Works! (670 participants, $2M) • Kalamazoo Valley Community College and Southwest Partnership (444 participants, $1M) • Michigan Works! Northeast Consortium (460 participants, $1.3M) • Michigan Works! West Central (180 participants, $540,000) • Mott Region 6 Consortium (600 participants, $1.7M)

Buy Nearby Weekend

October 1- 3, 2021 Keep your money in the Mitten!®

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MICHIGAN RETAILER AUG / SEP 2021

NEW FILING DEADLINE FOR 2019/2020 EEO-1 COMPONENT 1 REPORTS The deadline to submit and certify your 2019/2020 EEO-1 Component1datahaschanged.Thenewfilingdeadlineisnow Aug.23, 2021. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) encourages employers to file the required EEO-1 Component 1 report(s) as soon as possible. Organizations can file their information through the new EEO-1 Component 1 Online Filing System.

Looking to renew your MRA Membership? We offer three ways to renew. • Pay your annual dues online at www.retailers.com/renew. • Pay by credit card. • Use our auto renew feature by setting up ACH checking by setting for reoccurring payments on an annual basis. Questions? Contact Customer Service at 800.366.3699.


MRA Special Members Only Advertising Packages MRA Local Business Package To reach your hyper-local audience with engaging ads published alongside quality local content on the

#1 News Website in Michigan.

MRA Local Video Business Package To reach your hyper-local audience with engaging ads and VIDEO published alongside quality local content on the #1 News Website in Michigan.

80,000 Monthly Display Impressions – Local Geo and Behaviorally Targeted

100,000 Impressions – Local Geo and Behaviorally Targeted

MRA MEMBERSHIP PACKAGE RATES

MRA MEMBERSHIP PACKAGE RATES

 $658/month with 12-month commitment

 $864/month with 12-month commitment

 $759/month with 6-month commitment

 $1000/month with 6-month commitment

 $915/month with 3-month commitment

 $1240/month with 3-month commitment

($992/month Regular Retail Rate)

• 80,000 Display Impressions • 20,000 Native Video Impressions

($1352/month Regular Retail Rate)

Video Asset Creation: 15-Second Professional Montage Video $330

Need More Advertising Reach & Impressions? Take Advantage of the Boost Options available during the duration of your package. Minimum 3-month commitment. Additional MLive Display Impressions $7.20 CPM Additional MLive Video Impressions $14.40 CPM

As a member of the Michigan Retailers Association, you also qualify for specials on many other advertising options through MLive. For further information please contact Laura Wiltz 616.813.6138 lwiltz@mlive.com If you are a current MLive Customer, please contact your account rep directly with any questions about how this or other promotions may be leveraged to your campaigns.

WWW.RETAILERS.COM AUG / SEP 2021

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New members Harry’s One Stop, Allendale Campus Party Store, Allendale Wolverine Swim Camps LLC, Ann Arbor AJ’s Walleye Lodge Bar & Grille, Bergland Trojan Tavern Inc., Blanchard Rusted Spoke Brewing Co., Brighton J & M Industrial Services Inc., Chesterfield Woody’s Oasis Mediterranean LLC, East Lansing iHemp Manufacturing, Fenton Pavilion Consulting Services LLC, Fort Gratiot Munsell’s Poultry Processing LLC, Fowlerville AB A2 Hospitality LLC dba Sylvan Inn, Glen Arbor Pat Reilly Trucking, Grand Ledge J & K Catering Inc., Grand Ledge Delight in Designs, Grand Rapids DEMA Grand Rapids, Grand Rapids North Side Lefty’s LLC, Grand Rapids Luna Textiles Inc., Grand Rapids Rico’s Cafe & Pizzeria Inc., Grawn Biological Mediation Systems LLC, Hillsdale Cake Management LLC, Holland 441US31 LLC dba The Tap Room, Holland Crystal Image Detailing LLC, Hudsonville Vista Grande Villa, Jackson Solidworks Conrete Construction LLC, Jenison Automated Machine Systems Inc., Jenison Open Roads Bike Program, Kalamazoo

Family Rootz LLC, Lansing Alcona County Commission on Aging, Lincoln The Epworth Assembly, Ludington Mustang Lounge, Mackinac Island Lake Erie Transportation Commission, Monroe Meyer Well Drilling, Montague Mt. Pleasant Recreational Sales LLC, Mount Pleasant C & O Sportswear LLC, Mount Pleasant Industrial Metal Cleaning Corp., Norton Shores Healthy Futures Organic Feed Supply, Ortonville Beacon Home Care LLC, Port Huron Crossroads Saloon Inc., Rapid City Crooked Creek Investment Company, Saginaw Essential Sleep Solutions LLC, Saginaw Knights of Columbus Local 593, Saginaw Hutson Inc. of Michigan, Saint Louis Kalamazoo County Masonic Ctr. Bldg Assn., Schoolcraft My Natural Doctor PMA, Scottville Camper & Carts LLC, Scottville Omni Electric LLC, Shelby Twp Six Lakes Hardware, Six Lakes Odawa Agriculture, South Haven Cheri Hill Kennel & Supply Inc., Stanwood Industrial Door & Weatherstrip, Sterling Heights Animal Blood Bank Inc., Stockbridge Tandem Ciders Inc., Suttons Bay Integrity Test & Balance Inc., Traverse City

CREATE VIDEOS THAT DEMAND ATTENTION. Michigan video production for brands that want more from their content.

Cold Box Films | 517-230-2890 22

MICHIGAN RETAILER AUG / SEP 2021

See our work at coldboxfilms.com


Got a business question? Ask Us First! We get plenty of inquiries on how to run a business or navigate state agencies. Instead of getting stuck on hold with a state department or searching the internet, call or email us with your questions and we’ll get you answers. MRA offers tons of legal, governmental, retail, insurance and technical expertise. Why not take advantage of it?

Send us your questions two ways: • Call 800.366.3699, or • Email askusfirst@retailers.com 071921

MRA’s Advocacy Fund

Help us get a better seat at the table for you! MRA’s Advocacy Fund boosts MRA’s lobbying efforts to support retail in Michigan. The fund helps educate elected officials on retail issues and provides non-political contributions to their efforts. The Advocacy Fund is another way MRA shows appreciation to Michigan leaders who stand by retailers in the Mitten. Contributions to the fund can be made from business accounts.

To contribute, please send a check made payable to “MRA.” In the notes line, indicate “MRA Advocacy Fund.”

Contributions should be sent to: Michigan Retailers Association, Attn.: Amy Drumm 603 S. Washington Ave., Lansing, MI 48933 072321

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603 South Washington Avenue Lansing, MI 48933 Phone: 517.372.5656 Toll-free: 800.366.3699