__MAIN_TEXT__

Page 1

DEC 2018/ JAN 2019 The official publication of the Michigan Retailers Association

www.retailers.com

Defying perceptions: Brick & mortar thrives

Retail isn’t dying; it’s changing Will you be affected by tariffs? Keeping up with shoplifters What you need to know about the marihuana act

Volume 43 No. 6

Adam Barden, owner of two busy True Value hardware stores, is an example of how brick and mortar succeeds.


Board of Directors BECKY BEAUCHINE KULKA

Chair Becky Beauchine Kulka Diamonds and Fine Jewelry, Okemos

JAMES P. HALLAN

Michigan Retailers Services, Inc. Board of Directors JAMES P. HALLAN

President and CEO

CHAD AYERS

President and CEO Michigan Retailers Association

Allendale True Value, Allendale

BO BRINES

Leppink’s Food Centers, Belding

Vice Chair Little Forks Outfitters, Midland

PETER R. SOBELTON

Treasurer Mondial Properties, Birmingham

WILLIAM J. HALLAN

Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel Michigan Retailers Association

JOHN LEPPINK

KIMBERLY MILLS

Target Corp.

JAMES P. HALLAN

Publisher

MEEGAN HOLLAND

Editor

PATRICK KERWIN

ORIN MAZZONI, JR.

Design Manager

BILL GOLDEN

Publication Office

KEN HAYWARD

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

Past Chair Orin Jewelers, Garden City Golden Shoes, Traverse City Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island

DAN MARSHALL

Marshall Music Company, Lansing

JOSEPH MCCURRY

Credit Card Group

BRYAN NEIMAN

Neiman’s Family Market, East China Township

BARB STEIN

Great Northern Trading Co., Rockford

JOE SWANSON

Big Springs Enterprises, Naubinway

THOMAS UNGRODT

TDU Consulting, LLC, Ann Arbor

JAMES WALSH

Meijer, Inc., Grand Rapids

D. LARRY SHERMAN

Board Member Emeritus

MICHIGAN RETAILER DEC 2018 / JAN 2019

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 other white office paper.

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.


12

16

19 ON THE COVER

DEFYING PERCEPTIONS OF A RETAIL APOCALYPSE page 6 Brick and mortar stores that offer an intriguing experience or topnotch expertise are having great sales years, like Adam Barden’s True Value hardware stores in Vassar and Frankenmuth.

Contents FEATURES

DEPARTMENTS

3

2 FROM THE CEO

IMPACT OF TARIFFS Don’t think you’ll be affected by the Trump administration’s tariffs? You may be surprised.

3 FIVE TIPS Put your store to the test.

4 SLIP AND FALL INCIDENTS How to prevent costly slip and fall incidents.

5 IT’S THE LAW Shoplifters are constantly thinking up new ways to steal from you.

12 THE NEW MARIHUANA ACT What you need to know now that Michigan will have legal recreational marihuana.

10 GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS How will the results of the November election affect retailers?

14 KEY DATES FOR RETAILERS Some suggested dates to help you plan your 2019 sales strategy. 6 IN HIS OWN WORDS 1 Dearborn Sausage Co.’s Aaron Peacock talks about the holiday rush. 19 CENTENNIAL RETAILER The latest Centennial honoree.

Retailers.com RetailersInsurance.com BuyNearbyMI.com

11 RETAIL TECH Be sure you’re PCI Compliant, or you may pay a price. 11 RIC SAFETY TIP With the cold comes a potential safety hazard: portable space heaters. 13 CATCH-ALL DRAWER Tidbits from around the retail world. 18 LOTTERY COLUMN 21 NEW MEMBERS

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

WWW.RETAILERS.COM DEC 2018 / JAN 2019

1


FROM THE CEO Year-End Musings This issue of the Michigan Retailer will be our last for 2018. We will resume publishing February 2019. 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 random year-end musings. ELECTIONS The voters have spoken and Michigan has a new sheriff in town. Congratulations to Governor-Elect Gretchen Whitmer. She enters office with a lot of legislative experience and clearly knows the process. Over the years, Michigan Retailers has worked well with Governors and legislators from both parties and we expect that tradition to continue. With retail being such a significant force in the economy, our message is usually well received by both parties. We look forward to working with Governor-Elect Whitmer and the new leaders in the Republican-controlled Michigan Senate and House. We will be reaching out to them to share our message. Term limits have prematurely ended the careers of many talented leaders in government while giving new officials the opportunity to make their mark on public policy. The past eight years have been particularly friendly to the retail community. Under Governor Snyder’s watch, we were able to repeal item pricing, pass Main Street Fairness, pass a strong organized retail enforcement act and enact legislation that preserves state authority over far-reaching local ordinances. We tip our hat to Governor Rick Snyder for a job well done and thank him for his leadership and common-sense business approach to politics. EMPLOYEE REORGANIZATION No matter what our line of business, it’s our dedicated employees that keep the lights on and provide topnotch customer service. With unemployment at a 50-year low, let’s all take a minute to thank our employees for the good work that they do. 2

MICHIGAN RETAILER DEC 2018 / JAN 2019

MARIHUANA The passage of the ballot initiative that permits recreational use of marihuana for individuals over the age of 21 provides many challenges for the business community and law enforcement. As the dust settles, we will attempt to provide you with sound practical advice as to how this social change will impact business practices. Many questions are emerging, such as the casual effect between workers’ compensation claims and workplace drug testing. CRYSTAL BALL Looking forward to 2019, my crystal ball is optimistic. In the ever-changing retail environment many of the economic fundamentals are sound. Employment is at record levels, wages are rising, consumer confidence is strong and taxes are lower. As Michigan Retailers enters its 79th year of doing business, we are proud to represent your interests in Lansing and provide you with Michiganbased services that are intended to help you reduce your operating costs. Please call us if we can ever be assistance, and best wishes for a strong 2019.

JAMES P. HALLAN MRA President and Chief Executive Officer


Will you feel the effects of tariffs? By RICK HAGLUND

Put your store to the test Good service isn’t good enough anymore. It has to be spectacular. But how do you know if that’s what your customer is experiencing? Here’s how to solicit outside feedback.

Mystery shopper

Talk to customers

A secret shopper consultant can evaluate your customer experience by assessing the your sales staff, visual merchandising and more.

Get their feedback and be open to learning. Don’t ever think you know it all. You can glean nuggets of wisdom from thoughtful customers.

Do a customer survey

You can send out an anonymous survey by email with Survey Monkey and ask what they think of your store, your offerings and more. Keep it to five quick questions and you’ll get a bigger response.

Organize a focus group

Prepare a set of questions and meet with a group of customers for 45 minutes to gain perspective on what they see and want. Give a gift card to each participant as a thank you for their time and wisdom.

Reward, reward, reward

Are you hearing certain employees’ names pop up during the course of your surveys, focus groups or conversations with customers? Then publicly reward those employees and be generous: A $100 gift card is great incentive for other employees to follow their example. Source: Footwear Insight

When the Trump administration announced in September that it was slapping tariffs on $200 million in products imported from China, retailer Barb Stein didn’t think the tariffs would have much of an impact on her business. “If you’d talked to me a month ago, I would have probably said it doesn’t affect me,” said Stein, the owner Great Northern Trading Co., a gift and home décor store in Rockford. But now she’s worried. Stein said she’s received letters from about a half-dozen of her suppliers saying they have been hit by the 10 percent tariffs. Those vendors said they are absorbing tariff costs through the end of the year, but could raise prices in January. “It’s scary to think there may be price increases,” she said. “It’s going to hurt business.” The Trump administration has struck China with tariffs $250 million worth of goods since March in an ongoing trade war. As of this writing, the administration in early December said it reached an agreement with China to a 90-day truce in the trade war in which no new tariffs will be enacted as the two sides work on a broader trade deal. Trump also pulled back on his threat to boost the current tariff on Chinese goods from 10 percent to 25 percent. Some retailers, including those who sell appliances and other durable goods, also are feeling the pinch from tariffs on steel and aluminum imported from Canada and Mexico. The Trump administration has imposed a 25 percent tariff on steel and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum coming from those countries. So far, the retailer impact on tariffs has been limited mostly to electronics, luggage and other travel-related items, said Murali Gokki, a managing director in the retail practice at AlixPartners, a Southfield-based management consulting firm. But tariffs, combined with rising labor, transportation and borrowing costs, and challenges from online shopping, are starting to put retailers in a bind, he said. “It’s a very dynamic world. These are extremely challenging times,” Gokki said. “There will be a lot of angst” if the tariffs are extended to all Chinese-made goods and are boosted to 25 percent in January. Jimmy Edwards, president of Marshall Music in Lansing, is starting to feel some of that angst. He said the Chinese tariffs have already hit some small items he sells, including instrument cases and mouthpieces. But his business could suffer a major blow if the tariffs are extended to the rental instruments that Marshall Music provides to more than 25,000 parents of band and orchestra students in Michigan.

continued on page 4

WWW.RETAILERS.COM DEC 2018 / JAN 2019

3


Slip and fall accidents can harm your business From RETAILERS INSURANCE CO. Now that winter is upon us, ask yourself: As an employer, am I being proactive enough when it comes to preventing slip and fall injuries? Obviously those types of injuries go up with the advent of ice, sleet and snow. Here are other reasons to be concerned: • The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows Michigan was in the top 10 states for slip and fall injuries in 2014. The state reported 2,040 reported work injuries that involved a slip, trip or fall due to ice, sleet or snow resulting in more than one day lost from work in Michigan and 42,480 such injuries in the United States.   

slips, or trips continued a general upward trend that began in 2011, increasing 6 percent to 849 in 2016 and 25 percent overall since 2011. Falls increased more than 25 percent in 2016 for roofers, carpenters, tree trimmers and pruners, and heavy/tractor-trailer truck drivers.

Incentive enough? Then let’s get working on how you can minimize such injuries: Snow/Ice/Sleet: • Thoroughly salt walkways where employees will be walking after snow/ice. • Keep entranceways as dry as possible with ample lighting. • Use “CAUTION” signs if walking areas are slippery/wet.   • The median number of days lost due to Stairs: such injuries is 11 days.  • Keep dry and free of debris. • In 2016, Michigan had 229,240 non-fatal • Consider abrasive adhesives to reduce hazards. work injuries resulting in days away from   work due to falls, slips and trips. Nearly General working surfaces: half of the 43 fatalities that MIOSHA in• Use signage if hazards exist. vestigated in 2016 were fall-related. • Keep floors clean, dry and free of grease/ oils if at all possible. • Nationally, fatal work injuries from falls,

• If there are areas prone to being wet, consider use of a rug. Tips for employees: • Practice “safe walking” on slippery surfaces by taking slow, small steps. • Step down, not out, from curbs. • Avoid carrying heavy loads that may offset your balance. • Wear sunglasses on sunny days to lessen winter glare. • Take extra precaution when entering and exiting vehicles. • Wear slip-resistant footwear. Many companies will pay for slip-resistant footwear, said Jeff Joyce of Mieras Shoes in Grand Rapids, who takes truckloads of workboots to area companies that offer footwear stipends to employees. “Slip resistant shoes are tested in different slippery floor conditions and marked ‘slip resistant’ if they pass,” Joyce said. “Slip resistant shoes are becoming more common and dozens of brands are now available to choose from.” More information: Michigan.gov/stopfalls.

The effects of tariffs continued from page 3

“Many of these instruments are manufactured in China or have components that are manufactured there,” he said in an email. “We are the lifeline for music-related products for most all of the school districts in our state. “The idea that we could pass these costs on to our customers is simply not practical,” Edwards said. “We are just standing by and hoping for the best.” There could be some relief for retailers from manufacturers of consumer goods that are trying to shift production and supply chains away from China to avoid the tariffs, one trade expert said. “In the longer term, I think this is going to open opportunities for other potential sources of goods outside of China,” said Rick Walawender, an international trade lawyer at the Miller Canfield law firm in Detroit. Even Chinese companies might move production to other AsiaPacific countries and to Mexico to skirt the U.S.-imposed tariffs.

the United States, he said. “It’s not easy to see that is what’s inevitably going to happen because there are more lower-cost producers” available to manufacturers, Walawender said. Retailing is a highly competitive industry, making it unlikely that retailers will be able to raise prices across the board to offset increased tariff costs, according to a recent AlixPartners report. But there are strategies retailers can take to reduce their exposure to tariffs. Among them are consolidating vendors and negotiating long-term contracts with them. Retailers should also run a “priceelasticity analysis” of their products to see if they can raise prices on popular items without reducing demand. But smaller retailers are at a disadvantage with larger competitors in minimizing the financial impact of tariffs because they have less leverage over their suppliers, the AlixPartners report said.

“I think you’re going to see Chinese companies doing quite a bit of “It is a delicate dance to be in retail right now,” Edwards of Marthis,” Walawender said. shall Music said. “Change is inevitable, as are price increases. But if we were to see changes to the scale you are talking about (with But it’s unlikely that much of that production, if any, will move to tariffs), things could get very difficult.” 4

MICHIGAN RETAILER DEC 2018 / JAN 2019


IT’S THE LAW

Keeping up with shoplifters is a common frustration Perhaps the most famous shoplifting incident occurred when an 8-year-old boy, who was left home alone while his family traveled to Paris for Christmas, stole a toothbrush that wasn’t clearly approved by the American Dental Association. After a completely plausible getaway that included an epic ice rink slide, he realized he was a criminal.

WILLIAM J. HALLAN MRA Executive Vice President, COO and General Counsel Contact William at whallan@retailers.com

Shoplifters are only caught once in the 49 times they steal.

Most shoplifters aren’t well-intentioned 8-year-olds that merely yearn for good dental hygiene. Instead, shoplifters usually fit into one of the following categories: (1) Opportunistic; (2) Desperate; or (3) Organized. Opportunistic shoplifters take advantage of the situation and give in to the temptation to get something for nothing. These shoplifters might be teens trying to impress their friends or amateurs that steal an item for personal use. Desperate shoplifters may be alcoholics, drug users or vagrants. A desperate shoplifter usually steals to support a habit and might take items brazenly. Organized thieves are the most concerning.  Professionals steal items with the intent to resell the goods to boosters, furthering other types of crime.  These criminals are likely to resist arrest and will use all sorts of means to thwart detection. Shoplifting is one of the most prevalent crimes in the United States. According to the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention, 550,000 incidents occur each day, amounting to $35 million in losses, or $13 billion annually. Almost more concerning is that shoplifters are only caught once in the 49 times they steal.

In Michigan, shoplifters may be charged with retail fraud in the first, second, or third degree. In addition, criminals that steal merchandise with the intent to resell it may be charged with organized retail crime, a five-year felony. The chart below provides a brief summary on the different types of retail fraud, though other elements, such as previous convictions, may elevate the charge. Recently, I had the opportunity to visit with a group of retail owners from downtown Howell to discuss loss prevention. Of course, typical deterrents such as video surveillance, locking up high-ticket items, and maintaining clear sight lines are among the primary methods for security. However, while there is no silver bullet to shoplifting prevention, the business owners have come up with some great ideas on how to limit theft: • Requiring that teens leave book bags at the front door. The policy has the added benefit of minimizing shoplifting while also preventing merchandise from being knocked off shelves. • “Over customer servicing” loitering guests. Retailers found that by providing extra customer service to guests that were just “hanging out,” they could help those guests move on. • Setting up a stroller parking area outside the store entrance. • Working with local law enforcement to post photos online to identify shoplifters. If you have questions about shoplifting prevention or outside-the-box tips on what’s working for you, email me at whallan@retailers.com.

MICHIGAN RETAIL FRAUD CRIMES FIRST DEGREE

SECOND DEGREE

THIRD DEGREE

Value of Property Stolen

More than $1,000

$200-$1,000

Less than $200

Type of Crime

Felony

Misdemeanor

Misdemeanor

Maximum Jail term

5 years

1 year

93 days

Maximum Probation

5 years

2 years

2 years

Fine

Up to $10,000 or three times Up to $2,000 or three times Up to $500 or three times the value of the property, the value of the property, the value of the property, whichever is greater whichever is greater whichever is greater WWW.RETAILERS.COM DEC 2018 / JAN 2019

5


Defying perceptions: Retail is not dying. Retail is changing.

A bustling downtown Grand Rapids, where retail and restaurants thrive. Photo: DAVID TRUMPIE

6

MICHIGAN RETAILER DEC 2018 / JAN 2019


By SHANDRA MARTINEZ

By offering a stellar experience and deep expertise, retailers thrive. Retail apocalypse. Retail meltdown. Retail collapse. Tired of hearing these overdramatic descriptions every time a big box store or restaurant chain goes belly up? Facts and stats paint a different picture of what’s going on. The truth is retail isn’t shrinking. It’s expanding. Retail sales grew 4.5 percent in 2017 and are on track to repeat that growth in 2018. Consumer confidence hasn’t wavered. In fact, it surged to an 18-year high in October. “The reality of things is that retail is not dying. Retail is changing and is changing extremely rapidly there,” said Greg Buzek, president of the IHL Group, a Tennessee-based research and advisory firm focused on the retail and hospitality sectors. Store closures by longtime retailers like Sears, JCPenney, and Macy’s are tied to geography. Many of their stores anchor small and midsize malls, which have been struggling. The demise of Toys R Us is a reminder of what is killing off many longtime big-box chains: debt. It’s often caused by leveraged buyouts led by private equity firms. The once dominant toy chain was weighed down with $7 billion in debt. “It wasn’t Amazon. It wasn’t a competition. It was because they created an unsustainable environment of debt that they couldn’t service unless there were perfect business conditions,” Buzek said. continued on page 8

WWW.RETAILERS.COM DEC 2018 / JAN 2019

7


Retail is not dying. Retail is changing. continued from page 7

True Value store owner Adam Barden and Assistant Manager Matt Hotchkiss work on matching a stain. Paint expertise is one of the ways Adam keeps customers coming to his stores in Frankenmuth and Vassar.

Above: Lisa Knoll worked for the previous tenant, a Hallmark store. When it closed, she asked new tenant True Value owner Adam Barden if there was a spot for her. She’s worked for him ever since. True Value photos: STEVE JESSMORE

FACTS TO SHARE So the next time, someone talks retail doom and gloom, here are some facts to share: Sales are up. Retail sales grew $232 billion in 2017 — comparable to adding the retail economy of South Korea. Good news is that forecasts call for the sector to repeat that growth in 2018. Here’s the breakdown of retail by sector: C-store (7-Eleven, Circle K and WaWa) and mass merchandise (Target, Dollar Tree, Dollar General, Five Below) did “outstanding” in 2017, while the DIY, furniture, men’s clothing and toys retailers did “very well,’’ according to Buzek. At the other end, department stores and soft goods continue to struggle. Appliances, sporting goods, office supplies retail sectors were down more than 5 percent. OPENINGS OUTPACE CLOSINGS For every store that closed in 2017, 3.7 opened. (In the general merchandise sector, the ratio was closer to 1.5.) It was similar for restaurants; for every one that shuttered, 3.3 opened, according to IHL’s calculations. Closures are concentrated. In 2017, 66 percent of store closures were tied to 16 retailers. In the restaurant sector, 16 companies were responsible for 74 percent of closings. Stores are playing a role in rising e-commerce. E-commerce now accounts for nearly 19 percent of retail sales. Most of that buying is of clothing (30 percent) and electronics (27 percent), which outpaced all other categories for online shopping. While IHL is forecasting the percentage will rise to nearly 26 percent in 2021, brick-and-mortar stores are expected to be involved 8

MICHIGAN RETAILER DEC 2018 / JAN 2019

in 81 percent of all retail transactions. That’s because more shoppers are choosing to pick up online orders at stores to avoid shipping costs. The majority of purchasing is still done in person. Why? Consumers are coming to stores for the experience or expertise. THE MICHIGAN PICTURE The retail survey that MRA does with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago showed that retailers are more optimistic than ever. The telltale sign? Thirty-eight percent said they plan capital investment in 2019. “That’s really unusual, and it’s a sign of real confidence that they’re willing to spend money on equipment and even construction,” said Martin Lavelle, of the Federal Reserve branch in Detroit. A VISUAL TREAT One example of a business creating an alluring experience is Herman’s Boy, a food-lovers destination that has a roastery, bakery, confectionary and smokehouse all located in a former farmhouse. It’s used the farmstead’s sprawling footprint to its advantage, creating separate nooks for modern cookware and gadgets, a tea selection tucked in wooden, pull-down drawers, and a fragrant coffee area where a window lets customers watch burlap sacks of beans being poured into the slowly-turning roaster. A separate room houses high-end grilling equipment and accessories. For a homey touch, all of this is accented with well-


placed antiques ranging from the early 1900s thru the 1930s and ’40s. “When people come here, it’s kind of a visual treat for them,” said Jeff Havemeier, co-owner of the Rockford business, located 15 miles north of Grand Rapids. Started by his parents nearly 40 years ago, Herman’s Boy is now owned by Havemeier and his two brothers. It’s a hometown favorite of local-turned-celebrity Ginger Zee, Chief Meteorologist for ABC News, who stops in for an order of bagel dogs when she is in West Michigan. She even had them served a few years ago at her Northern Michigan wedding, which generated local and national headlines. Bagel dogs and caramel pecan rolls have remained menu favorites for decades. “While we keep trying to find something new and exciting to create, a lot of the products have been made the same way as always,” Havemeier said of their deli mainstays that draw customers daily.

Herman’s Boy in Rockford is all about the experience, offering specialty foods, roasted coffee on site and more. (Photo courtesy of Herman’s Boy)

EXPERTISE PAYS OFF If Herman’s Boy is about the experience, retailer Adam Barden emphasizes expertise with his two mid-Michigan True Value hardware stores. That strategy has paid off, with same-store sales up 12 percent over last year. “Our sweet spot with customers is that we focus on building relationships with them so we understand their projects really well, and we are able to give them well-tailored advice on what to do, what products to use and how to finish their projects,” Barden said. One category that has been important for the retailer is paint because customers are looking for expertise in figuring out what products they need and narrowing down paint options for their projects. The retailer’s repair shop is also very popular with customers. The

two stores fix everything from windows and screens to small engines, from lawnmowers and chainsaws, to lamps and lighting fixtures. The retailer even fabricated a vent for a neighboring business whose ice cream machine was giving off too much heat. Barden’s parents purchased the Vassar store in 1980. He grew up in the business before heading to college to earn an engineering degree and work in the automotive industry for 15 years. In 2009, during the height of The Great Recession, he bought his parents’ business so he could downshift to a manageable work-family balance. Three years ago, he opened a second store in Frankenmuth that is seeing double-digit sales growth. These days, he is feeling like he made the right decision. “I don’t miss many of my kid’s basketball or soccer games, and that is important to me.”

MRA scholarship competition begins Jan. 1 Is college in your future, or the future of a dependent or employee? Then be aware of Michigan Retailers Association Foundation’s annual scholarship competition. The competition kicks off Jan. 1 for college and professional training scholarships. Applications will be accepted through Monday, April 1 for 21 one-year scholarships for the 2019-20 academic year. Those eligible to apply are high school seniors and college freshman, sophomores and juniors who are dependent children of owners

or full-time employees of MRA’s nearly 5,000 member businesses. Part-time employees who are full-time students are also eligible. Scholarships range from $1,000 to $2,000. Two new scholarships were added to the 21 we will be awarding: the Willis W. and Mary Jane Marshall Memorial Legacy Scholarship, established by Marshall Music Co’s owner, Dan Marshall, and the Orin and Tina Mazzoni & Family Legacy Scholarship, established by Orin Jewelers’ owner, Orin Mazzoni Jr. Students may apply online at MRA’s

website, www.retailers.com, under the Member Benefits tab. Students may also contact MRA’s Rachel Schrauben at rschrauben@retailers.com or by calling 800.366.3699 to check eligibility. Recipients are selected for their above-average academic performance and extracurricular activities, which can include part-time employment. Financial need is not a consideration. As of 1999, 530 scholarships have been awarded, totaling more than $514,500.

WWW.RETAILERS.COM DEC 2018 / JAN 2019

9


GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS NEWS

What Michigan’s new political landscape means to retailers ELECTION 2018: WHAT DO THE RESULTS MEAN FOR RETAILERS? It’s official, Michigan voters shifted the political landscape in the state from a reddish-purple to a darker bluish-purple last month. Democrats won big in statewide races, including picking up the governor’s seat with Governor-elect Gretchen Whitmer, but failed to flip control of the legislature.

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

The good news: We don’t expect movement to undo the progress we’ve made over the last eight years.

There will be new leaders in the Michigan House and Senate. Speaker-elect Lee Chatfield (R-Levering) and Senate Majority Leader-elect Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) will take over in January as 53 new faces join the legislature. That’s a lot of turn over, mostly thanks to term limits, which means a lot of time educating new legislators on retail issues. Federally, Democrats took back control of the U.S. House of Representatives but the Senate remains under Republican control. The three, ballot proposals to legalize marihuana, change how political districts are drawn, and voting reforms all passed easily. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR RETAILERS? Divided government often means legislative gridlock on contentious issues. That said, the majority of the bills the Michigan legislature passes are largely bipartisan and often nearly unanimous. Many of the policy items MRA works on fall into this bipartisan category. We anticipate finding consent on items like implementing the Wayfair decision and addressing sales tax collection on marketplace platforms, curbing the opioid epidemic by requiring prescriptions be sent electronically to the pharmacy, and working towards infrastructure improvements (roads, broadband, water, and recycling). There is much we can accomplish working with leaders on both sides of the aisle. WHAT ABOUT ALL THOSE CAMPAIGN PROMISES? Big ticket policy items, like auto no-fault reform or major tax changes, will likely be at a standstill. That’s not to say they won’t be discussed or that it’s impossible for leaders to reach consensus. What we do know, is that it will be more challenging for each side to find an acceptable compromise on hot-button issues. The good news is we don’t expect serious movement to undo much of the good work we’ve done over the last eight years to prevent a patchwork of

10

MICHIGAN RETAILER DEC 2018 / JAN 2019

burdensome local regulations on retailers. And while governor-elect Whitmer may have campaigned on some items that may concern retailers, like a $15 minimum wage, those too will likely end up in the legislature’s “agree to disagree” pile. HOW BEST TO MOVE FORWARD At MRA we’re excited about the growth and transformation of the retail industry. While it seems that only the store closings capture the headlines, a recent report from the IHL Group showed that retail is actually the fastest growing sector, due to the strong economy and consumer confidence. Our job is to share that good news with lawmakers and provide them guidance to keep it going. Retail is responsive to what customers want and the state must be equally responsive to allow retailers to meet customer’s changing expectations. That means making 21st century updates to laws and looking to the future rather than the current market or the past. We look forward to continuing retail’s growth in 2019 with the incoming Whitmer administration and the legislature. Together, we can work to promote and protect the retail industry that provides invaluable experience of many individuals’ first job as well as careers that extend far beyond the checkout counter.

Why our PAC? Consider donating to the MRA political action committee. Why? • Because we need to educate 53 new lawmakers in the state Capitol on the benefits of open markets, fewer regulations and simple policies. • Because we’ve blocked legislation that would create a patchwork of complicated local regulations. • Because we’re a proven force in Lansing, with big legislative wins, including stopping product bans and repealing item pricing.

MRA: Your champion on retail issues bit.ly/RetailersPAC


RETAIL TECH

JOHN MAYLEBEN ETA CPP and MRA Consultant Contact John at jmayleben@retailers.com

Failure to fill out PCI compliance questionnaires can jeopardize all your hard work.

Avoid fines in a data breach: Be sure you’re PCI Compliant Are you ready?

the physical terminal without your knowledge.

Over the years, the efforts around data security have moved from understanding how to tear the carbon paper on the sales draft in half without getting your fingers dirty to making sure your systems (both physical and digital) are built in such a way to protect your customer’s data from the bad guys.

The other side of data protection is dependent on you and your employees understanding and managing the various aspects of card data security. We have partnered with a vendor, Control Scan, to help you understand and document these steps. To start the process, you should visit www.compliance101.com and click on the “get started” button.

While we all may wish for the “old days” and the ease of doing business, those stories should be saved for those moments when one of your youngest employees asks about “those days.” Today, you need to be paying attention to many different things and documenting that you have made the appropriate adjustments to your business practices. For businesses that accept payment cards for goods or services, that means completing the appropriate Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ) and signing the Attestation of Compliance. Failure to do so can jeopardize all of the work that you have done to make your business a success. As a merchant processing with Michigan Retailers Association, you have a number of resources available to you to help with this process. First, we only install or program terminals that meet the current PCI standards for hardware to protect the data in those terminals. These include chip card readers and anti-tamper protections. This prevents a bad guy from accessing card data from When temperatures fall, office workers bring out the portable space heaters to keep warm. As an employer, you should make employees aware that that portable electric space heaters can present a “major workplace safety hazard,” according to Electrical Safety Foundation International.

News from Retailers Insurance

“Fires can be caused by space heaters without adequate safety features, space heaters placed near combustibles or space heaters that are improperly plugged in,” ESFI says. If an employer doesn’t have a policy banning these devices, it’s important that they establish safe guidelines for their use.

This website is designed to help you successfully complete the SAQ that is associated with the way you handle card transactions and it will, in the end, complete the attestation of compliance that is required – annually – for any merchant that accepts payment cards for goods or services. Once you complete this process, you will be prompted each year to renew it and you will have to update it during the year if you make any changes (new terminal, add or delete a web site, etc.) Failure to complete the SAQ can create a situation where you will have increased fines and penalties from the card brands and/or government organizations if you have a data breach. Taking a couple of minutes now will save your company many hours of frustration in the future. As always, MRA help desk staff are available to answer any questions about this or any other payment processing issues at 800-563-5981, option 2. You can: • Require employees to obtain approval from a supervisor or facility manager. • Ensure the device is certified by an independent testing laboratory. • Position the heater at least 3 feet away from flammable materials. • Keep heaters out of high-traffic areas, such as doorways, where they can be a tripping hazard. • Don’t use extension cords or power strips, as these can overheat and start a fire. Plug the device into a wall outlet. Don’t plug additional devices into the same outlet. • Never leave the heater unattended while in operation. At the end of the workday, unplug the space heater. WWW.RETAILERS.COM DEC 2018 / JAN 2019

11


5 things employers should know about the new Marihuana Act

By LAURA J. GENOVICH Foster, Swift, Collins & Smith, P.C.

On Nov. 6, Michigan voters approved Proposal 1, the Marihuana Legalization Initiative. Among other things, the initiated law makes marihuana legal under state and local law for adults 21 years of age or older, makes industrial hemp legal under state and local law, and controls the commercial production and distribution of marihuana under a system that licenses, regulates, and taxes the businesses involved. The new law will be known as the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act (“Marihuana Act”) and was to take effect on Dec. 6. Generally, the Marihuana Act allows adults over the age of 21 to possess and use up to 2.5 ounces of marihuana and cultivate up to 12 marihuana plants for personal use, and it provides for regulations of commercial marihuana businesses. If you are an employer in Michigan, here are 5 things you should know about the new Marihuana Act:

1. You can still enforce a workplace drug policy. The Marihuana Act states that it “does not prohibit an employer from disciplining an employee for violation of a workplace drug policy or for working while under the influence of marihuana.” The Marihuana Act also “does not prevent an employer from refusing to hire, discharging, disciplining, or otherwise taking an adverse employment action against a person with respect to hire, tenure, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because of that person’s violation of a workplace drug policy or because that person was working while under the influence of marihuana.” This means that legalized marihuana is not a “free pass” for employees to violate workplace drug policies or work while under the influence. Drug-free policies can still be enforced.

2. … But you may wish to update your workplace drug policy. Because marihuana can remain in an individual’s system for some time, employers should decide how they wish to address marihuana in their workplace drug policy. The employer can keep a strict drug-free policy, which would allow for termination of any employee who tests positive for marihuana, or the employer can adopt a more flexible standard based on the employee’s conduct rather than solely the presence of marihuana. In either event, the policy should be clear about how marihuana use will be treated, and employees should be educated about the policy so that they know their off-site marihuana use can still negatively impact their employment.

3. Marihuana is still illegal under federal law. Michigan law cannot override federal law, and under federal law, the possession or use of marihuana is still illegal. This is important for employers who contract with the federal government, as the 12

MICHIGAN RETAILER DEC 2018 / JAN 2019

Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 (DFWA) requires some federal contractors and grantees to provide a drug-free workplace as a condition of receiving a contract or grant from the federal government. If your business contracts with the government and is subject to the DFWA, you may be required to keep a strict drug-free policy.

4. You can prohibit customers and visitors from smoking marihuana on your business premises. The Marihuana Act does not authorize “consuming marihuana in a public place or smoking marihuana where prohibited by the person who owns, occupies, or manages the property.” This means that a private business (or public body, like a library) can prohibit customers or visitors from smoking marihuana on site. The language is unclear as to whether a private business can prohibit all marihuana use on site, but at a minimum, a smoking ban should be upheld under the new law.

5. Each community can decide whether to allow commercial marihuana establishments – but the use of marihuana will be legal everywhere. Under the new law, Michigan municipalities may completely prohibit marihuana establishments within their boundaries, limit the number of permitted establishments, and regulate any permitted establishments. A “marihuana establishment” means a marihuana grower, marihuana safety compliance facility, marihuana processor, marihuana microbusiness, marihuana retailer, marihuana secure transporter, or any other type of marihuanarelated business licensed by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. Municipalities may not prohibit the use of marihuana within their boundaries, but they can regulate commercial marihuana establishments. Individuals may petition to initiate an ordinance to provide for the number of marihuana establishments or to completely prohibit marihuana establishments within a municipality, and if the petition requirements are met, then the ordinance must be submitted to the electors of the municipality at the next regular election. Many municipalities have already “opted out” by adopting ordinances that prohibit marihuana establishments. If you have questions about how the Marihuana Act will affect your business, or if you need assistance in updating your workplace drug policy, please contact the author. Laura J. Genovich is a shareholder in the Grand Rapids office of Foster, Swift, Collins & Smith, P.C. Laura advises public and private employers about their rights and responsibilities under Michigan’s marihuana laws. She represents municipalities, businesses, and individual clients in litigation, employment issues, and other matters across the state. She can be reached at (616) 726-2238 or lgenovich@fosterswift.com


catch-all drawer The

Tidbits to make business easier

MICHIGAN’S TOURISM TAKES OFF Dave Lorenz, vice president of Travel Michigan reports that Michigan had a very good tourism year. A new Tourism Economics report on 2017 travel showed strong growth in all major categories. “Visitation to Michigan grew 2.9 percent to reach more than 122 million. Visitor spending increased 4 percent to close in on $25 billion.” Lorenz wrote in his weekly email. “The fact that visitor spending outpaced visitation growth, is a strong indicator that more visitors came to Michigan – and they spent more on each trip.” Lodging and food and beverages sectors both grew nearly 6 percent in 2017, continuing a 5-year trend.   Visitor spending supported 224,000 jobs, an increase of 1.4 percent and 3,000 more jobs than in 2016. “This is impressive when you consider the shortage of available workers, making it difficult for employers to find candidates for openings,” Lorenz said. The tourism activity generated $2.7 billion in state and local taxes. MICHIGAN JOB GROWTH Michigan is on the precipice of the matching longest period of job growth since World War II, say economists from the University of Michigan who conduct an annual state economic forecast. The state is in its ninth year of uninterrupted job growth, the Detroit News reported in a Nov. 16 story. In October, the unemployment rate was 3.9 percent, and the researchers say the job market will be tight for the next two years. Part of that is the good economy; but also Baby Boomers are beginning to retire permanently after staying in the workforce longer than expected. They’re exiting faster than younger generations are filling those vacancies, according to Martin Lavelle of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s Detroit branch. While job growth is slowing a bit, the good news is that Michigan’s diversified economy has contributed to the positive picture. In the late 1990s, manufacturing was responsible for 20 percent of Michigan’s jobs; today it’s 14 percent.

MRA recently sponsored with TechTown Detroit a series of seminars on gearing up for the holidays. Attendees learned about marketing, merchandising and more. THE LATEST TRICK IN RETAIL FRAUD Criminals are using a new trick to commit retail fraud, by taking advantage of stores that offer pickup for online purchase, according to a Nov. 16 Detroit Freep Press story. Criminals order merchandise from their phone while in the store or parking lot and then quickly arrive at the online pickup area for their items – before the online system has fully connected and spotted fraudulent activity. The criminals are hoping the employee behind the counter will be unwilling to offend a customer, so they’ll promptly fill the order, perhaps asking only for a driver’s license (which is easily falsified), the Freep reports. This platform is more popular because it’s more difficult to create a fake credit card with the new chip technology. GOLDEN SHOES GETS AWARD Golden Shoes in downtown Traverse City was awarded a Gold Medal Service Award for its customer service from Footwear Insight. The awards are given based on observations during secret shops. Stores are rated on such things as how customers are greeted, the appearance and expertise of sales associates, merchandise displays and more. Bill Golden is a director on the Michigan Retailers Association board. He is a co-owner of the store, which has been family owned and operated since 1883. WWW.RETAILERS.COM DEC 2018 / JAN 2019

13


It’s time to get your retail calendar in order! JAN Here are some suggested dates for you to be aware of. These may offer potential sales opportunities or flag you as dates that may affect your sales.

1

1 New Year’s Day

A day for the Rose Bowl and other college football games so expect people to stock up on party supplies.

21 Martin Luther King Jr. Day

FEB

14

2 Groundhog Day 3 The Super Bowl

The Greatest Show on Turf, celebrated with beer, snacks and sport paraphernalia.

5 Chinese New Year – Year of the Pig 14 Valentine’s Day

The first post-Christmas present-giving opportunity of the New Year. Flowers, chocolates, jewelry and lingerie top the list of most frequent gifts.

17

MAR

18 Presidents’ Day 24 The Oscars

8 International Women’s Day 17 St. Patrick’s Day

APR

1 April Fool’s Day 19 Good Friday 21 Easter Sunday 22 Earth Day 23 World Book Day

This is a United Nations charity that strives to provide every child a book of their own. If you carry books, this is a good cause and a promotional opportunity.

14

MICHIGAN RETAILER DEC 2018 / JAN 2019

23


MAY

5

5 5 11 12 27

28

Cinco de Mayo Ramadan (through Jun 4) World Fair Trade Day Mother’s Day Memorial Day

JUL

3 Eid al-Fitr 16 Father’s Day

21 Summer Solstice

16

Stock up socks, ties, golf balls ... you know the drill.

31

AUG

-14 Wimbledon 1 4 Independence Day 28 Back To School

10 Eid al-Adha

Traditionally the last weekend in July is the busiest for back-to-school purchases.

4-6

JUN

A worldwide Muslim festival.

31 International Bacon Day

SEP

21

2 Labor Day 21 Oktoberfest (through Oct 6) 29 Rosh Hashanah (through Oct 1)

OCT

4-6 Buy Nearby Weekend

Do you want to participate in MRA’s Buy Nearby Weekend? If so, contact Rachel Schrauben at rschrauben@retailers.com for more info!

NOV

16 Bosses Day 31 Halloween

DEC

2 22 21 25 26 31

30

11 Veterans Day 28 Thanksgiving

31

Cyber Monday Hanukkah (through Dec 30) Super Saturday!! Christmas After Christmas sales New Year’s Eve

In 2018, this was the start to a record-breaking shopping weekend. Stock up!

29 Black Friday 30 Small Business Saturday (#ShopSmall)

WWW.RETAILERS.COM DEC 2018 / JAN 2019

15


In his own words Dearborn Sausage Company

Opened: 1946 Locations: 2450 Wyoming, Dearborn, and 29616 Gratiot Ave., Roseville Specialties: Frankfurters, Polish kielbasa, spiral sliced and glazed ham MRA member since: 2018 Service: Workers’ Compensation President/CEO: Donald Kosch

By RACHEL SCHRAUBEN

Does your business have a unique story? Contact rschrauben@retailers.com.

Dearborn Sausage Company, located just outside of Detroit, was founded in 1946 by Victor Kosch. Victor immigrated from Hungary, where he grew up in an orphanage, to pursue the American Dream. With him, he brought his culinary expertise. The Dearborn Sausage Co. started with Victor and just a few employees; now, under son Donald’s leadership, employs 300 people. Products range from hot dogs to ham and are sold at their two locations in Dearborn and Roseville and at many southeastern Michigan sports venues. Products are also sold at independent and larger retailers, such as Meijer and Kroger. Corporate Controller Aaron Peacock shares what it’s like to work in a food business that can explode during the holidays. IN HIS OWN WORDS Our most popular product... Especially during the busiest seasons - Thanksgiving, Christmas Top: Meats sit in the hickory cooler at Dearborn Sausage Co. Bottom: The company has retail outlets in Dearborn and Roseville. Photos: STEVE JESSMORE

16

MICHIGAN RETAILER DEC 2018 / JAN 2019


and Easter – it’s our torch-glazed spiral ham. Throughout the years this product has become a customer favorite at family dinner tables because of its incredible flavor and sweet accent. This ham has also expanded to include corporate gifts for employees, retail locations statewide and company work gatherings. We sell over a million pounds of the torch-glazed ham annually. We also have many items that are popular year-around. When the weather turns warm and people are firing up their grills, most people celebrate with our hot dogs, smoked kielbasa and fresh sausage offerings. We’ve had people as far as Hawaii call and request product because without the Dearborn element, their summer just isn’t the same. This is a testimony to the relationship Dearborn Sausage has formed with its customers and the piece that it plays in so many people’s memories. Each year brings its own challenges... The Company has often needed to adapt to the changing market. From the 2008 recession to consumer’s transforming tastes, we’re continually concentrating on our legacy of making quality products every time. Standard and innovative new products allow us to continue to serve the customers who have often times grown up on our products. Favorites continue to be our torch glazed ham and kielbasa. When it comes to other products, some customers prefer skinless hot dogs over natural casing and some vice-versa. Our beef jerky and mini-stix line has also become very popular with our customers. The snack protein market has really expanded as people look for healthy alternatives for snacking. Our motto is “Feed Every Adventure” because we believe that these products offer a great way to fuel up while on the go or undertaking any activity. We prioritize health and sanitation. The food business necessitates a very intimate relationship between our employees and our customers. We are making and handling the product that many people will use to feed their families. That entails a level of trust in the company and its employees to ensure product quality with health and sanitation throughout the entire process. Our lines have consistent management oversight and employees go through daily, monthly and quarterly training. We also have visual cues throughout the plant. When we ship our online orders... Our products are always maintained at a maximum temperature of 32°F to ensure that we preserve the highest level of product quality and freshness. Each package is prepared at near freezing temperatures and includes multiple ice packs, depending on the size of the package. They guarantee that all of the product in each shipment will remain at no more than 32°F during the two-day freight time. We added a recipe section on our website because... It’s a great way to get into the holiday spirit and incorporate kids into meal preparation. For a look at some of their products and recipes, visit: www.DearbornBrand.com. Top left: Corporate Controller Aaron Peacock. Other photos: Scenes from Dearborn Sausage Co.’s retail outlet and processing plant located in Dearborn, Mich. The company increases its workforce by 33 percent during the holidays to keep up with the popularity of its torch-glazed spiral hams. WWW.RETAILERS.COM DEC 2018 / JAN 2019

17


LOTTERY

2018 expected to set records for retailer lottery commissions Retailer commissions went up about 7 percent from the previous record of $248.4 million set last year. BRIAN O’NEILL Lottery Commissioner

The preliminary results for the Lottery’s 2018 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 third straight year. This impressive record is the result of teamwork between the Lottery and its 11,000 retailers across the state. The 2018 figures show a record $3.6 billion in Lottery sales, topping the previous record set in 2017 by about $300 million. Retailers also enjoyed a record year in 2018, with commissions hitting a record $264.9 million, up about 7 percent from the previous record of $248.4 million set last year. The Lottery’s instant game portfolio once again was a major part of this success. Instant games remain a favorite for the most loyal Lottery players, as well as casual players, and make up nearly 42 percent of overall sales.

We’ve got plans to cover all of yours. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network offers the complete insurance solution to protect the overall health and well-being of your employees. For more information, contact the Michigan Retailers Association at 517-372-5656 GROUP HEALTH PLANS | SPECIALTY BENEFITS | BCBSM.COM/EMPLOYERS

MICHIGAN

DOWNLOAD OUR MOBILE APP

DEC 2018 / JAN 2019

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 total about $938 million, the fourth consecutive record annual contribution. Since it began in 1972, the Lottery has provided more than $22 billion to support public education in our state. The record results in 2018 wouldn’t have happened without each retailer’s hard work and commitment to serving customers and the Lottery’s mission. We’re excited about the opportunities that 2019 presents, and look forward to working with retailers to break even more records! About 97 cents of every dollar spent on Lottery tickets is returned to the state in the form of contributions to the state School Aid Fund, prizes to players and commissions to vendors and retailers.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network are nonprofit corporations and independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. R076108

1 18R076108_MichRetailersAssocAd.indd MICHIGAN RETAILER

The Lottery’s marketing team developed a number of advertising campaigns to support new instant games, helping to raise awareness of our games and boost sales for retailers. That work paid off in a big way in 2018, with total sales of instant games surpassing $1 billion for the fourth straight year. Instant game sales increased an impressive 15 percent from 2017 to $1.5 billion.

12/11/17 3:38 PM


132-year-old Mitchell’s Department Store awarded Centennial Retailer By RACHEL SCHRAUBEN

Butcher Top left: Employee Sheryl Butcher nominated Mitchell’s Department Store in Leslie for a Centennial award. Top right: Jim and Nancy Mitchell own the store, which has been open for 132 years. Right: The store in the early 1900s and today. Photos: PATRICK D. KERWIN

Jim Mitchell isn’t a stranger to the hard work and dedication it takes to own and operate a business. As the fourth-generation owner of Mitchell’s Department Store in Leslie, he’s been around retail since birth. Michigan Retailers Association presents centennial plaques to Michigan businesses who hit the extraordinary anniversary. Mitchell’s Department Store is overdue to receive the honor. Jim’s great-grandfather, George S., opened the first Mitchell’s Department Store in downtown Jackson in 1886. When a fire in 1906 destroyed a section of property at the corner of Main and Bellevue in downtown Leslie, George S. took an opportunity and moved their dry goods and grocery business to the neighboring town. The store survived the Depression and continued to grow – as did the future Mitchell-family employees. George S. eventually brought his sons, John M. and George Jr., into partnership in the business. In 1953, George Jr. passed away and John M. became partners with his sons, Norman and Marvin. The business grew and the tools of the trade were passed down another generation. In 1961, John M. retired. Current owner, Jim Mitchell, took over the family business in 1981. Jim, who served as chairman of the Leslie Downtown Development Authority in 1997 and 1999, found his niche. The focus remains on the customer – what they need, what they are looking for and what sizes and styles no one else carries. The store stocks quality products and prides itself on not overpricing them. In 1981, the store transformed from a dry goods and grocery store to its current format: shoes, men and women’s clothing and accessories and the top-selling item, Carhartt-branded clothing – a large need in a rural, farming town. If an item is out of stock, or a special

order needs to be placed, Mitchell’s will make sure you get what you need. Employee Sheryl Butcher, who has worked in the store since 2011, nominated Jim Mitchell for the Centennial award. “Jim and his wife Nancy are the two nicest people you will ever meet,” Butcher says. “They are incredible bosses, who treat us like family and it is an honor to work at a business that Jim’s family started so long ago. I look forward to many more years with Mitchell’s.” Jim says the next step for the store hasn’t been determined, but he’s excited to see where it goes. If you know of a business over 100 years old, contact MRA’s Rachel Schrauben at rschrauben@retailers.com or nominate a retailer at www.retailers.com/member-benefits/member– recognition. WWW.RETAILERS.COM DEC 2018 / JAN 2019

19


So you’re going to a business holiday party... By DOUG BROWN I would like to share some helpful tips on how to attend a business holiday party and what pitfalls to avoid. I am a bit of an expert as I have broken just about every rule I will cite: • Notice the first word in “business holiday party” is “business.”  Your goal is to earn a business opportunity not “win the party.” • Bring business cards. • Arrive early/leave early. The hosts or keynote speakers will be accessible early in the evening – connect with them before it gets too crowded. Leave when there’s a lull or the volume of the conversation starts to lower. • Leave the cell phone in the car. Your text can wait, and anyone watching you bowed down over your phone won’t be impressed. • Bring your own name badge. Yes, this sounds a little weird, but your name sloppily handwritten with a heavy black sharpie does not make a good first impression. Also, if the adhesive or clamp on the back of your name badge has ever ruined your clothes you know what I mean.  • Forget what your mother told you and talk to strangers. Engage the first person you make eye contact with in a conversation and see where it takes you.  There’s nothing worse than hovering around “Mr./Ms. Big” waiting to lay your witty line on them along with everyone else. • Don’t let your eyes wander around the room looking for a “better” prospect - have the courtesy to give your undivided attention to the person you are engaged with. Politely excuse yourself (“I’m going to circulate”) if the conversation is strained or if this individual is not a suitable prospect for business. • Unless you are Kevin Hart or Will Ferrell, don’t try to be funny. You are at a business meeting trying to make a professional connection that can help grow your business.

• Be a good listener and give positive non-verbals (head nods etc.). People are often more impressed and will open up when you pay attention to what they have to say. • My mom always said to stay away from religion, cars and politics when trying to be a good conversationalist. Quoting Rush Limbaugh or Rachel Maddow will not win you many friends. • Watch the drinks: No one does business with the life of the party and they are rarely amused by them. If it’s cocktails only, drink ginger ale or club soda and let ‘em wonder what’s really in your glass.  • Because your device is in the car, find a quiet place to write down as many details from your conversation as you can on the back of the prospect’s business card or an index card. Sound crazy? It works. I guarantee that if you do not recap the conversation at that moment you will mess it up the next morning when you try to remember what you discussed with whom. • Ask your host for a list of attendees so you know who to connect with afterwards. The worst they can say is no and half the time they will provide it. One follow-up question for an important prospect you missed could be “I missed you at ______’s gig, can you take a quick call to catch up?” • The next day, drop a hand-written note (not an email) to everyone you spoke with and include your business card (assume they forgot who or what you are, and lost or pitched your card.) Doug Brown is with ASTI Environmental and co-chair of P3 Retail Programs and past chair of government relations and the Michigan Idea Exchange with International Council of Shopping Centers. He brings together stakeholders to collaborate on land development projects, including brownfield redevelopments. You can contact him at dbrown@asti-env.com.

MRA’s Private Insurance Exchange

Let us show you how the MRA private exchange takes the hassle out of group health insurance. Get a quote at bit.ly/MRAexchange Questions? Call 800.366.3699 ext. 681 Fewer than two or more than 50 full-time employees, please call the above number.

20

MICHIGAN RETAILER DEC 2018 / JAN 2019


New Members

NHC Financial Inc., Ann Arbor Buckley Shoes LLC, Bad Axe Rachel Sovereign Memorial Home, Bay City Holdship Corporation, Cadillac The Office Shop, Calumet Gorillatechs LLC, Cedar Springs Bisbee Car Company Inc., Davison Macs Airplane Covers LLC, Deerton Ariya’s Apparel & Accessories, Detroit Cydara LLC, Detroit Hometown Pizzeria of Farwell Inc., Farwell North Ottawa Rod & Gun Club, Grand Haven Grand Ledge Jewelers, Grand Ledge Tiny World Tours, Grand Rapids The Honeysuckle Co LLC, Grand Rapids Baseline Equipment Sales LLC, Grand Rapids Beemers Tanning LLC, Greenville Pointe Area Assisted Transportation Svc, Grosse Pointe Farms Kookaburra LLC dba Cabbage Patch Cafe, Grosse Pointe Park Adler Lumber Inc., Gwinn Holland Town Center, Holland Aukema and Company PC, Holland Valeo/Training LLC, Holland Indiana Physical Therapy Inc., Indiana J & J Locksmiths, Kalamazoo Alchemist Sculpture Foundry Inc., Kalamazoo Michigan Association of Justice PAC, Lansing Flat River Electric LLC, Lowell Dex’s Ventures Inc. dba Dex’s Loggers Landing, Luther Diner 31 LLC, Manistee Specialized Concrete LLC, Marion Advanced Mobile Accessories Inc., Marquette Goodwill Industries of N WI & Upper MI, Marquette U.P. Digestive Disease Assoc. PC, Marquette IBEW Local 906, Marquette Cakes by Stephanie LLC, Monroe Mueller Heating & Cooling, Muskegon Scott Meats Inc., Muskegon Heights Okemos Family Dentistry, Okemos Charter Township of Meridian, Okemos Wurtsmith Air Museum Inc., Oscoda Martin Vargas dba Cancun Mexican Restaurant, Paw Paw J Morsman Tax & Accounting Solutions Inc., Portage Daimay North American Automotive Inc., Redford Cannonsburg Wood Products Inc., Rockford Wire All Inc., Rockford Stony Lake Corporation Inc., Saline Hagen Transport LLC, Shelby Township MC Whips LLC, Sterling Heights Arcade Ent LLC dba Big Toys, Sterling Heights DC Hunt Club dba Deer Creek Hunt Club, Three Oaks Prime Logistics Inc., Utica Exigent Landscaping LLC, Utica B & L Plating Inc., Warren Black River Waterproofing LLC, Zeeland

Electronic transactions Credit cards, gift cards, check processing, e-commerce – we offer it all!

Get a quote today

Email sales@retailers.com or call 800.366.3699

0518

WWW.RETAILERS.COM DEC 2018 / JAN 2019

21


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

Profile for Michigan Retailers Association

DEC 18/JAN 19 Michigan Retailer  

The December 2018-January 2019 issue of Michigan Retailer, the official publication of Michigan Retailers Association.

DEC 18/JAN 19 Michigan Retailer  

The December 2018-January 2019 issue of Michigan Retailer, the official publication of Michigan Retailers Association.