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FEB/MAR 2020 The official publication of the Michigan Retailers Association


Chickens & eggs

Herbruck’s Poultry Ranch owners prepare for a cage-free world A resource for family-owned businesses Tips to ensure your parking lot is safe 2019 Legislators of the Year

Volume 45 No. 1

Herbruck’s stays on the cutting edge in both the art and science of egg production.


Chair Becky Beauchine Kulka Diamonds and Fine Jewelry, Okemos


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

President and CEO


President and CEO Michigan Retailers Association

Allendale True Value, Allendale


Leppink’s Food Centers, Belding

Vice Chair Little Forks Outfitters, Midland


Treasurer Mondial Properties, Birmingham


Past Chair Orin Jewelers, Garden City


Golden Shoes, Traverse City



Target, Retired






Design Manager


Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island


Marshall Music Company, Lansing


Credit Card Group

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


Neiman’s Family Market, St. Clair


Great Northern Trading Co., Rockford


TDU Consulting, LLC, Ann Arbor


Meijer, Inc., Grand Rapids


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.

Board Member Emeritus


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.





HERBRUCK’S page 8 It all started as a family farm. Now Herbruck’s supplies eggs to most major Michigan grocers and all the McDonalds this side of the Mississippi.



3 IT’S TAX TIME Businesses have an easier option for filing this year.

2 FROM THE CE0 Changes come with the retirement of Baby Boomers.

5 LEGISLATORS OF THE YEAR MRA announces the lawmakers most instrumental for retail in 2019.

3 FIVE TIPS More and more, customers want your values to align with theirs.

6 HELP FOR FAMILY BUSINESSES Family Business Alliance gets businesses to the next generation.

13 LEGALLY SPEAKING Procrastinating raises your legal risk.

7 CREDIT CARD Updates to keep your payments processing smoothly. 15 LAW CHANGES Here’s what you need to know about new laws passed in 2019. 20 ASK US FIRST Our new series encourages you to contact us with questions.

Retailers.com RetailersInsurance.com BuyNearbyMI.com

14 GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS New regulations happen when you aren’t paying attention. 16 IN THEIR OWN WORDS Jerry and Lyndy Bolthouse of Hastings Ace Hardware. 18 RIC NEWS Is your parking lot safe? 19 RETAIL TECH How our free data breach insurance covers you. 21 NEW MEMBERS

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



FROM THE CEO A Boomer brain drain also has its upside A topic that’s been on my mind lately is the impact of retiring baby boomers. At MRA we’re seeing the effect both internally at the Association and within our membership. A statistic commonly thrown out in various publications is that baby boomers, those born between 1946 and 1964, are retiring at a rate of 10,000 per day. With so many looming retirements, workforce planning becomes difficult. I started at MRA in 2011 and I had the good fortune of joining an extremely experienced leadership team, many of which were of the baby boomer generation. As an employer, we’re very proud of our workforce longevity, and we have many longtime employees that have dedicated their careers to serving the Association and its members. Longevity can be both a blessing and a curse. While it’s wonderful to have tenured employees, it can be difficult to replace them when that day for retirement arrives. We’ve had several retirements that were difficult to replace: • Jim Hallan, President and CEO, 34 years at MRA • Jean Sarasin, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, 33 years at MRA • John Mayleben, SVP of Technology and New Product Development, 30 years at MRA • Tom Scott, SVP of Communication and Marketing, 24 years at MRA Fortunately, the MRA board had the foresight to consider the impact of an aging workforce and we’ve been replenishing our talent pool for quite some time. In fact, our management team now has four individuals that are under the age of 40. Although the four of us don’t have the institutional knowledge that was lost during the aforementioned retirements (not yet at least), we bring a youthful perspective that will hopefully help the Association connect with the next generation and provide valuable services to our members.



What we have experienced at MRA is not unique and our members can relate. Recently, Mosher’s Jewelers in Port Huron announced it would be closing after an impressive 125-year run. A member of MRA since 1986, the owners decided to retire. With their children choosing a different profession, the decision was made to close a successful store. We routinely remind the media that retail is evolving, and not just in the way consumers buy goods, but also in the types of jobs that retail offers. Retail is more than the cashier behind the counter focused on finalizing the transaction with the customer. Retail involves technology, logistics and predictive modeling. The industry is filled with positions focused on getting the right product, to the right consumer, at the right time. Heck, digital marketing positions didn’t even exist 15 years ago. So while the retirements of baby boomers represent a very real “brain drain” for the industry, it also creates an opportunity to hire new talent with an eye towards the future. As the industry evolves so too do our job descriptions.

WILLIAM J. HALLAN MRA President and Chief Executive Officer

An easier option for filing tax returns Michigan’s business taxpayers now have an easier option for filing their Sales, Use and Withholding (SUW) Annual Tax Return, according to the Michigan Department of Treasury.

How customers are increasingly judging your brand It’s not just product availability, quality or price anymore. They want your store to align with their core values, according to new research. Here are five things that shoppers say influence them to purchase from a store.


Never relationships stop Supplier

Don’t wait until you need to The store chooses suppliers who start looking for your next hire. To avoid deal in scratch, products that are recruit. fair-trade starting from constantly

certified and comply with human rights or compensation laws.

Employee retention The store pays a fair wage and maybe even provides benefits.


To use the new SUW EZ Form, go to www.michigan.gov/mtobusiness and create a Michigan Treasury Online account. No personally identifiable or sensitive information will be required. Business taxpayers will need their Treasury business account number and sales, rental and payroll records for the tax year to use the new SUW Tax EZ Return. All business taxpayers are required to submit their SUW Annual Tax Returns by Feb. 28. For more information about Michigan’s business taxes, go to michigan.gov/taxes or follow the state Treasury Department on Twitter at @MITreasury.

Strong customer relationships

The store treats shoppers with dignity and provides outstanding customer service.

Ethical conduct

The store is fair in how it treats workers and customers, and is an upstanding corporate citizen.



Business taxpayers with less than $10 million in gross receipts and no allowable deductions or exemptions can file the new SUW Tax EZ Annual Return (Form 5081 EZ). This form is available exclusively through Michigan Treasury Online and requires less taxpayer information compared to the standard SUW Annual Return.


Socially responsible

The store protects society and the environment throughout the supply chain. Source: Agility PR Solutions




Pic-A-Nut’s excellence began in 1928 and to this day every pack of Pic-A-Nut is bursting with flavor that’s a result of not taking shortcuts. We use only the highest quality ingredients including nuts, dried fruit, and chocolate that allows for the perfect taste. Explore our wide variety of convenient snacking nuts, trail mixes and indulgent chocolate snacks. Our range of sizes and packages allows you to choose what is right for you and your store.

New customers contact Joe Calo at joe_calo@liparifoods.com liparifoods.com/our-brand/pic-a-nut/



Our 2019 legislators of the year helped shepherd through our top priority legislation: requiring marketplace facilitators to collect sales tax on third party sales hosted on online marketplace platforms. The bipartisan legislation sponsored by Rep. Lynn Afendoulis (R-Grand Rapids) and Rep. Joe Tate (D-Detroit) signed into law by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Dec. 12 ensured retailers have true sales tax parity for most sales. The bills brought retailing into the 21st century economy and helped us to further level the playing field between in-state retailers and out-of-state online retailers. The bills were part of a bipartisan, four-bill package that also put the Wayfair thresholds the state had already adopted into statute, preventing any potential for a legal challenge.

Rep. Lynn Afendoulis (R-Grand Rapids)

Rep. Joe Tate (D-Detroit)

State Rep. Lynn Afendoulis is serving her first term in the Michigan House of Representatives. She represents the 73rd district, which covers a portion of Kent County including the city of East Grand Rapids. As a freshman legislator, she was given the distinction of serving as chair of the House Tax Policy Committee. She also serves on the committees for Health Policy; Military, Veterans, & Homeland Security; and Transportation & Infrastructure.

State Rep. Joe Tate is serving his first term in the Michigan House of Representatives. He represents the 2nd district, which covers a portion of Wayne County including part of Detroit’s Lower East Side, Grosse Pointe Park, Grosse Pointe City, and Grosse Pointe Farms. He serves on the House Appropriations Committee and as minority vice chair of the Military, Veterans Affairs and State Police appropriations subcommittee in addition to the General Government and School Aid and Education subcommittees.

Sponsor of HB 4540, which amended the state’s Sales Tax Act, Chairwoman Afendoulis was a tireless advocate for the legislation. She was involved at every stage of the process, hammering out differences between the Department of Treasury and interested parties while keeping a keen focus on helping Michigan retailers get relief from an unfair tax system that favored their out-of-state, online competitors. HB 4540 was her first bill signed into law.

Sponsor of HB 4541, which amended the state’s Use Tax Act, Rep. Tate was one of the first legislators to express a strong interest in our marketplace bills. From our first meeting he understood the value of ensuring tax fairness for retailers and offered to help any way possible. He was instrumental in connecting with the administration and ensuring his colleagues and the Department of Treasury were supportive of the bills. He remained in frequent contact with MRA throughout the legislative process and was engaged and knowledgeable about even the smallest details. HB 4541 was his second bill signed into law.

Prior to serving in the legislature, she worked for Universal Forest Products, Inc. in various capacities, including director of corporate communication. She serves on the boards of the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, the Economic Club of Grand Rapids and Legacy Trust and on the parish council of her church, Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church. She attended Miami University (Ohio) and graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in journalism. She has one son and one daughter. Last summer she announced she is running for Congress in Michigan’s 3rd congressional district to challenge incumbent Justin Amash (an independent who’s previously run as a Republican).

Before joining the Legislature, Tate helped small businesses grow their capacity as a program manager for the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation. As a teenager, Tate earned a scholarship to play football at Michigan State University before joining the National Football League. After the NFL, he went on to serve in the United States Marine Corps, deploying twice to Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom. After an honorable discharge from the Marine Corps, he earned both an M.B.A. and a Master of Science in Environmental Policy and Planning from the University of Michigan. MICHIGAN RETAILER FEB / MAR 2020




few years ago, Doug Wildey decided to join the Family Business Alliance when his son Brian, was thinking about joining him and his oldest son, Eric, in his 20-year-old business, Game Room Guys. “It really helped facilitate some conversations on how we could bring Brian in, and do we really want this to be a true family business for the long term and those kinds of things,” said Wildey, who is also an MRA member. These days, Eric is the chief operating officer, running the dayto-day operation while Brian is vice president of logistics and purchasing. With his two sons on board, Wildey, who is the CEO, can focus on long-term goals and growing the business.

A recent Family Business Association forum featured (L-R) Nelson Jacobson, Annie Link, Mike Dykstra, Stacey Pearson and Todd Harvey. (Courtesy FMA)

FBA helps keep families in business, and business in the family Keeping a business in the family can be challenging. Less than 3% make it to the fourth generation, says Diana Schad, CEO of the Family Business Alliance.

of the state, T‌he Stevens Center for Family Business supports has a similar mission to support multi-generational family businesses with education, collaboration and networking.

“You’ve got all these wonderful entrepreneurial businesses starting in the first gen, usually with an innovative, creative, hardworking individual. And then it significantly drops even to

“Every family is different. Every process is different. There can be bumps in the road, but the most successful transitions occur when you really communicate, you really have a plan,” Schad said. While the Alliance doesn’t work through disputes among family members about how the business should be run, the organization has peer groups where members can vent and process with their peers. FBA can connect members to professional resources such as family business consultants who can moderate family meetings and provide guidance, Schad said.

L-R: Doug, Eric and Brian Wildey

Diana Schad

the second gen, and then it decreases significantly every year thereafter from the third to the fourth,” Schad said. Her husband, Matt Schad, is CEO of Nucraft, a fourth-generation, 70-year-old family business in Comstock Park that manufactures high-end office furniture. The Grand Rapids organization offers year-round programming. In 2020, they will focus on leadership. They hold large quarterly events eight workshops a year that often feature a tax firm, law firm or bank presenting on topics. FBA also has a newsletter, podcasts and educational blogs. While FBA is not limited geographically, most members are in West Michigan where the activities are held. On the east side 6


“There’s always a mentor that helps these guys work through some things and think outside the box,” Wildey said. His business began in his garage in 2001 as an amusement operation — operating video games and pinball machines in hotels, bars and skating rinks — before transitioning to a retail space in Comstock Park. Eric, the oldest, came onboard in 2009, and Brian joined in 2018. Youngest son Kevin, who currently lives in Atlanta, may eventually join. Eric, who is a member of a Next Gen peer group with FBA, says he has appreciated the experts the Alliance brings in to talk about a range of topics from business operations to succession planning. “I think there are a ton of incredible resources most people don’t know exist in the community,” he said.

Helpful tips for our credit card processing customers UPDATES Now is the time to verify your 2019 processing form 1099K for accuracy. Contact customer service if you require changes. Purchase Return Authorization is mandated for all processing devices. This will allow credit card refunds to obtain an authorization, and reflect as a pending transaction on the cardholder’s account. Are you enrolled in the Visa/Mastercard Class Action Settlement? There’s still time to enroll! Please visit http://bit.ly/VisaMC2019, or contact Customer Service at 800.563.5981 to obtain the enrollment form. You cannot impose a minimum transaction amount or a surcharge amount on Debit, Prepaid or Gift Card transactions. Partial Authorization may be enabled on your terminal. If the credit card receipt displays “Amount Due” you must collect the remaining balance by another form of payment. You must settle the credit card terminal daily and before unplugging it.

PROCESSING ERRORS If you receive a “Re-Enter or Lost Communication” response when processing a transaction, call customer service at 800.563.5981 so we can verify the transaction before you continue to process. If you currently utilize a dial-up connection on your credit card terminal and experience communication errors, you may want to explore utilizing an Ethernet connection to eliminate these errors. FRAUD CONTROL Be on the alert for other suspicious or fraudulent transactions. Contact customer service to discuss any of the following: • Multiple purchases by the same customer • A request to wire money or to ship merchandise out of the country • Multiple credit cards from the same customer • AVS (Address Verification) or V-Code (Security Code) does not match DATA SECURITY COMPLIANCE You must complete an annual PCI Self-Assessment Questionnaire to verify if your business is PCI compliant. To begin the questionnaire, visit www.compliance101.com.



Herbruck brothers

‘serve SARANAC, Mich. –

Looking at the relatively modest Herbruck’s headquarters, you wouldn’t know

the company is the biggest egg producer in Michigan and the

10th largest in the nation. 8




The brown ranch-style building off Grand River Avenue resembles a residence more than an office. Built in the 1980s, the structure was designed with big windows to take in the view of the surrounding woods and the certified trout stream that runs through the property. Inside, family portraits of three generations of Herbrucks hang above an alcove in the small lobby. Farther up the hill is the childhood home, also ranch-style, where the late Harry Herbruck Jr. and Marilyn raised their five children and grew their poultry ranch. At 88, Marilyn still lives there, making it easy for her three sons who run the business - Stephen, Greg and Herb - to come up for coffee and a chat. In many ways, the brothers see their business as an extension of family. They like to say they don’t hire people but rather adopt them into the culture of their 62-year-old enterprise that is flour-



Herbruck’s Poultry Ranch leadership - from left to right, brothers Greg, Steve and Herb Herbruck - keep the massive poultry and egg operation located between Ionia and Lowell on track and on the cutting edge.

ishing, thanks to the vision that began with their dad.

explains Stephen, Herbruck’s President and CEO.

The brothers are third-generation egg producers. Their grandfather was a butter and egg distributor. Their dad, Harry, began selling pullets in 1958, and eventually started producing eggs on the current Saranac farm location.

Stephen’s expertise is marketing and business oversight. Greg, who wanted to be a veterinarian, oversees the care of the birds, while Herb, a self-described gearhead, focuses on technology and the mechanical aspect of the operation.

EXPANSION Accelerated growth has come under the brothers’ leadership. In the past 35 years, production has tripled. They credit that expansion to using cutting-edge technology and putting a focus on the health of the birds.

As they are gathered around a conference table, their comfort with each other shows in the way they finish each other’s sentences. While Stephen is the leader, the brothers make decisions together.

MRA member Herbruck’s Poultry Ranch supplies nearly 3 billion eggs to major grocery retailers including Meijer, SpartanNash, Kroger, Costco, Fresh Thyme, Jewel-Osco and Super Value, and all of the McDonald’s east of the Mississippi through longtime customer Cargill, the Minnesota-based agribusiness giant. “It was easier, I think, with three of us to divide and conquer,”

Missing from the group are siblings Terry and Melanie. Terry, the second-oldest, retired from the business 10 years ago and now operates a pair of golf courses – Shadow Ridge and Rolling Hills in Ionia County. Melanie, the only sister, traded Michigan for Florida in the ’90s, and consults for the business. continued on page 10



Herbruck’s continued from page 9

‘WE SERVE THE BIRD’ The company’s motto is “We serve the bird.” “We found more and more success in the better you care for your animals - and the better housing and feed - result in healthier chickens that lay more eggs in the long run. We generally get more eggs because we’ll do the little things that make a difference in their lives. We’re about serving the bird, so it thrives,” explains Greg. When their grandfather started in the business, eggs were just eggs. But their dad, Harry, saw the potential for specialty eggs. The brothers figured out how to expand to offer organic, cagefree and nutrient-enhanced eggs. Herbruck’s was among the first to invest in a franchise of Eggland’s Best, the Pennsylvania-based company that started the concept of nutritionally enhanced eggs that come from feeding chickens enhanced grains. The original 19 franchisees have consolidated to 10, who own half the co-op, along with Minnesota-based Land O’Lakes. Stephen is chairman of the board. ‘OPPORTUNITY IN CHANGE’ The family business has a culture that embraces change. “We find opportunity in change. That’s why we started organic and cage-free back in the late ’90s. Everybody else thought it was a fad. We said, ‘If these things are part of the future, we want to be a leader in it. We’ve got to figure out how to do this and do this well,’” Greg said. What sets Herbruck’s apart from most of the competition is the “we serve the bird” philosophy, Stephen believes. The company is committed to being part of the 20% in the industry that do everything they can to maximize the performance of the bird vs. those who are trying to minimize costs to produce the cheapest eggs on the market. That’s why they weren’t worried when Michigan Legislature in late 2019 voted to speed up the industry’s plans to go cagefree by 2024. Two decades ago, one of their biggest customers sent them copies of the book, “Who Moved My Cheese: An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life.” The company president told them the book was about Herbruck’s approach to business. “He said, ‘You’re always the ones that are out there looking for the next thing. You’ve hit it right on a lot of things.’ Coming from such a large customer, it was high praise to us,” Herb said. The brothers look to technology for better ways to serve the bird. Stephen started Poultry Management Systems 30 years ago, which became the biggest tech supplier in the industry when it comes to bird monitoring and tracking in egg plants. They sold 10


the company six years ago to farming equipment manufacturer Big Dutchman, a company started more than a century ago in Holland, Mich., that is now German-owned. Herbruck’s remains the biggest customer of the firm, now located in Lowell. “For the last 30 years, we’ve been the supplier of technology to most of our peers and, in some cases, our competitors,” said Stephen, who is chairman of that board. AN INTEGRATED INDUSTRY Compared to other agriculture industries, the egg industry is very integrated. Herbruck’s controls the process from the genetics of its chickens to the delivery of eggs to customers. Chicks arrive when they are a day old from a hatchery that is a partner of Herbruck’s.

They are fed with corn and grains milled on-site and grown on farms throughout Ionia County. The company puts a priority on having skilled personnel to care for the birds. Its staff includes three veterinarians. There is also a fulltime USDA inspector on site.

“It’s about taking care of our people and making it right. I think it’s surprising to them when they can make an appointment and be seen the same day,” Herb said. The brothers are looking to the fourth generation of Herbruck’s to take the company to the next level. At this point, that group includes a son of each of the brothers and a daughter of Terry’s. The brothers think the next generation is up to the challenge.

They have very strict biosecurity measures not only for the health of the chicken but economic reasons. Very few people are allowed into the facility. The farm’s complex automation system is designed so once the eggs are cleaned no human hands touch them again until they are brought home from the store. This vintage business photo shows the modest beginnings “Dad picked a great spot because there’s nobody around us, and you’re trying to of Herbruck’s Poultry Ranch. make yourself an island. We actually are trying to make each site an island since they’re all close. It makes them easier to manage, but if something happens in one, there’s less risk of it happening to others,” Greg said.

“We’ve got a customer base that is growing, so you have to have to prepare for it. We try to take advantage of these opportunities to go after and meet that customer’s need and do it better than our peers,” Greg said.

Conventional or cage-free? Organic or Eggland’s Best?

Egg options abound

It’s why Herbruck’s doesn’t use outside contractors, which is how the outbreak of avian influenza subtype H5N2 bird flu spread back in 2015, resulting in 43 million chickens and turkeys in 15 states being destroyed. Herbruck’s flocks weren’t impacted but the company learned from the crisis and tightened biosecurity measures. There are strict protocols in place, including that employees can’t own or be around birds outside of work. Their uniforms of boots, clothes and coats stay on-site to avoid contamination.

Until fairly recently, eggs have been a commodity-driven category, with consumers paying the most attention to price.

CARE OF EMPLOYEES Stephen makes a point of meeting every new employee during orientation to talk about the family culture and the priority placed on the health of the chickens.

In terms of pricing, the cost of eggs rise with each category they choose: conventional, cage-free, free range, organic and pasture-raised.

But in the past 15 years, consumers have had more options when it comes to what kind of eggs they can buy.

Herbruck’s takes similar care with employees. The company pays 100% of insurance costs, which means its nearly 900 employees don’t pay premiums or deductibles. It just opened up a wellness clinic in a converted farmhouse, designed to be more convenient for workers and reduce absenteeism.

To educate customers about what these categories mean – and the differences between the eggs – Herbruck’s is launching a new website, loveyoureggs.com, in February. It features a hen character, Mamma H, who helps consumers find the type of egg best suited to their needs.

It is operated through ProMedico, a clinic management service provider.

The biggest difference in egg categories is how the hens are housed followed by what they are fed. But that has little to do with egg nutrition, which is tied to the hen’s diet. Improved egg nutrition is what’s behind Eggland’s Best, for which Herbruck’s holds the regional franchise. Those eggs, which come from hens fed a proprietary blend of grains, are marketed as an “excellent source of B2, B5 and Riboflavin plus Omega 3 and 25% lower in saturated fat.”

Page 10: Top, the egg production line is tailored for egg type and different retailers. Center, Eggland’s Best eggs come off the highly automated line. Bottom, all facilities are controlled for contaminents. Page 11, left, a Herbruck’s worker’s shirt says it all.

“We want to educate consumers on what they are buying,” said Ric Herrera, vice president of marketing for the Saranac-based egg producer.

Certified Organic eggs come from cage-free birds fed a continued on page 12



Herbruck’s egg options continued from page 11

certified organic feed. Herbruck’s free-range eggs come mainly from Mennonite and Amish farmers they work with in northern Indiana. With so many choices, the egg section at the grocery store can be confusing. “Is it better for me? Is it better for the bird? Is it better for the environment? You literally can have people scratching their heads, going, ‘I don’t know what I’m buying.’” said Herrera. “What we’re trying to do is educate them so they can make that decision based on facts versus marketing hype.” Education is more important than ever as egg producers and retailers prepare for a new Michigan law that will require all eggs sold in the state to come from cage-free hens by the end of 2024 instead of 2025. Some of Herbruck’s customers like Meijer have already switched their store-branded eggs to cage free. With those changes will come higher prices because operational costs will increase. “The last thing that we want to do is, as a responsible egg farmer, is to have consumers confused and watch the category really take the hit with all the confusion,” Herrera said.

In addition to helping consumers understand their egg choices, the campaign aims to humanize a business that has had its share of criticism from animal rights groups. The new website gives consumers an opportunity to see the different hen environments, from conventional to free range. They can type or scan a code from the egg carton onto the website to watch a video of the people who care for the birds and get a glimpse of the birds in their environments. “Everything we do is to support the birds’ health,” said Herrera. “It shows in what we do for retailers, distributors and customers in support of our “We serve the bird’ philosophy.” Herrera describes eggs as one of the last categories in the store where people aren’t well-educated. For example, shoppers understand the difference between the 80-20 and 90-10 ratios when it comes to ground beef, or what processed cheese is versus real cheese. But in the egg category confusion lingers. Herbruck’s has been working on its consumer-focused campaign for six months to educate people who buy their eggs through the company’s customers, including Meijer, Fresh Thyme and Kroger among many others. “It is really meant to drive awareness in the category. We’re not saying Herbruck’s eggs or Eggland’s Best,” Herrera says. “We’re trying to drive the category, and we’re teaming with our retail partners, who have millions of followers on their social media or digital sites.”





APRIL 19,20,21




Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow? Like many of you, as I put 2019 behind me and start 2020, I like to be as organized as possible so that I have a clear mind, specific goals and a concrete list of what I need to accomplish. Similar to business owners, as General Counsel, this often leads me to focus on how I can best mitigate legal risk for Michigan Retailers Association and, by extension, its members.

THOMAS P. CLEMENT MRA General Counsel Contact Thomas at tclement@retailers.com

Most importantly, I must commit to mitigating those risks today instead of waiting until tomorrow. As the title of this article implies, procrastination can lead to busy tomorrows. When it comes to legal risk, procrastination can directly harm your business. With this thought in mind, here are some legal and administrative tasks that you might want to put into place or review for appropriate changes. Three major categories come to mind.

“When it comes to legal risk, procrastination can directly harm your business.”

• First, have you clearly communicated to your customers what they can and should expect from the service they receive? • Second, have you clearly communicated to your staff what your policies and procedures are and what they should expect if there are violations? • Third, do you have clearly defined relationships with your vendors in order to avoid any disruptions to the service your business provides? KEEPING YOUR CUSTOMERS IN THE LOOP Businesses cannot exist without the customers they serve and retailers make every effort to provide the most customer-friendly experience possible. This positive experience can exist in a legal context as well. For example, are return policies clearly visible? Have you confirmed that any customer data collection practices, including through your website, are transparent and comply with all applicable laws? Are all advertised claims about the value of your products or business substantiated? If you offer coupons, do they state all applicable terms and conditions? A regular review of these and other policies serves two purposes: The customer appreciates knowing and will likely return and it eliminates the risk of an unpleasant contact from the Attorney General’s of-

fice advising of a complaint against your business. COMMUNICATING WITH STAFF As with customers, clear communication with staff is critical to mitigating legal risk and creating a work environment that is comfortable and safe for all employees. Towards that end, every business should have a written employment manual, acknowledged in writing by every employee, that clearly outlines all company policies. Critical policies include employee obligations and the approach to non-discrimination, sexual harassment, confidentiality, appropriate use of business assets and the proper reporting of known violations and potential consequences. The fact is employers do not try to hire employees that engage in untoward behavior, but it can exist in the workplace. Beyond untoward behavior, however, some employees may simply be unaware of the importance of things such as confidentiality. A properly written employment manual is an important tool to educate your staff and can make it much easier for you to deal with issues swiftly and effectively. GUIDELINES FOR VENDORS Managing legal risk also requires clearly defined relationships with all of your vendors. Yes, this even includes your 30-year friend down the street who has provided the cleaning service for many years. Agreements with vendors can be as simple or thorough as you choose, but they should all clearly outline scope, price, and timeframe at a minimum. In order to make sure all agreements are in place and up to date, it may be worthwhile to create a spreadsheet to track effective and end dates and any notice requirements for termination. Preparing a document like this may be cumbersome at the outset, but will greatly reduce the possibility of missed deadlines in the future. Rather than putting these tasks off until tomorrow, do them today so that you can get down to the business of doing business. There is no question that these are not the most exciting projects, but they can be lifesavers when something inevitably goes awry. On the bright side, once these policies and agreements are firmly in place, a regular review is far simpler than the initial drafting.




New regulations happen when you aren’t paying attention It’s easy to get blindsided by new rules and regulations when you’re busy running your business or getting ready for the holidays. This December was a great example of what can happen if you aren’t paying attention. Fortunately for MRA members, we were.

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

“All was going well until we started seeing notices from regulatory agencies making big changes that flew under the radar during the hoidays.”

Usually, I spend most of my time over at the Capitol in December. There’s often a flurry of activity before the legislature breaks for the holidays and if you’re not there, you could easily miss something that pops up at the last minute. Retailers made it through the final session days of 2019 with mostly good news: bills requiring online marketplaces to collect sales tax on third party sales were signed into law by Gov. Whitmer, e-prescribing legislation was swapped between the House and Senate, and a few troubling bills were stalled on the floor. Legislators even left town a week earlier than normal, giving me time to mentally prepare for the holidays. All was going well, until we started seeing notices from state and federal regulatory agencies making big changes that flew under the radar with the holidays. First, on Dec. 11 the Michigan Department of Treasury issued a notice that after the department changed its definition of “nonalcoholic,” it now believes kombucha (a fermented tea drink) should be subject to the state’s bottle deposit law beginning May 1. So, we did some quick research on kombucha and the various definitions the state was relying on to make the determination. We think there’s still some gray area here and luckily, we have some time to present those arguments before the requirement goes into place. Then on Dec. 20, President Trump signed a federal spending bill which contained a provision changing the legal age to buy tobacco or vaping products from 18 to 21. While most expected the change to take effect after rules were published, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced via a notice on its website that the change was immediate. This notice was discovered on Dec. 26 and you better believe there was no one in state or federal offices available to provide answers on what retailers should do regarding signage requirements (there is a separate requirement in state law to post a state sign stating no sales to anyone under 18) or when enforcement would start. The FDA has since announced enforcement will be ramped up. And we’re not done yet, on Jan. 2 the FDA announced it would be filing a policy with the federal register to ban sales of fruit and mint flavored cartridge-based e-cigarettes. The initial announcement did not in-



clude an effective date and it wasn’t until Jan. 7 when it was officially filed that we knew enforcement would begin on Feb. 6, 2020. Retailers will still be permitted to sell tobacco and menthol flavored e-cigarette products. The agency is able to ban these products through changes in its enforcement against certain unauthorized flavored e-cigarette products. While the agency has jurisdiction over these products which it has never officially approved, it is just now choosing to act against them. Retailers also had to comply with a Michigan minimum wage increase that took effect on Jan. 1 raising the hourly minimum to $9.65. The next one looming on the horizon is a state effort to raise the overtime threshold, 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. You may recall in 2016 President Obama’s administration attempted to increase that threshold from $23,660 to $47,476. It was held off through a preliminary injunction issued by a federal judge in Texas and the Department of Labor decided to go back to the drawing board after Pres. Trump won the November election. Earlier this year the Department of Labor announced a much more moderate increase to $35,568 that took effect on Jan. 1. But that’s not high enough according to the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity. They have proposed increasing Michigan’s overtime threshold to something between the original DOL threshold, adjusted for inflation to $51,673 or $61,272 based on research by the United Way. Known as the ALICE standard (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) $61,272 is the figure the Michigan Association of United Ways states is necessary for a family of four to afford the basics. Fortunately, this change won’t happen in the middle of the night. As a new, non-emergency rule, it must go through the full rule-making process which allows for comments and legislative oversight. While some of these changes may not have affected your business directly, it’s important to note that change can happen any time of year. Changes can be made through rules, emergency directives, or law – all of which we’ve seen happen in the past year. Which is why it’s so important to belong to an organization like MRA that has your back and watches for these under-the-radar changes.

Top 2019 law changes retailers need to know New multi-line phone system requirements

(get ready, enforcement begins Jan. 1, 2021) o Public Act 30 of 2019 modified a requirement that any business over 7,000 square feet with a multiline phone system install special equipment that can direct 9-1-1 services to the specific location in the building or series of buildings. The law took effect on Jan. 1, 2020 but enforcement won’t begin until next January. o Systems must be capable of identifying the following items (if applicable): street address, building floor, unique building identifiers for separate buildings using a common street address, and specific location of each device (room or unit number, room name, or equivalent designation for a portion of a structure). o The following exemptions/delays to implement the systems that can identify the specific location of each communications device apply for certain types/sizes of properties. Buildings with less than 7,000 square feet are exempt from the requirement.  Buildings that maintain an alternate method of notification to signal/respond to emergencies on a 24-hour basis (includes a building serviced by its own medical, fire, and security personnel) are exempt from the requirement.  Single or separate buildings with its own or a common street address, between 7,000-20,000 square feet with 20 or fewer communications devices all located on a single floor shall implement the specific location identification upon the installation of a new MLTS after Jan. 1, 2020.  Separate buildings with a common street address, between 7,000-20,000 square feet with 20 or fewer communications devices all located on a single floor must identify the address, building floor, and unique building shall implement the specific location identification upon the installation of a new MLTS after Jan. 1, 2020.  Churches/houses of worship and farms upon the installation of a new MLTS after Jan. 1, 2020.

No sales of dextromethorphan products to those under age 18 as of July 1, 2020 o Public Act 123 of 2019 limits the sale or purchase of cold products that contain dextromethorphan to minors

(under 18) beginning July 1, 2020. Dextromethorphan is typically found in cough syrups. The bill contains penalties for intentionally selling to minors ranging from a warning letter for a first offense to a civil fine of $100 for a third or subsequent offense. Under the bill, minors who attempt to purchase these products could receive a $50 civil fine.

Third party sales on online marketplaces now subject to sales tax o Public Acts 143-144 of 2019 require online marketplaces that facilitate sales between third parties and customers (like Amazon, eBay, and Etsy) collect and remit Michigan’s six percent sales tax on those sales beginning Jan. 1, 2020. The state’s treasury department noted it would be lenient and waive failure to file or deficiency penalties for tax due on sales facilitated by a marketplace facilitator for returns due on or before April 20, 2020.

Cage-free egg requirement as of Dec. 31, 2024 o Public Act 132 of 2019 adjusted the requirement all eggs sold in Michigan be considered cage-free. The requirement was originally supposed to go into effect April 1, 2020 and was moved from October 2025 to Dec. 31, 2024.

Last May, Amy Drumm, center, MRA’s Vice President, Government Affairs, urged the House Tax Policy Committee to require marketplace facilitators like Amazon to collect taxes on behalf of third-party sellers. She was joined by MRA board members Dan Marshall of Marshall Music and Barb Stein of Great Northern Trading Co. in Rockford.



In their own words From left, Jerry and Lyndy Bolthouse with son, Levi and brother John, and his wife Cheryl, Bolthouse.

Hastings Ace Hardware

Opened: 1962 MRA member since: 2016 Locations: 200 S. Boltwood St., Hastings Byron Center Ace Hardware, 2526 84th St. SW, Byron Center Midtown Ace Hardware, 1685 S. Westnedge Ave., Kalamazoo Specialties: Hardware, paint, automotive, tools, electrical, plumbing, power equipment, outdoor living, bicycle parts and repairs Owners: Bolthouse Merchandising Corp. MRA Services: Group Insurance, Workers’ Comp. Insurance


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

When you think of a family- and community-focused business, Hastings Ace Hardware would vie for top honors. Parents of current owner, Jerry Bolthouse, can prove it. Gerald and Anna Bolthouse had 13 children, 37 grandchildren and 62 great-grandchildren. The business meetings were held at the dinner table. As the family grew, so did the family business. Gerald and Anna moved to Hastings and purchased Goodyear Brothers Hardware in 1962. The hardware store originally opened in 1840. Then son Jerry became corporate president in 1990. Multiple events are sponsored by Hastings Ace Hardware. The largest event is the Barry-Roubaix Killer Gravel Road Race every April, which takes thousands of riders over “rocks, sand, mud, and possibly snow and ice.” The race attracts thousands of dirt-track bicyclists to downtown Hastings. The event is named after the notorious rough-and-tumble Paris-Roubaix race in northern France. The race, located in Barry County, is already sold out for 2020. Jerry and wife Lyndy talk about running a family business and contributing to their community. Lyndy – Race registration starts at Founders Brewery, the major sponsor, in Grand Rapids on the Thursday prior to the race and then Friday night and Saturday morning we have registration in our build-



ing. They have 3,200 people participate and the event is sold out almost immediately each year. We sponsor the event and we enjoy having it in town because we see the riders all year long practicing. When a rider registers, they can reserve a parking spot. The donation is forwarded to the Thornapple Trails Association, a local bicycle group. This year, $4,400 has been raised for the Association to use in maintaining and expanding local trails. We’ve always had a big bicycle presence in Hastings. The town itself has bike trails through the city and there’s a mountain bike trail in Hastings township. We also have a full-service repair shop in the store. We sell bikes and we service bikes. What else do you do for the community? Our son Levi is on the Planning Commission for the county. He also served on a committee responsible for developing bicycle lanes and signage throughout the city. I’m on the DDA committee for the city, also the downtown business team, a group of merchants that meet, which is an arm of the Barry County Chamber of Commerce. I also sit on the board for the chamber. That’s the kind of community Hastings is: We may be busy, but we’re a tight community. As a retailer, why do you feel it’s so important to give back? Retail brick and mortar stores are a reflection of true community. Our customers are our friends and neighbors. The customer is the number one priority of our business. This is a team effort and we need to show the same respect and loyalty as the customers show to us. There were many choices of properties in the Hastings area when we moved into our current location. The downtown was chosen because we are committed to the downtown community. You own three stores. Why do you choose to live in Hastings? We love the quality of life that the city offers. Hastings has been listed in the top 100 Best Small Towns in America. We were raised in Hastings and have grown with the community. We have a really vibrant downtown in Hastings. The shops are unique and quaint. I don’t think there is an empty storefront right now. The community is such a picture of cooperation. There are multiple stories of the city helping the businesses and vice versa. Our community is growing so fast, I don’t always recognize everyone now. It’s a really good problem to have. What’s the history of the store? Jerry – We moved to Hastings when I was still very young. My parents had a hardware store in Grand Rapids, Sunshine Hardware, near what used to be Sunshine Hospital. We’re now in a great location between Grand Rapids, Lansing, Battle Creek and Kalamazoo. The company was a member of Cotter & Co., True Value Hardware stores from the 1950s until 2000. We soon outgrew the original building and expanded into different buildings in the city. At one time, we were operating from 12 different buildings. In 2013, the current building was purchased from the former Felpausch grocery store and corporate offices. Hastings Ace Hardware became one store under one roof, on one floor. Our family is essentially in the third generation of the second family to own this business that started 180 years ago.



Is your parking lot safe for customers and your staff? If your parking lot is putting customers at risk, then you’re also putting your staff at risk. Parking areas can pose several dangers – a place for slip and falls, or for thieves to pray on shoppers or break into vehicles. In fact, FBI data shows that 4.1% of all crimes occur in parking lots or garages, including many hate crimes and domestic-related assaults on employees. Good lighting and video cameras are an obvious way to mitigate risk or catch suspects. But what else can you do? Loss Prevention Magazine suggests dedicating some employees to patrol lots in cars or golf carts that are clearly marked with a strobe light or signage. A patrol person also can help transport customers with bulky items or elderly or disabled customers - common targets for thieves - to their cars. A security professional positioned at the main entrance can also keep an eye on those entering and leaving the store, and

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take reports from anyone who sees something suspicious in the lot. During busy times, they can also help direct traffic to available parking spaces in crowded lots or garages. If you haven’t developed a relationship with your local police department or community policing officer, do so now. They can warn you of any rise in crime. In addition, regularly review area crime statistics to help you beef up security if needed. Most municipalities have crimemapping data available through their websites. For your employees’ sake, Loss Prevention suggests, “Coordinate employee parking with work schedules. For example, assigning all third-shift workers to one parking area makes workers safer because it ensures other workers will be coming and going in the same area of the parking facility at the same time.” Make sure your security personnel feel free to escort employees who are nervous walking alone to the garage or parking lot, or tell employees to use a buddy system as they leave work if they feel unsafe.

Protection like no other Workers’ compensation insurance with automatic cyber security coverage Our policies also have a $2 million employers liability limit, much higher than the standard $500,000. Find an agent at RetailersInsurance.com or call






Get prepared for the inevitable data breach Michigan Retailers Association had to utilize their disaster plan in December when a sewer pipe burst on the third floor of the headquarters building. Thankfully, it was, in the grand scheme of things, a minor disaster (we have plans for small, medium and large events) and was easy, though messy and a little smelly, to resolve.

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

“Forty-three percent of all cyber attacks are targeted at small business.”

That made me think of small business owners. As a young man, I was a Boy Scout and the Scout motto was “Be Prepared.” Are you prepared? Much like people don’t want to talk about funerals and other end-of-life issues, the whole concept of disaster planning is not what gets most business owners going on a Monday morning. While everyone hopes their business is never subjected to a cyber attack, the fact is that bad things happen. The latest Verizon report stated that 43% of all cyber attacks are targeted at small businesses. Hopefully, it will never happen to your business but now is the time to make sure your business is handling cyber security correctly. Everyone should think about digital disasters and “what if” scenarios. As a business owner, if the unthinkable happens and you have a data breach of some sort, you will need to have a plan for what to do. In today’s litigious society, burying your head in the sand and hoping it goes away will only serve to make the subsequent lawsuits and government attention even more painful. If you use Michigan Retailers Association for your merchant processing, we provide access to coverages with a limit of $100,000 per merchant number and a total limit of $500,000 per company. This coverage includes the needed tools to respond to this type of event. Review the coverages we provide at http://bit.ly/2QR0KZS. This will help you make sure you understand the areas that you need to be focusing on. One nice aspect of this coverage is that we know you are not an expert in dealing with this type of situation and, if there is ever a cyber attack on your business that results in a breach, you will need professional assistance. By starting the process with a call to us or the claim department, you will be connected with

one of the attorneys assigned to this program that will discuss the next steps in the process. Once you are connected with this attorney, they will start the process of gathering information: • Date of breach? • Description of breach? • Number of individuals affected? Based on the above, the attorneys will determine the next steps: • Forensic audit required • Government mandated notification requirements • Crisis management team needed to handle media issues • Government fines or card association penalties If a forensic audit is needed, they will coordinate those details with the appropriate vendor as well as notification requirements. Crisis management personnel are also available to help manage the media issues surrounding a data breach. Your merchant processing relationship with Michigan Retailers Association also includes coverage for any fines or fees from the card brands or government agencies as part of the policy limit mentioned above. Data breaches aren’t just credit card related. If you are a member of Michigan Retailers Association and also purchase your workers’ compensation insurance from Retailers Insurance Company, you have a very similar $100,000 coverage that is available, if needed. The RIC policy provides automatic coverage if your business account is hacked, with a sublimit coverage for ransomware attacks. Ransomware is when a person accesses your computer and locks you out. They then demand payment to allow you to have access to your data. There are more and more reports in the media about businesses and governmental units being attacked this way. As always, please feel free to contact one of our customer service team members if you have any questions about this issue or would like a copy of the coverages.



Got a business question? Try this: Ask Us First!

Lottery raises $1.07B for Michigan schools

At Michigan Retailers Association, we’re always looking for ways to help our members. We get plenty of inquiries on how to run a business or navigate the state bureaucracy. That’s why we’re launching a campaign to remind members to Ask Us First. Instead of getting stuck on hold with a state department or finding yourself searching the internet, call or email MRA with your questions and we’ll get you an answer or at least send you in the right direction.

The Michigan Lottery raised more than $1.07 billion for Michigan schools in fiscal year 2019, an increase of nearly $129 million over the prior year’s contribution. This marks the largest oneyear increase in the Lottery’s 47-year history and the first time the Lottery has reached the $1 billion milestone in support for public education in a single year.

We have legal, governmental, retail, insurance and technical expertise on our staff. Why not take advantage of it? Questions will be answered by the MRA team, including General Counsel Tom Clement, Vice President of Government Affairs Amy Drumm and our President and CEO Bill Hallan. We’ll even turn some of our more popular and frequent questions into short videos you can refer back to. Send us your questions two ways: - Call 800.366.3699, or - Email askusfirst@retailers.com.



FY 2019 also was the Lottery’s fifth straight record-setting year for school contributions, an increase of about $327 million, or 44%, since fiscal year 2014, before the streak began. Since it began in 1972, the Lottery has generated more than $23.4 billion for public education in Michigan. This vital funding for Michigan’s schools would not be possible without the support of players and retailers. Every Lottery purchase helps raise revenue for schools in the state. The Lottery set several other significant records in fiscal year 2019, including nearly $3.9 billion in sales; more than $2.3 billion in prizes to players; and more than $287 million in commissions to Lottery retailers, many of which are small businesses. Under state law, all Lottery profits go to the School Aid Fund.

New Members Allegan County Resource Dev Committee Inc., Allegan North Central Security Ltd., Alpena Fiddler’s Green LLC, Bad Axe South MI Food Bank dba Food Bank of SC MI, Battle Creek Peninsula Auto Repair II LLC, Calumet Henein Arthritis & Osteoporosis Center, Clinton Township Hollywood Towing Inc., Detroit Famous Royal Grill LLC, Detroit Flat Black & Circular LLC, East Lansing Niche Manufacturing and Supply LLC, East Tawas Genesee Christian Day Care Service Inc., Flint The Porches of Gaylord Inc., Gaylord Goodrich Haus dba Smokin J’s Bar B Que Pit, Goodrich Crossbid LLC, Grand Rapids Rodriguez Holdings LLC, Grand Rapids All Auto Services, Grand Rapids Partners In Dental Care, Grand Rapids Donald Wasker dba Flamingo Lounge, Grand Rapids Paul’s Auto & Tire Repair LLC, Hart Tikal of Holland LLC, Holland Pollards Auto Supply Inc., Indian River Forman Glass, Kalamazoo Particular Council of Lansing St. Vincent dePaul, Lansing

Fraternal Order of Eagles Aerie #1354, Ludington Nick Spano Trucking LLC, Madison Heights BJ’s Wholesale Clubs Inc., Massachusetts Siler Precision Machine Inc., Merrill Ljaxman LLC dba Pat’s Roadhouse, Muskegon Access Health Inc., Muskegon Shepherd Shoreline Gutters & Garage Door, Muskegon Star Horizon Inc., Muskegon Heights Swap Specialties and Performance Inc., Ovid Ridderman & Sons Oil Co Inc., Plainwell Gull Lake Marine Center, Richland Demarest Ent LLC dba Rockford Stamped Concrete, Rockford Redmond Automotive, Saginaw Ryan’s Jewelry Inc. dba Monocle Jewelers, Sault Ste. Marie Reddi-Ride Transportation Inc., Southfield S & K Automotive LLC, Stanton River Quest LLC, Stanwood Munson Hospitality, Traverse City All Automotive TC LLC, Traverse City First Congregational Church, Union City S & L Nova, Utica Harmony Transportation Services Inc., Warren Beline Trans LLC, Wyoming

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

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.

Get a quote today

Email sales@retailers.com or call 800.366.3699

For more information, contact the Michigan Retailers Association at 517-372-5656 GROUP HEALTH PLANS | SPECIALTY BENEFITS | BCBSM.COM/EMPLOYERS




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


Profile for Michigan Retailers Association

FEB/MAR 20 Michigan Retailer  

The February-March 2020 issue of Michigan Retailer, the official publication of Michigan Retailers Association.

FEB/MAR 20 Michigan Retailer  

The February-March 2020 issue of Michigan Retailer, the official publication of Michigan Retailers Association.