Page 1


Minimum Wage Rising

The state’s minimum wage will increase to $8.90 an hour on January 1, up from the current $8.50. Page 2


Steady Job Growth


Reduced Dental Rates

Economists forecast Michigan employers will create more than 90,000 jobs during the next two years. Page 3

Retailers Insurance Company is reducing dental rates for 2017 because of the program’s positive performance. Page 10

® December 2016 Vol. 41 No. 6

MRA fighting legislation making employers collect all cities’ income taxes Bills working their way through the Michigan Legislature would severely penalize employers who hire residents of cities that impose a local income tax, MRA is telling lawmakers. At a November 28 news conference, MRA and other business groups said the legislation to make employers responsible for withholding city income taxes for all the communities where their workers live would harm businesses and the state’s economy. “Senate Bill 1127 and House Bill 4829 are government-imposed mandates on job providers in response to cities that complain they are losing revenue because they are ineffective at collections or due to taxpayer fraud,” said MRA’s Amy Drumm, vice president of government affairs. “Shifting their governmental responsibilities onto employers who otherwise have nothing to do with the city in question is unwise and unfair.” Current Law Twenty-two Michigan cities impose a local city income tax. Under current law, employers located in a city with an income tax have an obligation to withhold and remit the tax on behalf of their employees. Drumm said current law is legally sound because the employer has a connection to the city and receives services from city government. But requiring employers who have no connection to a city to be its tax collector is legally suspect and creates a tremendous and costly amount of complexity for payroll withholding. “The legislation would require businesses to get tangled up in administrative red tape to withhold and remit taxes to numerous additional taxing entities, without receiving any Continued on page 4

The official publication of Michigan Retailers Association

Foundation boosting scholarships MRA scholarship amounts will increase significantly for 2017. The Michigan Retailers Foundation Board of Directors approved boosting scholarships for students of four-year colleges and universities to $1,500, up 50 percent from the current $1,000.

Scholarships for students at community colleges and approved training institutes will jump to $1,000, double the current $500 amount. The new amounts will be awarded for the 2017-18 academic year, following the annual scholarship

competition that begins January 1, 2017, and runs through April 1. The amounts had not been changed since 2004, when the scholarships for students of four-year public colleges and universities were raised to $1,000 from $750. Board members took the action on October 25 and said they would like to increase scholarship amounts even more in the near future. They plan to review on an annual basis the feasibility of additional hikes. “The continued success of the scholarship program is a high priority for board members, who also generously support the program with their own donations,” said MRA President and CEO James P. Hallan. “They believe now is a good time to begin increasing scholarship Continued on page 8

Stewart Powell, horologist and owner of Linn & Owen Jewelers in downtown Lansing, is getting the timepieces of MRA’s landmark, four-sided street clock up and running again. Photo by Patrick Kerwin

After searching for affordable repair options with no luck, MRA management was beginning to wonder if the 14-foot-tall structure might need to be decommissioned. “The clock was installed in 2005 as a service to passing motorists and pedestrians and to add to the traditional feel of the 1913 structure that houses MRA offices,” explained James P. Hallan, president and CEO. The two-story building whose exterior resembles a large residence, was constructed by R.E. Olds, founder of Oldsmobile, to serve as the Lansing Women’s Clubs. MRA bought the building in 1998 and moved in early the fol-

by Doug Henze Lessons learned during the Great Recession about cost containment helped boost the 2015 profits of independent hardware stores, home centers and lumberyards, even as customer counts remained flat or declined. That’s according to recent research by the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA), which provides information and services to the more than 35,000 independent hardware stores, home centers and lumber outlets throughout the United States and Canada. The Indianapolis-based group said it used questionnaires to collect financial and operational information from 1,077 retailers for the 2016 Cost of Doing Business Study. “Pretty much across the board, retailers found ways to be more efficient with their operations. That’s been a direct result of having to tighten their belts after the recession,” said Dan Tratensek, vice president of the 115-year-old NRHA and publisher of its Hardware Retailing Magazine.

Continued on page 6

Continued on page 7

Timely troubleshooting – local jeweler rescues clock by Jean B. Eggemeyer The four-sided street clock that stands sentinel over Michigan Retailers Association’s “World Headquarters,” along South Washington Avenue on the edge of downtown Lansing, has been still for many weeks. The high-tech mechanisms that operated the four faces ceased to keep reliable time, and the companies that manufactured and serviced them were long gone.

Recession’s lessons help retail hardware


Michigan Retailer

Year-end musings

Board of Directors: Orin Mazzoni, Jr.

Chair Orin Jewelers, Garden City

by James P. Hallan, MRA President and Chief Executive Officer This issue of Michigan Retailer will be our last for 2016. We will resume publishing in February 2017. All of us at MRA World Headquarters wish you and your family wonderful, safe and prosperous holidays. Thank you for your membership. As we close out the year, I thought I’d share several random, year-end musings. Elections The elections dominated most conversations this year, and seldom has the country been so divided. Social media and round-the-clock news clearly play a part in widening the gap. Let us hope as we approach the New Year that our country can heal itself and come together. It is in everyone’s best interest that whoever occupies the White House succeeds and moves the economy forward. Buy Nearby Guy Our Buy Nearby campaign and the Buy Nearby Guy mascot have resonated with hundreds of thousands of Michiganders because of an overwhelmingly positive message. I look back and think about how a simple idea generated such a multifaceted statewide program that makes everyone feel good and reminds consumers of the importance of Buying Nearby.

Hardware Association In July, we re-created the Michigan Retail Hardware Association as a division of the Michigan Retailers Association and welcomed over 350 independent hardware stores into our membership. We’re delighted to have them join our expanding membership. Legislation Most years the Michigan Legislature dabbles in areas that directly affect your business. This year was no exception, and we engaged lawmakers on several fronts, including assessor over-reach, plastic bag bans, organized retail crime, paint can-return legislation, overtime regulations, administration of new Main Street Fairness laws and a vast array of other issues. We proudly represent the retail community and are honored to be your voice in Lansing. Programs Our key membership services had an excellent year. The MRA merchant processing program services accounts in all 50 states and continues to grow at almost double-digit levels. Retailers Insurance Company, which maintains an “A” financial stability rating by Demotech, also had a very strong year. If you are a RIC policyholder, expect to see a rate decrease in 2017 due to our excellent year of premium growth and risk management. Thank you for participating in these programs. World Headquarters In 1913, R.E. Olds, the founder of Oldsmobile, constructed 603 S. Washington to serve as the Lansing Women’s Clubs. Little did he know that in 1999 it would become MRA

World Headquarters. This year the old building needed a few repairs and now sports a fresh coat of paint along with a new flat and shingled roof. Workers removed five layers of previous flat roofs before starting anew. John Mayleben Long-time Senior Vice President John Mayleben retired at the end of October. Although John retired, he maintains regular communication with us in his valuable new role as MRA merchant processing consultant. Dues Invoices Your dues invoices are in the mail. We sincerely thank you for being part of the largest state retail association in the country. As part of your membership, our sales representatives will be delivering free, updated labor law posters to your business. Personal notes The Hallans have another grandchild on the way. Our youngest daughter is pregnant with her first child and is very excited about this new venture with her husband. If you’re counting, that will make our sixth grandchild. And in case you’re wondering about my golf game, the elusive hole in one is, shall we say, still elusive. Of course, there is always next year. Looking Forward Our Lansing crystal ball for 2017 is optimistic for the retail and business community. Michigan is growing again, unemployment is down, energy prices are stable and our retail index indicates a positive forecast. All of us at MRA send you best wishes for a prosperous new year.

James P. Hallan

President and CEO Michigan Retailers Association

Becky Beauchine Kulka

Vice Chair Becky Beauchine Kulka Diamonds and Fine Jewelry, Okemos

Peter R. Sobelton

Treasurer Mondial Properties, Birmingham

William J. Hallan

Secretary Michigan Retailers Association

Dan Marshall

Past Chair Marshall Music Company, Lansing

Brian Ducharme AT&T Mobility

Ken Hayward

Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island

Joseph McCurry

Credit Card Group

Larry Mullins

Brandon Tire & Auto Service Center, Ortonville

Barb Stein

Great Northern Trading Co., Rockford

Joe Swanson Target Corp.

Thomas Ungrodt

Ideation, Ann Arbor

James Walsh

Meijer, Inc., Grand Rapids

D. Larry Sherman

Board Member Emeritus

Michigan Retailers Services, Inc. Board of Directors: Chad Ayers Allendale True Value, Allendale

Bo Brines

Little Forks Outfitters, Midland

Bill Golden

Golden Shoes, Traverse City

Emily Matthews

Potent Potables Project, Lansing

James P. Hallan Thomas B. Scott Publisher


Pat Kerwin

Design Manager

Minimum wage rises January 1

Publication Office:

Michigan’s minimum wage will increase on January 1 from the current $8.50 an hour to $8.90 an hour. The 40-cent increase was set by Public Act 138 of 2014. That law also provides for another increase, to $9.25 an hour, on January 1, 2018, and future increases based on cost of living. Beginning January 2019, the state treasurer is required to make annual adjustments in the wage, based on the average annual percentage change in the Midwestern Region CPI


for the most recent five-year period. The law covers employers with two or more employees 16 years of age and older. More information about minimum wage, tipped wage and youth wage is available on the updated Wage and Hour Division poster on the website of the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. A link to the poster is provided in MRA’s November 18 Government Affairs News at

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

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.

December 2016



Retailers entered season with positive forecasts line with national projections. The National Retail Federation predicts total sales to increase 3.6 percent and the International Council of Shopping Centers projects 3.3 percent. Michigan’s forecasts differ from national projections in a key way, but still point in the same single-digitpositive direction. National forecasts focus on the year-to-year change in total con-


sumer holiday spending, whereas Michigan’s data show the average increase or decrease that individual retailers anticipate for the holiday season. Buy Nearby Hallan also urged more holiday shoppers to “Buy Nearby” at stores and websites that have invested in Michigan by building stores or In-


15 -16

Performance Index

14 -15












ternet sites here, creating jobs and supporting their local communities and the state’s economy. “Before making purchases, shoppers should think about where their shopping dollars are going,” he said in a news release. “If they shop in Michigan, they are helping their families, neighbors, local communities and their state. If they

Continued on page 7

Michigan Sales Tax Collections

15 -16

Outlook Index


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700 600

669 625 632


617 619

500 400 300























Michigan retailers went into the big Thanksgiving weekend with strong expectations for improved holiday sales over last year. Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of MRA members projected their sales to increase over last year’s, while only 9 percent expected them to slip. Twenty-one percent said their sales would increase by more than 5 percent. Only 5 percent said they would fall by more than 5 percent. Taken together, the forecasts averaged +2.1 percent, up slightly over last year’s projection of +2.0 percent, according to the pre-holiday Michigan Retail Index survey, a joint project of MRA and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. “Retailers are looking at a stronger consumer amid positive economic conditions such as reduced unemployment, higher incomes and low gasoline prices,” James P. Hallan, MRA president and CEO, said in October when the forecasts were released. “The table has been set for a solid holiday shopping season.” Michigan is expected to ring up nearly $20 billion of the nation’s estimated $656 billion in holiday sales. Michigan retailers’ forecasts are in

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.

200 (millions)




Be sure to complete your online survey each month!

Michigan expected to add 90,000 jobs over two years Michigan will continue to see steady job growth during the next two years, but at a slower pace than in the past seven years, according to University of Michigan economists’ annual forecasts. They foresee 41,600 new jobs in 2017 and 50,000 more in 2018, keeping the unemployment rate for both years at its expected 2016 annual average of 4.6 percent. “Those are smaller job additions than we have seen in recent years, consistent with a tightening labor market,” research director George Fulton said in a statement at UM’s 64th Annual Economic Outlook Conference in Ann Arbor. They estimate that by the end of this year, 69,000 new jobs will have been created in 2016. Even with the healthy job gains through 2018, Michigan will still not have replaced all of the jobs lost during the Great Recession and the years leading up to it, the economists pointed out. They said by the end of 2018, Michigan will have gained back 605,700 of the more than 858,000 jobs lost between 2000 and 2009. Where will the new jobs be concentrated? Job gains between now and the

end of 2018 are projected to include: 22,000 construction jobs; 33,000 jobs in professional and business services; 14,000 jobs in leisure and hospitality; and 18,000 jobs in trade, transportation and utilities, with government hiring nearly flat at 1,000 jobs per year. Manufacturing will shed 10,000 jobs over the two-year period, they said. Local Inflation The economists predict local inflation, which was a negative 1.4 percent in 2015 due to the sharp drop in energy prices, will end up at 1.6 percent for 2016. They see it climbing to 2.2 percent next year and edge down to 1.9 percent in 2018. The local rate is slightly higher than the U.S. rate for this year and next, and will be the same in 2018, they said. Personal income growth in Michigan is expected to “soften” to 3.5 percent this year from 4.6 percent in 2015. They expect it to stay at the current level through 2017 and rise to 4.3 percent in 2018. U.S. Outlook Looking at the U.S. economy, the researchers said uncertainty about

the economic policies of the new president provides some risk to their forecasts. They see the first and biggest risk as trade policy because of Donald Trump’s campaign statements about ending the North American Free Trade Agreement and imposing high tariffs on some imported goods. “A full-blown trade war would be a disaster,” Fulton said, adding that he does not expect such a trade war. If those risks do not become real, the economists said, the American economy should continue growing in 2017 and 2018 at a slightly higher

rate than the expected 1.6 percent this year. They see growth rising by 2.3 percent next year and 2.1 percent in 2018. They anticipate the national economy adding two million jobs in 2017, followed by another 1.7 million in 2018. That’s a slowdown from the estimated 2.8 million jobs added in 2015 and again in 2016. Those numbers would drive down U.S. unemployment to 4.7 percent next year and 4.6 percent in 2018. This year’s annual rate would wind up at 4.9 percent, down from 5.3 percent last year.

Michigan Job Growth Forecasts 80,000 70,000 60,000






30,000 20,000 10,000





Michigan Retailer

Cutting your way through Federal judge blocks state government red tape new OT regulations by Amy Drumm

P eop le of te n think only about legislation when they hear the term “government affairs,” but MRA also works with various state departments and agencies to get answers for members. Have an issue with a liquor license or a food safety inspection? Call MRA. Struggling to get an answer from the Unemployment Agency? Have questions about sales tax or business tax filings? Confused about work comp laws? Call MRA. Our contacts throughout state government can help get you an answer quickly, saving you precious time. MRA also has a seat at the table to regularly update state departments, agencies and boards on how the implementation of Michigan laws and regulations is impacting retailers. These include the departments of Treasury, Health and Human Services, and Agriculture and Rural Development, as well as the Board of Pharmacy. We’re also regularly invited to provide comments on potential new laws and policy changes and serve on “work groups” set up by legislators or state departments. In order to best advocate for our

members, we need to know what problems you’re having. When we can identify and bring forward the problems retailers face, we can work toward simplifying and solving these bureaucratic headaches. Most of the state departments and state agencies want to help simplify their processes, but many don’t realize how the rules and regulations they set actually impact businesses of all sizes. Please don’t hesitate to call with questions or problems. If you’re having an issue with a department, your neighboring businesses may have a similar issue. With your input, we can help bureaucrats make reforms to procedures and policies that will make compliance easier for everyone. If the problem is larger than something a department or an agency has the power to change, we can consider seeking a legislative solution. This process of identifying problems or issues at the store or business level is how most ideas for legislative changes begin. MRA Government Affairs can do more for your business. Just give us a call or shoot us an email. Amy Drumm is MRA’s vice president of government affairs and can be reached by calling 800.366.3699 or 517.372.5656 ext. 343 or by email at

(See also page 9) The fate of new and costly federal overtime regulations scheduled to take effect on December 1 was up in the air after a federal judge in Texas blocked their implementation. The judge issued a preliminary injunction on November 22 to give the court more time to consider a lawsuit against the regulations. The lawsuit was brought by 21 state attorneys general, including Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, and more than 50 business organizations. The new U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) regulations would double the salary threshold that triggers automatic overtime pay for non-managerial, full-time, salaried employees for any hours worked beyond a standard 40-hour

workweek. Specifically, the regulations would increase the annual income threshold to $47,476 ($913 weekly), up from $23,660 ($455 weekly). It remained unclear on November 30 (when Michigan Retailer went to press) how much time the court would take before taking additional action. There was speculation the court would not proceed before the new Trump Administration takes office in January. Michigan Retailers Association will continue to monitor the situation and report significant new developments on or through the emailed Government Affairs News. A Q&A on the new regulations is in the News & Events/Blogs section of

MRA fighting city income tax collection legislation Continued from page 1

benefit,” Drumm said. She explained that due to the increased workload, employers that utilize a third-party payroll administrator would likely see a large fee increase to cover the additional administrative requirements.

“If the state makes it so difficult for employers to hire city residents, they may look elsewhere for employees. There are many city residents who are eagerly looking for work, and this legislation throws barriers in front of their opportunities.” As of November 30 (when Michigan Retailer went to press), SB 1127 was on floor of the Senate and HB 4829 was on the floor of the House. Either bill could be acted on in the remaining “lame-duck” days of the 2016 legislative session. The business groups at the news conference collectively called on the legislature to reject the bills and focus instead on productive legislation that does not result in damaging, new burdens being placed on job providers. “The income tax is not a tax that the employer owes or is responsible for. It is a tax on the employee, who is ultimately the responsible party,” Drumm said. “If the cities cannot enforce their own income taxes, perhaps it’s time they reconsider whether a city income tax is right for them. Cities either need to step up their own enforcement game or get out of the income tax business.”

“If the cities cannot enforce their own income taxes, perhaps it’s time they reconsider whether a city income tax is right for them. Cities either need to step up their own enforcement game or get out of the income tax business.”

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And small businesses that do their own payroll manually would be faced with the regulatory nightmare of understanding and complying with as many as 22 different cities’ tax requirements. In addition, employers would face unknown liabilities and never-ending audits, Drumm pointed out. They would be liable for the tax debt as well as penalties and interest and enforcement actions and audits. Backfire “To make matters worse, this mandate could easily backfire,” added Bob VanDeventer, president & CEO of the Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce.

December 2016


RIC: Extending protection against tomorrow’s world by Kurt Dettmer In these times, employers’ risks and exposures are constantly expanding. That’s why, as Michigan’s preferred workers’ compensation insurance car rier, Retailers Insurance Company is always looking for ways to extend coverages and reward policyholders for being proactive in protecting their employees. In 2014 we were the first carrier in the nation to automatically include EFT Guard to our standard policy at no additional charge. You wouldn’t ordinarily associate this coverage – it protects against online theft from business banking – with a workers’ compensation policy. But we determined that the standard

$2 Million Liability With 2017 approaching, we again looked at the industry and the needs of our policyholders. C u r re n t l y, a l l R e t a i l ers Insurance policies provide Employers Liability Limits of $1,000,000/$1,000,000/$1,000,000 – well above the industry average. To make certain our policyholders are even better protected, we have increased our limits to $2,000,000/ $2,000,000/$2,000,000, which will be reflected in your next policy renewal. Again, Retailers Insurance increased these limits without any premium increase. In fact, our overall rates have been reduced for 2017!

“We have always encouraged and rewarded businesses for their commitment to the safety of their employees.” commercial property policy wasn’t adequately protecting against this type of exposure, so we took it upon ourselves to find a solution for our policyholders. EFT Guard is necessary because, to the surprise and shock of many business people, businesses that bank online are not protected by federal Regulation E. That regulation is the one that obligates banks to reimburse retail banking customers for online losses. But it does not require the banks to extend the same protection for their business customers banking online. Cybercriminals What happens is that cybercriminals phish for victims in an attempt to lure unsuspecting business employees into installing malware. Once downloaded, it runs unnoticed as it captures the company’s online banking credentials. The cybercriminals then log into the business’ account to create and transmit unauthorized Electronic Fund Transfers to a different account of their own. The money is gone and the business has no recourse. Until now. EFT Guard provides your business with protection, up to a $100,000 aggregate limit, for such an event. Again, that’s a coverage you can find nowhere other than a Retailers Insurance workers’ compensation policy.

Rewarding Safety Retailers Insurance has always looked for ways to encourage and reward businesses for their commitment to the safety of their employees. For this reason, we have adopted Safe Work Place Credits that include: • Employee-sponsored health plans • Pre-employment medical exams • Drug-screening programs • Video-surveillance systems • Light-duty return-to-work programs • Active-safety programs • Employee-assistance programs. D ur i ng yo u r y e ar -e nd a ud i t, please take the time to identify your employee safety efforts and make sure they are acknowledged. More Than Retail Don’t let our company name be misleading. We service more than the retail industry. We offer coverage to a multitude of industries, including wholesale, service, manufacturing, agriculture and more. If you would like to connect with one of our 145 industry-leading Independent Agencies, simply call me at 586.703.1897 or fellow Senior Vice President Tom Tuggle at 517.927.6122. On behalf of everyone at Retailers Insurance, thank you for allowing us the opportunity to protect your business and employees. Kurt M. Dettmer is Retailers Insurance Company senior vice president, insurance sales and business development.


Michigan Retailer

Timely troubleshooting – jeweler rescues clock Continued from page 1

lowing year. “We didn’t want the clock’s time to be up, so to speak. We hated the thought of cutting short its own history,” Hallan said. Nearby Help To the rescue came MRA member Stewart Powell, a local horologist (one who works with timekeeping devices) and owner of Linn & Owen Jewelers. Hallan had mentioned the problem – and lack of repair options – to Powell at a late summer Buy Nearby news conference held in Powell’s store. Powell took a close look at the clocks and soon found what he believes is a solid solution to the problem. “Sometimes simple is best,” said Powell, who has repaired clocks and other timepieces for more than 40 years. He explained that the four faces were actually separate clocks and featured satellite-reception capability that was supposed to ensure the time displayed was always correct. “Clocks are relatively simple devices and, in talking with MRA staff, we decided to replace the complicated and unreliable original mechanisms

with simple, electric-driven ones,” he said. The clock faces remain the same, but the hands and motors that run them have been changed. Powell also has come up with a solution to address daylight saving time without having to climb a ladder to manually adjust the time twice per year. “It’s a bit of an experiment, but I think we’ve come up with a solution that is inexpensive, efficient and reliable,” he said. The new system will be installed in the clock housing as soon as lighting work inside the structure is completed. That’s expected to occur in December. Experienced Linn & Owen Jewelers takes in more than 400 clocks and thousands of watches for repair each year, some of them antiques. “It’s an exceptionally wonderful feeling to hold something that is 150 or even 200 years old,” Powell said. “It came to you not functioning and you service it and see it come back to life.” Powell confirms that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find people to

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repair timepieces. “My staff is a unique, dedicated group of people, most with 20-40 years of experience, and there is never a moment for idle hands. “I’ve tried to increase my staff, but you cannot hire a watchmaker or horologist anymore. They don’t exist in this country.” Another challenge in that segment of the business is the time commitment involved in repair work. “People assume they can drop off clocks and watches and they’ll be fixed in 15 to 20 minutes,” Powell said. “On your best day you can repair three clocks – most days it’s one or two – and it’s a full-time, concentrated effort.” Custom Jewelry While Linn & Owen is known for its repair expertise, it is custom jewelry work that makes the 99-year-old business viable overall. Powell and the other jewelry designers on staff make or modify hundreds of pieces of jewelry each year. In addition to his full-time, hands-on work at the store, Powell invests his time and effort to promote small businesses and champion Buy Nearby efforts. “Small, local businesses are not just ‘product,’ we are ‘service,’” he ex-

plained. “As communities lose small businesses, they are losing the service aspect as well. That is one reason why it’s so critically important to support local businesses. “Just imagine living in a world of nothing but Internet shopping and no service from small shops. We would truly become a throw-away society. We’d have no choice, when items needed repair, but to throw them out and buy new ones, which is sad in many ways.” The unique contribution that small businesses make to the vitality of communities is also important, Powell emphasizes. “Most small business owners are a little outside the norm; they tend to be eccentric or have ‘big’ personalities,” he said. “It’s these unique products, services and personalities that create a community. That’s why small businesses should exist and why people should support them – to maintain the culture, excitement and vitality that we want in our communities.” Jean B. Eggemeyer is a freelance writer based in Northwest Illinois and a former employee of Michigan Retailers Association.

Christmas Magic

One of the exciting benefits of his job, said Stewart Powell, owner of Linn & Owen Jewelers, is the opportunity to see some truly wonderful works of craftsmanship. One piece, in particular, attracts his admiration at this time of year. It’s a European-made grandfather clock he services that is roughly 200 years old. It features an ornately carved case and is in mint condition. It chimes on the hour

throughout the year, playing a few musical selections. What’s exceptional, explained Powell, is that it has a special lever that is switched on only at Christmas time. “It’s a tube chime – it chimes on the hour with its regular chimes. But for Christmas, once the lever is activated, a separate set of handturned, brass bells plays incredibly beautiful, old Christmas songs. “I’ve never seen another like it.”

December 2016


Recession’s lessons on efficiency help retail hardware boost profits to record level Continued from page 1

Hardware Stores In the hardware store category, retailers reported the highest average profit before taxes – 3.8 percent – in the study’s 90-year history. The typical store generated $176 per square foot of selling space, while total payroll accounted for about 21.3 percent of sales – the lowest percentage since 2007. Stores reported the highest gross margin after rebate, at 42.8 percent.

1.5 percentage points from the previous year. The average customer count dipped to 29,271 vs. 60,882 the year before. Guidepost for Independents NRHA conducts the survey as a guidepost to independent retailers, who otherwise might lack context for their financial results. “It can be very difficult for these businesses to understand how their operation is performing,” Tratensek said. “I might be doing well compared to last year, but is that really good? Are my inventory turns subpar or exceeding the industry standards? If my financial information has changed year over year, is that an industry trend or is it particular to my market?” In addition to conducting the survey, NRHA helps independent retailers through education, advocacy and networking. In terms of education, NRHA compiles training materials for people working for hardware stores, home centers and lumber outlets. Training begins with the novice employee – “what are the different wrenches, what are the different hammers?” Tratensek said. The association also partners with Ball State University to offer graduate-level programs to help owners succeed in business. The magazine that the association produces also is targeted toward that goal. “For example, we’ll do articles on how to implement more efficient pricing strategies,” Tratensek said.

“The things that are driving that additional profit margin are better payroll efficiency and better total expense control.” On average, sales per customer were at an all-time high of $21. For the top quarter of stores it was $23. That’s despite flat annual customer counts of 79,500 for typical stores and 95,569 for high-profit stores. Tratensek cautioned that the decades-long study offers a limited basis for year-over-year comparisons, because a different set of retailers voluntarily participate each year. For the 2016 study, the number of stores participating was up 6 percent from a year earlier. “The study isn’t really to track the growth of the industry,” Tratensek said. But, he added, it does reveal industry trends. Retailer efficiency has been the headline of the past several annual reports. “The things that are driving that additional profit margin are better payroll efficiency and better total expense control,” he said. And top-performing stores are taking that to another level. “They’re doing something differently,” he said. “It’s not always the case that the high-profit stores have higher sales volume. They’re buying the products more efficiently. They’re taking advantage of special deals.” Home Centers The greater efficiency trend isn’t limited to the hardware category. Home centers, which were among the hardest-hit businesses during the recession, posted record net profits before taxes of 4.1 percent. That’s despite a decline in sales volume from the previous year and the lowest sales-per-customer figure – $36 – since 2012. Lumberyards also found ways to drive profits, despite lower customer counts. Survey respondents, who reported their lowest employee levels since 2012, had an average net-profitbefore-taxes total of 3.7 percent – up

Roundtables and Seminars Although NRHA doesn’t lobby on industry issues, it holds roundtables throughout the year to bring together retailers to discuss concerns and learn from each other. The roundtables are open to retailers throughout the industry and cover a variety of topics from human resources and information technology to finances and marketing. NRHA also has a large presence at the National Hardware Show in Las Vegas, where it provides a variety of educational seminars and networking opportunities during the event. “We bring together hundreds of retailers to share best practices,” Tratensek said. “Our mission is to help hardware stores, lumberyards and home

improvement centers be better merchants,” he said. “We’re here to help.” Michigan Retailers Association (MRA), through its new Michigan Retail Hardware Association (MRHA) division, is building a positive relationship with NRHA for the benefit of its hardware, home center and lumber members, said Patrick Harrington, director, program development, for the division. Michigan Retailers created its new hardware group when the 300+ member MRHA joined forces with MRA on July 1.

“NRHA and MRHA encourage our MRA members to participate in the international organization’s services on a no-fee basis,” Harrington said. “NRHA can be a big help for our retailers.” Members who want to obtain a copy of the new study and learn more about NRHA services can contact Harrington, at or 800.366.3699 ext. 335, for assistance. Doug Henze is a freelance writer and former business reporter for the Oakland Press in Pontiac.

Positive forecasts from Retailers Continued from page 3

send those dollars out of the state to an online, remote seller with no connection to Michigan, they’re not.” October Numbers The performance of the state’s retail industry was off slightly during October, but didn’t reduce retailers’ expectations for the holidays, according to the latest monthly Michigan Retail Index survey. The October Michigan Retail Index survey found 40 percent of Michigan retailers increased sales over the same month last year, while 40 percent recorded declines and 20 percent reported no change. The results create a seasonally adjusted performance index of 49.8, down from 56.9 in September. A year ago October the performance index stood at 54.1. The 100-point index gauges the performance 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, 55 percent of retailers expect sales during November–January to increase over the same period last year, while 20 percent project a decrease and 25 percent no change. That puts the seasonally adjusted outlook index at 72.6, up from 65.5 in September. A year ago October, the outlook index stood at 66.6. Sales tax receipts totaled $619.4 million in October 2016, up 0.5 percent from the October 2015 level. If sales tax collections from vehicle sales are removed, collections were up only 0.2 percent.

Michigan Retailers Holiday Sales Forecasts/Results 2010-16 Pre-season forecast Season

% members average % expecting sales change year-over-year sales increase

Post-season result

% members achieving year-over-year sales increase

average % sales change



































Michigan Retailer

Foundation board boosts scholarship amounts for 2017 –18 competition Continued from page 1

amounts to catch up with the steadily rising costs of a college education.” Funding The Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit established by Michigan Retailers, funds the MRA Scholarship Program from investment earnings on contributions from members and other donors. The current scholarship program started in 1999 when a far smaller program that was tied to a student competition held by DECA (previously known as Distributive Education Clubs of America) was overhauled in order to provide scholarships only to MRA member companies’ employees and families. Since 1999, a student must be an employee of an MRA member business, or the son or daughter of an MRA member owner or employee, to be eligible for a scholarship. The program has awarded a total of $467,000 to 500 recipients from 1999 through this year. Legacy Scholarships The popularity of the Foundation’s Legacy Scholarship program for contributors prompted the board to make additional changes, including the creation of a higher-level Platinum Legacy Scholarship.

Going forward, existing and new contributors with lifetime donations of $30,000 or more will be recognized as Platinum Legacy Donors and their scholarships as Platinum Legacy Scholarships. Currently, a donor who contributes $10,000 or more during his or her lifetime establishes a Legacy Scholarship named for the donor or someone else, such as a parent, spouse or business. An additional Legacy Scholarship is created in the donor’s name for each additional $10,000 contributed. Prior to board action, there were expected to be 24 Legacy Scholarships to award in the 2017 calendar year, with the possibility of five more being added in 2017 or 2018. Seven of the donors had created multiple Leg-

acy Scholarships or were expected to by the end of this year. New Threshold Starting January 1, 2017, the Foundation will require $30,000 or more in contributions to create a named scholarship. Setting the new level at $30,000 brings the legacy amount much closer to an actual endowment that pays the annual cost of the scholarship, board members said. Without that change, the rapidly rising number of Legacy Scholarships at the $10,000 level could prevent increases in the scholarship amounts and eventually overwhelm the Foundation’s ability to fund them. However, the board grandfathered in

Annual awards contest begins January 1 Michigan Retailers Association’s annual competition for college and training scholarships begins January 1. Applications will be accepted through April 1 for the estimated 17 one-year scholarships for the 2017-18 academic year. Students attending four-year colleges and universities receive

$1,500; those attending community colleges or approved education and training institutes receive $1,000. The scholarship program benefits the employees and families of MRA member businesses. It is funded by the Michigan Retailers Foundation, which pays for the Continued on page 10

any contributors who have donated at least $1,000 as of December 31, 2016. Those contributors can still establish a Legacy Scholarship when their donations reach the current $10,000 level. Cumulative contributions above that amount will not create additional Legacy Scholarships for the donors, but will count toward the $30,000 Platinum Legacy designation. Several board members with multiple Legacy Scholarships volunteered at the meeting to consolidate theirs into a single scholarship. Others also are encouraged to consolidate their existing scholarships or they can choose to keep them separate. All Donations Hallan pointed out that the Foundation also relies on far smaller donations to help grow the Foundation and sustain the widespread benefits of the scholarship program. Members can contribute via their membership renewal form or by contacting MRA at 800.366.3699 or 517.372.5656 or emailing Suggested donations are $25 on the renewal form. All donors receive recognition in MRA’s Annual Report and on the Association’s website at

December 2016



How federal overtime changes could affect you by William J. Hallan, MRA Executive Vice President, COO and General Counsel At this moment (November 30, 2016), we don’t know the fate of the new federal overtime regulations that were scheduled to take effect December 1. A federal judge temporarily stopped their implementation (also see page 4) in response to a lawsuit brought by business groups and state attorneys general, including Michigan’s. We know it’s unlikely they will take effect on December 1, but we don’t know much beyond that. We don’t know when the court will take additional action on the case. We don’t yet know if the new Trump Administration and Congress plan to modify or kill the regulations. All that means employers could still face these dramatic and costly changes in the near future. Accordingly, I wanted to devote my column to providing greater detail about the changes and help bring clarity to what they would do. This Q&A, written before the judge acted, also appears on MRA’s website, under the News&Events/Blogs section. On December 1, updated federal regulations regarding employee overtime will have a dramatic effect on businesses in Michigan and across the nation. The changes extend overtime pay to an estimated 4.2 million U.S. workers, more than 100,000 in Michigan, who are currently exempt from overtime. These new U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) regulations double the salary threshold that triggers automatic overtime pay, at a rate not less than one and one-half times their regular rate of pay, for non-managerial, full-time, salaried employees for any hours worked beyond a standard 40-hour workweek. Here are answers, compiled from multiple sources by Michigan Retailers Association, to a number of common questions about the changes. While Michigan Retailers believes these answers are accurate (as of November 10, 2016), they are not legal advice, and businesses should consult legal or accounting professionals to be sure an answer fits their specific situation. What are the current regulations? Under the current system, certain workers are eligible for overtime if they work more than 40 hours in a single workweek. Not all employees

are eligible for overtime. Many workers are paid a salary and are classified as exempt from overtime pay. For example, executive, administrative, professional and outside sales employees are deemed exempt if they meet a defined duties test and receive over $23,660 ($455 weekly) in annual salary. In retail, some store managers may be classified as exempt, depending on their specific duties. Workers earning less that $23,660 in salary automatically qualify for overtime pay. As stated previously, salaried executive, administrative and professional employees who are classified as exempt and earn more than $23,660 do not qualify for overtime pay. What are the new salary thresholds? Effective December 1, 2016, the new regulations focus on increasing the salary and compensation levels needed for executive, administrative and professional workers to be exempt from overtime. Specifically, the regulations increase the annual income threshold to $47,476 ($913 weekly) beginning December 1, 2016. The duties test remains the same. Is my business covered by the updated regulations? Entities that have more than $500,000 in annual sales and/or have employees engaged in interstate commerce (i.e., accepting/processing credit card payments, receiving goods/services from out-of-state vendors, making or receiving interstate phone calls, etc.) must comply with the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA), including these new overtime provisions. Who is exempt? Managerial employees are exempt from overtime if they receive a salary and perform executive, administrative or professional duties critical to the function of the business. Note: Managers and trained professionals with salaries above the threshold are exempt if they meet certain requirements, such as having supervision of other employees as their primary duties. However, if they spend too much time on non-supervisory duties, such as stocking shelves or helping customers, they can lose exempt status and must be paid overtime. What about manual laborers? There is no exemption for manual laborers or other “blue collar” workers who perform work involving repetitive operations with their hands, physical skill and energy, regardless of their compensation.

How do the updated regulations treat bonuses and commissions? Also starting December 1, up to 10 percent of nondiscretionary bonuses and incentive payments (including

How does this affect flex and comp time, especially for seasonal businesses? The impact on employers in seasonal industries that often require

commissions) count toward the annual/weekly salary. Nondiscretionary bonuses and incentive payments are forms of compensation promised to employees, for example, to induce them to work more efficiently or to remain with the company. By contrast, discretionary bonuses are those for which the decision to award the bonus and the payment amount is at the employer’s sole discretion and not in accordance with any preannounced standards.

more hours at certain times of the year is significant. The practice of employees who want to work overtime in exchange for future days off or flexible time is not allowed for those eligible for overtime under the new rules.

Can an employer say that a Christmas bonus is part of an employee’s salary in an effort to meet the new standard? An unannounced holiday bonus would qualify as a discretionary bonus, because the bonus is entirely at the discretion of the employer, and therefore could not satisfy any portion of the $913 standard salary level. If an employee is paid between $822 and $913 per week, can the bonus be paid less frequently than quarterly? No. To count toward the standard salary level, nondiscretionary bonuses must be paid quarterly or more frequently. Has there been any change to the exemption for commissioned employees working at a retail establishment? There is no change, and these employees are exempt as long as at least 50 percent of their gross earnings are from commissions.

How do the changes affect highly compensated employees? In addition, the changes increase the threshold for highly compensated employees, those exempted employees in the 90th percentile of full-time, salaried employees, and will also be updated every three years. The current highly compensated employee level is set at $100,000 and will increase to $134,004 per year in December. The duties test to determine which white-collar employees are exempt was not changed. How long will the new salary threshold be in effect? The threshold will automatically increase every three years based on wage growth, with the next update scheduled to occur on January 1, 2020. Are actions being taken to delay the December 1 effective date? Business groups and others have filed lawsuits and are lobbying Congress to change the effective date. Federal legislation, S. 2707 in the U.S. Senate and H.R. 4773 in the U.S. House, would stop implementation of the rule by requiring DOL to perform an economic analysis on the impact the new regulations will have on nonContinued on page 10


Michigan Retailer

What OT changes mean Continued from page 9

profits, small businesses and employers in vulnerable industry sectors. The House on September 28 passed the Regulatory Relief for Small Businesses, Schools, and Nonprofits Act, which would give employers an extra six months to come into compliance by pushing the deadline to June 1, 2017. The Senate has not acted. The unexpected election of Donald Trump as president could also have an effect. However, there is no guarantee any of these actions will delay or undo the new regulations. The wise course for businesses is to be ready to follow the new rules on December 1. What are these changes expected to cost businesses? DOL estimates employers will spend $592.7 million to comply. Business groups contend the actual cost will be higher. Employers should be planning diligently for the impact on their operations and finances. What should businesses do before Dec 1? The federal changes are designed to require employers to either pay employees higher salaries or pay overtime wages. As a business owner, there are several steps you can take

Scholarships Continued from page 8

awards out of the earnings on foundation assets. Applications must be submitted by April 1, 2017, to International Scholarship and Tuition Services, Inc., of Nashville, Tennessee, which coordinates the application and selection process for MRA and many other associations and companies. Students are encouraged to complete the application process online at MRA’s website, (under the Member Benefits/Scholarship Program pulldown at the top of the homepage). Students may contact MRA’s Rachel Schafer at 800.366.3699 or by March 15 to request an application by mail or to check eligibility. Recipients are selected for their average to above-average academic performance and extracurricular activities, which can include part-time employment. Financial need is not a consideration. Those eligible to apply are high school seniors and college freshmen, sophomores and juniors who are dependent sons and daughters of owners or full-time employees of MRA’s nearly 5,000 member businesses. Part-time employees who are fulltime students also are eligible.

to prepare, especially if you are concerned about controlling added costs. What should I do first? Start by reviewing all employees’ classification and compensation to see which, if any, employees could fall under the new overtime threshold. What options do I have? • Consider reclassifying salaried employees as hourly employees or developing a tracking system for salaried workers to ensure they don’t exceed 40 hours each week. • Evaluate increasing employee salaries above the salary threshold. Raising salaries might work for businesses that already pay salaries close to the new threshold of $47,476. Businesses with employees who work a lot of overtime might also want to raise salaries. Employers should estimate the number of overtime hours employees work, and calculate the cost. Comparing the cost of overtime pay against the cost of increased salaries can help employers decide how to adjust employee wages. • On the other hand, if you decide to reduce wages or hours to cut payroll costs, your employees could be upset. You could adjust their responsibilities to match the new pay and schedule in order to save employees from working the same job duties for less pay. • Train employees, especially supervisors and managers, on timekeeping. Some employees, especially salaried workers, might be unfamiliar with timekeeping systems. You should show all employees how to keep track of hours worked. • Contact your congressman and U.S. senator and encourage them to support S. 2707 and H.R. 4773 to delay implementation of the new regulations. What’s the best way to inform my employees of the changes? The more you keep your employees informed, the easier it will be to transition your company. Explain what will happen when the overtime rule changes and how the salary threshold works. Talk to your employees about how your business will adjust to the new overtime law. Let employees know about any changes to their pay, schedules or job duties. Clarify that you are not making changes randomly, but that you must comply with the law. Where can I find additional information? For more information on the new overtime regulations visit: • • final2016/faq.htm#G1 • fact_sheets.htm

Membership Services Corner by Ally Nemetz, Director, Customer Service and Data Administration 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 with your question or problem, no matter how large or small. Reduced Dental Rates for 2017 We are pleased to announce that Retailers Insurance Company dental rates are going down on January 1, 2017, thanks to the positive performance of the program. Rates will decrease anywhere from 6 to 20 percent, depending on the plan. Those with Family Coverage will see smaller decreases because a pediatric rider is attached. The current Open Enrollment period has been extended through December 30, 2016, with an effective date of January 1, 2017. Eligible employees and dependents have the opportunity to enroll for coverage during this time. To learn more, please contact our office at 800.366.3699, ext. 681. Affordable Care Act 1095 Tax Forms for the 2016 Tax Year The Affordable Care Act requires insurance carriers and employers with a self-funded health insurance plan to send a tax form called IRS Form 1095 to employees who are full-time employees (work an average of 30 or more hours per week) or were enrolled in a health plan for any month in 2016. In Notice 2016-70, IRS extends the 2017 deadline from January 31 to March 2 for employers and insurers to furnish the 1095s on 2016 health coverage and full-time employee status. In addition, the notice extends 2015 good-faith penalty relief to 2016 for incorrect or incomplete reports that are due in 2017. Although this is the second year of this requirement, there are still many employees who are unfamiliar with the IRS Form 1095. To help your employees understand the form’s purpose, you can distribute a memo or post information about the 1095s. Visit the website (hint: type Form 1095 into the search function) for useful information and Q&As to help you with communication to your employees.

Blue Cross Mobile App A new mobile app from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan enables you to manage your health plan via smartphone or tablet. It allows you to manage your deductible and out-of-pocket maximum balances, claims activity and explanation of benefits statements. You also can find a doctor, obtain cost estimates for health care services, and much more. Search for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan through Apple App Store or Google Play. It’s available for Android OS 5.0 or higher or iPhone iOS 7.1.2 or higher. You must first set up an online account at before using the app. UPS and FedEx Rate Increases Small-package carriers FedEx and UPS evaluate their shipping rates annually and make adjustments that can have a substantial effect on your business. New UPS rate increases take effect on December 26, 2016, and new FedEx rates take effect on January 2, 2017. How much more expensive your particular small package shipments will be depends on many factors, including shipment volumes, sizes, weights and modes. Quick facts: • FedEx Express and International rates are increasing an average of 3.9% • UPS Air and International rates are increasing an average of 4.9% • FedEx Ground and Home Delivery® rates are increasing an average of 4.9% • UPS Ground rates are increasing an average of 4.9% • The dimensional divisor for FedEx is changing from 166 to 139 • FedEx SmartPost®, FedEx One Rate®, and UPS SurePost® rates will be changing. However, the announced average increases paint an inaccurate picture of the true impact these new rates could have on your business. The shipping experts at PartnerShip® have analyzed the new rate tables to assess the true impact to shippers. Learn more about how the 2017 rate increases will affect your shipping costs by downloading the free white paper at RateIncrease. PartnerShip manages MRA’s Shipping Savings Program. To enroll and receive exclusive discounts on select FedEx® services, visit For more information, email or call 800.599.2902.

December 2016



Retailer payouts hit record as Lottery sales pass $3B by M. Scott Bowen, Commissioner T h e p re l i m i nary results for the Lottery’s 2016 fiscal year bring very good news for retailers, the Lottery and, most importantly, public education in Michigan. Preliminary numbers show that Lottery sales broke the $3 billion mark for the first time. This impressive record is the result of teamwork between the Lottery and its 11,000 retailers across the state. The 2016 figures show a record $3.1 billion in Lottery sales, topping the previous record set in 2015 by about $200 million. Retailers also enjoyed a record year in 2016, with commissions hitting a record of more than $231 million, up about 14 percent from the previous record of $203.6 million set last year. The Lottery’s instant game portfolio was once again a major part of our 2016 success. Instant games remain a favorite for the most loyal Lottery players, as well as casual players. The Lottery’s team puts a great deal of focus and effort into developing instant games that will attract players to retailers and boost sales. That work paid off in a big way in 2016, with total sales of instant games surpassing $1 billion for the secondstraight year. Instant game sales increased an impressive 12 percent over 2015. The hard work of retailers and the Lottery also led to a record contribution to the state’s School Aid Fund. Preliminary figures indicate the Lottery’s contribution to the School Aid Fund will be about $888 million, marking 10 straight years of $700 million-plus contributions to support public education from the Lottery. Since it began in 1972, the Lottery has provided more than $20.5 billion to support public education in our state. The record results in 2016 wouldn’t have happened without each retailer’s hard work and commitment to the Lottery’s mission. We’re excited about the opportunities 2017 presents and look forward to working with retailers to break even more records! Stepping Down As you may have heard, I have announced that I will step down as commissioner of the Michigan Lottery in February after nine years of service.

Serving as the commissioner has been a great honor and wonderful opportunity. The Lottery’s success during my tenure reflects the hard work and dedication of the Lottery employees and its retailers, who are proud to carry out the agency’s mission of providing funds for public education in our state. The Michigan Lottery consistently ranks as one of the top-performing lotteries in the nation because of their combined efforts. I would like to personally thank you for all of your hard work and dedication during my tenure as the Lottery commissioner. Instants These tickets go on sale Dec. 6: IG 773 Jelly Belly Candy Blast $2 IG 789 Winter Lucky Times 10 $5 IG 798 Double Bonus Cashword $10 These tickets are set to expire Jan. 3: IG 711 $300 Grand Cashword $5

NEW MEMBERS Framed Art by Tilliams, Alma Right at Home, Ann Arbor Ann Arbor Active Against ALS Ann Arbor North Coast Landscaping LLC, Au Gres Mugg Shots Music Bar, Au Gres Southern Michigan Pool Pros LLC, Battle Creek Peninsula Auto Repair, Calumet Clio Assisted Living LLC, Clio Trinosophes LLC, Detroit Country Acres Adult Care Home Inc., Eaton Rapids Foutch’s Pub, Flint The Barton Woods Group Inc., Freeland Burkland Inc., Goodrich Procare Tree Service LLC dba CHOP, Grand Rapids Rapid Physical Therapy LLC, Grand Rapids Grayling Auto Recyclers LLC, Grayling Country Pub Inc., Gregory

Moore Trosper Construction Company, Holt Havens Enterprises LLC, Interlochen Jansen Valk Thompson & Reahm PC, Kalamazoo 62B District Court, Kentwood Fleet Services, Lansing Ellis Cleaning Co., Lansing Chow’s Kitchen, Manistee Marine City Mini Storage, Marine City Auto Pro’s Service Center, Menominee Christopher’s Flowers, Port Huron Repleo Tech LLC, Portage Bill’s Transmission, Roseville Bravo Intimates, Royal Oak Henne Electric LLC, Saginaw Brokers Service 24 Hour Towing, Three Rivers Action Collision Inc., Troy Mid-Michigan Industrial Coatings, Weidman WBVS PLLC, West Branch

Pull Tabs These tickets go on sale Dec. 6: MI 576 Reel Time $.50 MI 563 Snow Much Money $1 MI 587 $2,000,000 VIP $5 These games are set to expire Dec. 12: MI 540 $1,000,000 Riches $5 MI 544 Ben’s Bills $1 MI 546 Dice Night $.50 MI 548 Cash Vault $.50 MI 544 Luck Loot $2 Jan. 9: IT 854 Cashin’ In $1 IT 855 Happy Hour $1 IT 856 Spin to Win $2 IT 857 Ultimate Slots $5 MI 537 S’more Money $.50 MI 550 $200 a Week for Life $1 MI 551 Criss Cross Cash $2 About 97 cents of ever y 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 Lotter y has contributed more than $19.6 billion to education in Michigan. For additional information, follow the Michigan Lottery on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and online at

Michigan’s choice for workers’ compensation and group dental insurance. Now providing EFT Guard to protect our workers’ compensation insurance policyholders’ business banking from cybercriminals and other unauthorized electronic transfers. Work Comp rates reduced for 2017 Dental rates reduced for 2017

To learn more, ask your Independent Agent, call 800.366.3699 or visit



As temperatures drop this holiday season, watch your sales rise with new Michigan Lottery holiday instants. Customers will light up at the chance to win up to $500,000, with more than $56.5 million in total cash prizes. You will too, with more than $6 million in retailer commissions. Last year, holiday ticket sales were $7.3 million — 14% higher than the year before. So stock up today, because holiday instants offer big fun, big winnings and big sales to make everyone’s holiday happier.

December 16 Michigan Retailer  

The December 2016 issue of Michigan Retailer, the official publication of Michigan Retailers Association.

December 16 Michigan Retailer  

The December 2016 issue of Michigan Retailer, the official publication of Michigan Retailers Association.