Page 1

JUN/JUL 2019 The official publication of the Michigan Retailers Association


The Grand Hotel

The evolution of a business served by horse-drawn carriages News out of Lansing • MRA lobbies for sales tax fairness • Crackdown on payroll fraud • Our legislative reception Payment processors: Get your share of a $5 billion settlement with VISA/Mastercard A couple walks along the Grand Hotel’s front porch, where 100 rocking chairs welcome tourists to Mackinac Island.

Volume 44 No. 3


Chair Becky Beauchine Kulka Diamonds and Fine Jewelry, Okemos


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




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


Design Manager


Past Chair Orin Jewelers, Garden City


Golden Shoes, Traverse City


Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island

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


Marshall Music Company, Lansing


Credit Card Group


Neiman’s Family Market, East China Township


Great Northern Trading Co., Rockford


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.

Big Springs Enterprises, Naubinway


TDU Consulting, LLC, Ann Arbor


Meijer, Inc., Grand Rapids


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.






3 BUY NEARBY What’s new in 2019.


4 SAYING GOODBYE Three MRA employees to retire. THE GRAND HOTEL: How this Mackinac Island gem keeps its somewhere-in-time vibe on the cutting edge. page 6

15 PAYROLL FRAUD CRACKDOWN Michigan AG creates task force to ensure companies are reflecting accurate worker numbers and payroll. 16 GIVING BACK A consignment store finds a unique way to add vibrancy to its downtown. 19 CAPITOL OUTREACH Photos from MRA’s legislative reception.

3 FIVE TIPS Preventing ID theft. 5 GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS MRA testifies at the Capitol to keep the playing field level for Michigan stores. 11 RETAIL TECH Get your share of a legal settlement with VISA and Mastercard. 12

IN HER OWN WORDS Co-owner Kendra Patterson at Michigan Barn Wood & Salvage in Mason.

14 CATCH-ALL DRAWER Tidbits from around the retail world. 20 LOTTERY UPDATE From the Lottery Commissioner.

Retailers.com RetailersInsurance.com BuyNearbyMI.com


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



FROM THE CEO Late-Spring Musings ISSUES ABOUND As the opening lyric in the old Lovin’ Spoonful tune goes, “Hot town, summer in the city” my prediction is that this is going to be a long legislative summer. Like potholes, tough issues are popping up almost daily. Between the proposed gasoline rate hike to fund roads, the recent sixth court of appeals opinion mandating legislative redistricting, on-going budget issues, the Line 5 controversy, no-fault reform and impeachment threats, it is clear that the legislative agenda is becoming increasingly complex and contentious. LEGISLATIVE RECEPTION In this edition, there are many pictures of our annual legislative reception, which by any measure was widely successful as we set an attendance record. The purpose of the event is to showcase our industry to elected officials and others that are involved in retail. Our Buy Nearby Guy served as the “greeter,” reminding everyone of the importance of keeping dollars in the Mitten. The event featured many Michigan products. A heartfelt thanks to all our sponsors that helped make our reception so successful. OPEN ENROLLMENT DEADLINE EXTENDED The open enrollment period for MRA’s Retailers Insurance Company dental plan, administered by Delta Dental of Michigan, and vision plan, administered by VSP Vision, is now June 30. So you still have time to join our plans, with an effective date of July 1. Both are part of MRA’s Private Insurance Exchange. Members with two to 50 employees can learn more at retailers.com/private-exchange or call 800.366.3699, ext. 681. If you have more than 50 employees, call us directly. WORKERS’ COMPENSATION Members of Michigan Grocers, a division of Michigan Retailers, have two strong Michigan-based options to purchase workers’ compensation insurance. The Michigan Grocers Fund is an excellent dividend-paying group self-insurance fund that was organized in 2014. It has a strong track record. Likewise, members of Michigan Grocers have the opportunity to participate with Retailers Insurance Company, which is rated by Demotech as A Prime, Unsurpassed. They can be checked out at migrocersfund.org or retailersinsurance.com.



MEMBERSHIP RENEWAL Thank you for renewing your membership. As part of your membership, you are eligible for one free, updated labor law poster that includes recent changes to the minimum wage and paid leave laws. Extra copies are available for $15 each. For information on how to request your free poster visit bit.ly/MRAposters. EARLY MEMORY As my retirement date looms, I promised to share some of my embarrassing memories from my early days in Lansing. In some ways, Lansing is a big town, and in other ways it’s a very small town, especially for those in the legislative circle. At this year’s Easter brunch with the family, I happened to run into former Gov. Jim Blanchard and his wife, Janet. He looks as young and vibrant as he did when he served as Governor and later as Ambassador to Canada. Our visit reminded me of an early encounter with him. One afternoon, I was playing a “business” round of golf at the now defunct Walnut Hills Country Club and a breathless young golfing attendant came barreling up in his golf cart while I was on a tee box and said the Governor wants to talk to you. Now this was in the 1980s, long before cell phones, and the young man popped me in the cart to take me to the hot dog stand where they had a landline so I could take the call. Needless to say, I was embarrassed to be on the golf course while the governor was calling. The governor, an avid golfer, chuckled and I was able to answer his question. We have remained good friends over the years and he was always a terrific supporter of Michigan Retailers.

JAMES P. HALLAN MRA President and Chief Executive Officer

Buy Nearby unveils two new features Buy Nearby Guy is out visiting parades, festivals, 5Ks and business expos, as the busy season to promote MRA’s shop-local campaign kicks into high gear. And we’re working hard to make the campaign as relevant as possible to your downtowns.

ID Theft

Tips for businesses to protect against identity theft. Something as simple as leaving an important document lying on your counter could lead to an identity breach.

1 2 3 4 5

Protect your employees’ personal information.

Do not use Social Security or driver’s license numbers to identify employees on internal documents, correspondence, etc. Use an alternate employee ID number.

This year, we’ve revamped the coloring book and we’re offering each downtown with a Buy Nearby event a $100 gift card to give to a lucky shopper. In addition, Meegan Holland, VP of communications and marketing, is giving presentations to downtowns on how to jumpstart small business in their community or how to create their own Buy Nearby shopping event. continued on page 18

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

Limit access to personal information to those employees who need it to perform their job duties. 
 Don’t mail, e-mail or fax correspondence to an outside source that includes personal identifying information. Don’t leave any personal information in plain view in the work place. 

Get a quote today

Email sales@retailers.com or call 800.366.3699

Don’t share your web account credentials where personal information is utilized. 

Source: The State of Michigan’s Talent Investment Agency




Congratulations to MRA retirees Michigan Retailers will say goodbye to four retiring employees this summer, and three are happening on June 28! President and CEO James P. Hallan’s retirement was previously announced and will occur on Aug. 26.

Judy Schafer

Operations Manager, RIC • MRA history: Judy has the distinction of being the second longest-serving employee at MRA, clocking in at 36 years. For the past few decades, she has managed the billings for RIC policies and helped agents and policyholders with any questions or issues. • The biggest change: Going to the QB software tool in 2018 to update and manage policies. “This QB system is by far my favorite. It’s really brought us up to speed – and has been a real stressreducer because it’s so efficient.” • Family: Judy, who grew up on a farm in Westphalia and still lives there, has been married to her husband, Kurt, for 33 years. They have three grown children and two grandkids – Scarlett and another on the way. Her daughter, Rachel, works at MRA in the marketing/communications department, and as Judy says, “I’m excited for Rachel to be here. It’s such a great place to work. We’re like family here.” • The next adventure: She and Kurt will spend more time with grandkids, boating, playing golf and traveling. • What’s next for policyholders: After June 28, Justine Rodabaugh will replace Judy, so welcome her if you call or email her! 4


Some of you may have talked to our three retirees over the years: Judy Schafer and Linda Pierce, with Retailers Insurance Co. (RIC), and Debbie Johnson, with MRA’s health insurance program.

Linda Pierce

Underwriting Assistant, RIC • MRA history: Linda has been with Michigan Retailers for only three years but she’s no stranger to the membership association business. For 29 years, she was with the Michigan Retail Hardware Association, managing the billings for that association’s workers’ compensation insurance. MRHA became a division of MRA in 2016, and Linda followed. “Hardware owners are very easy-going, very down to earth,” Linda says. “They have a real relationship with their customers. A lot of our members are in small towns; they chit-chat with their customers and really get to know them.” • The biggest change: Going from the small MRHA staff to the larger MRA staff, where she now assists policyholders with questions about RIC product. • Family: Linda lives in Wacousta with her husband, Jeff. They have two grown children, with the youngest just graduating from Grand Valley State University. • The next adventure: They’ll spend time at their cottage east of Gaylord, and head to Kentucky during hunting season.

Debbie Johnson

Customer Data Representative, MRA health insurance program • MRA history: In her hometown of Escanaba, Debbie always worked the Michigan State Fair. When a state auditor came to check on the fair, she assisted – and ended up marrying him. The marriage brought her to Lansing, where she ended up starting her job at MRA 20 years ago. She works on the health insurance side, doing data entry and processing health insurance applications. • The biggest change: HIPPA and the privacy requirements to protect information. “We’re so careful now not to leave papers on our desks, or talk about a patient with anyone who isn’t listed as a contact person. I remember the days when social security numbers were on our health cards. It’s a big change,” Debbie says. • Family: She and her husband, Mark, live in St. Johns. They have three children and five grandchildren. • The next adventure: Enjoying pizza night with her grandkids, taking full advantage of their travel club offerings (with planned trips to Gatlinburg, Las Vegas and Orange Beach, Ala.)


Marketplaces: one of the last frontiers for sales tax collection Last year around this time we were waiting anxiously to hear how the U.S. Supreme Court would rule in the Wayfair v. South Dakota case on collecting out-ofstate sales taxes. What a different world it is today.

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

Michigan has been collecting sales taxes from outof-state sellers who either have more than $100,000 worth of sales each year into Michigan or have 200 or more separate transactions with Michigan customers. That’s when state guidance from the Michigan Department of Treasury became effective following the same standards South Dakota used and the U.S. Supreme Court upheld were constitutional. State estimates project the state will net $168 million of previously uncollected sales taxes in Fiscal Year (FY) 18-19, $225 million in FY 19-20, and $240 million in FY 20-21. So what’s left? Marketplaces.

“All retailers should be asked to follow the same rules on every sale regardless of how the sale happens.”

e-commerce sales accounted for over 14 percent of total U.S. retail sales. It’s clear cut that if all marketplace sales were made directly by the marketplace facilitator, there’s no question they would meet the requirement to collect Michigan sales tax. Our legislation asks the marketplace facilitator to collect and remit the tax on the small, third-party sellers’ behalf. This ensures there is no undue burden placed on the small, out-of-state retailers who sell on marketplace platforms. The reason for proposing this sales tax collection model is that today, each of these sellers would be considered a separate taxpayer and would have to separately collect and file sales tax returns. The legislation makes it clear that the marketplace is the taxpayer and allows that entity to collect, remit and continued on page 18

The House Tax Policy Committee held a hearing in May on legislation at the request of MRA to put the Michigan Department of Treasury’s guidance on the Wayfair decision into law and to close the marketplace loophole. Marketplace facilitators are internet or other platforms that list products for sale from various sellers and facilitate the sale process between seller and consumer. They’re considered to facilitate the sale when they either collect and transfer the payment between parties or communicate the offer and acceptance of that offer. Examples of marketplace facilitators include Amazon, eBay, Etsy and Google. In a recent Wall Street Journal article, 58 percent of total sales on Amazon.com are attributed to these marketplace sales from third-party sellers. E-commerce sales continue to grow each year. In 2018, Top, from l-r, MRA member Doug Wildey, Government Affairs VP Amy Drumm and Board Directors Barb Stein and Dan Marshall testified before the House Tax Polict Committee. Bottom, from l-r, bill sponsors Rep. Joe Tate (D-Detroit), Rep. Lynn Afendoulis (R-Grand Rapids), and Rep. Michael Webber (R-Rochester Hills) also testified before the committee. Not pictured, Rep. Tenisha Yancey (D-Detroit). WWW.RETAILERS.COM JUN / JUL 2019


How the Grand Hotel remai in a somewhere-in-time



ins current setting

By SHANDRA MARTINEZ For most of its life, the 133-year-old Grand Hotel has been a favorite summertime destination for Michiganders. But in the last decade, this luxurious retreat sitting high atop Mackinac Island’s bluff has become a draw for vacationers from California, Texas, Florida, New York and New Jersey. The iconic hotel’s rebound from economic downturn a decade ago can be credited, in part, to the multi-million dollar “Pure Michigan” campaign. The postcard-perfect Grand Hotel was often featured prominently in these commercials. They were meant to create a sense of longing for idyllic northern Michigan summers, and were narrated by smooth-voiced actor Tim Allen, a Michigan native. The result has been higher-end guests and more of them, says Dan Musser III, the third-generation owner of the world’s largest summer resort.

Hotel owner Dan Musser III talks about the past and future of Mackinac Island’s crown jewel “The Pure Michigan ads have given us credibility in the marketplace we couldn’t have bought,” Musser said. The hospitality industry in general has benefited. Out-of-state visitors made more than 2.1 million trips to Michigan in 2018, spending $2.5 billion, according to SMARInsights report. Another organization Musser credits for the success of the family business is the Michigan Retailers Association. His business makes use of the organization’s credit card services. “They’ve helped us with financial stuff and just as important, the directional stuff. They are a great organization,” said Musser, who served on the MRA board of directors. Ken Hayward, the hotel’s longtime executive vice president and managing director, is a current MRA board member. DEALING WITH LABOR SHORTAGE Like most Northern Michigan hospitality operations, Grand Hotel depends on foreign workers to staff its seasonal operations. The Trump Administration’s crackdown on H-2B visas has made the issue more difficult. As a result, Musser says he is spending more time in Washington D.C., getting in front of Michigan legislators to talk about the issue. The response he is getting is mixed. “The president uses the program at Mar-a-Lago and his other resorts, and yet a lot of his staff, (White House advisor) Stephen Miller in particular, are not big champions of continued on page 8 WWW.RETAILERS.COM JUN / JUL 2019


Grand Hotel continued from page 7

Right, Grand Hotel owner Dan Musser III has added more retail and restaurants to the operation’s mix, and he works hard to make sure he has enough workers to staff the extensive hotel enterprises. That means making politicians in Washington D.C. aware that immigration policies can hurt his ability to run the hotel. Below, is the Mackinac Market, one of the hotel’s retail outlets.

the program,” Musser said. Nearly 45 percent of the 2,262 seasonal, non-agricultural work visas issued in Michigan in 2016 were for positions on Mackinac Island, according to the most recent data available from the U.S. Labor Department’s Foreign Labor Certification Office.  For the current season, Grand Hotel basically won the lottery. But Musser would like to see a better system put in place that isn’t so uncertain. Without the seasonal foreign workers, Grand Hotel couldn’t operate. Nearly half of its 600-person workforce is made up of foreign nationals who are especially crucial to the resort’s 8


operation in May and October - windows when U.S. seasonal workers typically aren’t available. They come from 26 countries. Most hail from Jamaica, Mexico and Australia. Some might be surprised that Grand Hotel has more staff rooms than hotel rooms. There are 600 employee rooms and just under 400 guest rooms. Staff is housed in two big units referred to as the Cooks’ and Waiters’ quarters right behind the hotel. One of the first suggestions Musser made to his father after he graduated from Albion College in 1986 was it was time to invest in more and better housing for the workers. So they built a 245-room building a quarter mile away from the hotel. The private rooms have sinks but share bathrooms. Recently,

he purchased five homes that have been converted into employee housing. SERVING DIFFERENT CUSTOMERS The Grand Hotel’s longevity has been carefully crafted from a formula of balancing tradition with modern convenience. In an age of leggings and sneakers, the hotel has maintained an evening dress code for guests that requires formal attire for its exquisite five-course meals. “My father always said it doesn’t cost us a dime to make a gentleman put a coat and tie on at night and it changes the atmosphere in the hotel. I think not in a stuffy way, but a celebratory kind of way. I think those kinds of traditions - live music, a coat and tie at night, real flowers in the parlor - all that stuff is important,” Musser said. His great uncle, W. Stewart Woodfill, bought Grand Hotel in 1933, having started working there in 1919 as a desk clerk. His vision for the resort was that of a formal, proper and beautiful place.

Other traditions have changed. There are now off-site restaurants that offer more casual settings and children’s programming during the summer months. The Grand Old Lady, as the hotel is affectionately called, has been updated with WiFi, flat screen TVs, air conditioning and more uniquely designed rooms Low-season business has become even more important because opening early in May and staying open in October can make a difference to the bottom line. The hotel hasn’t had much success convincing shoulder season guests to return in July or August. But they’re very loyal and they sometimes come in both May and October. “They are great guests. It’s probably one of their big luxury items of the year and they’ve saved up for this. They’re going to come and we hopefully take really good care of them. We’re a specialoccasion place and hopefully we can make it a special-occasion place for someone every year,” Musser said. continued on page 10

Above, scenes from the idyllic setting of the Grand Hotel. At left, the hotel requires hundreds of workers, many of them from other countries. Over the years it has expanded its housing to accommodate its workforce, which is a major problem in many other tourism destinations.

Photos and infographic courtesy of GRAND HOTEL WWW.RETAILERS.COM JUN / JUL 2019


Grand Hotel continued from page 9

Musser initially didn’t see himself following in his dad’s footsteps. But after working at the Chicago Board of Trade for a summer internship, he realized he would rather spend his summers on the island than anywhere else. His dad made sure he learned the business by working his way through every department. That meant stints as a kitchen assistant, bellman, bartender, bar manager, front desk clerk, front desk manager, reservations manager and vice president before being named president in 1989. Thirty years later at age 55, Musser splits his time between the island and Ann Arbor where he recently moved with his wife, artist Marlee Brown, and their six children. This summer, his view looking out across the Straits of Mackinac includes the landmark Mackinac Bridge and a steady stream of ferry boats and horse-drawn carriages bringing guests to the steps of Grand Hotel. There’s nowhere he would rather be.

“Traditions live music, a coat and tie at night, real flowers in the parlor - all that stuff is important.” Dan Musser III Owner, Grand Hotel




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

“This is the largest class action settlement in the history of the U.S. court system.”

Sign up to take advantage of $5 billion class action settlement As some of you already know, there is a class action lawsuit claiming that merchants paid more fees than they should have for accepting Visa and MasterCard as payment from consumers. This lawsuit against Visa and MasterCard made news a couple of years ago because of the size of the settlement. It is estimated to be more than $5 billion (yes, billion, with a “B”) and will be disbursed to any merchant that accepted Visa or MasterCard transactions between 2004 and 2018 (actually part way through January of this year, 2019).

No one can provide an actual number on the settlement value per merchant, because it depends on the number of claimants and their respective processing volume. Still, this is the largest class action settlement in the history of the U.S. court system.

A previous settlement for this litigation originally looked like it was going to be resolved about four years ago but the settlement was appealed and the parties went back to the drawing board. Those issues seem to have been worked out and we are now hearing from the legal teams that it will be coming to a resolution toward the end of this year.

If you haven’t signed up or are uncertain, please visit bit.ly/VisaMC2019 and complete the enrollment form today. If the enrollment is a duplication, we will handle the merging of both enrollments.

While anyone that is in the “class” can file their own claim, that process can be difficult, especially taking the time to identify all the transactions you’ve processed that are eligible for settlement (due the nearly 15 years of data that will need to be documented as part of your claim). We have partnered with a company, Managed Care Advisory Group, that specializes in the collection and reporting of data for class action lawsuit settlements. They have been collecting the various data elements from all of the nation’s largest credit card processors to make the claims process as simple as possible for you.

When it looked like a settlement was going to happen a couple of years ago, we enrolled over 1,000 merchants into the settlement services provided by MCAG. Those enrollments are still good; If you’re one of them, there is nothing you need to do.

If you have questions about this settlement or the process, please don’t hesitate to contact our customer service team at 800.366.3699. Disclaimer: On January 24, 2019, the Court granted preliminary approval of the settlement filed on September 18, 2018 for the Rule 23(b)(3) Class Plaintiffs in this action. No claim forms are available at this time, and no claim-filing deadline exists. If the settlement is granted final approval, no-cost assistance will be available from the Class Administrator and Class Counsel during any claims-filing period. No one is required to sign up with any third-party service in order to participate in any settlement. For additional information regarding the status of the litigation, interested persons may visit www.paymentcardsettlement.com, the Court-approved website for this case.


The deadline for open enrollment for vision and dental insurance has been extended to

June 30!

Sign up for our Retailers Insurance Company dental and VSP Vision plans! Effective date is July 1.


To learn more, visit http://bit.ly/MRAexchange or call 800.336.3699, ext. 681. WWW.RETAILERS.COM JUN / JUL 2019


In her own words Michigan Barn Wood & Salvage LLC Opened: 2015 MRA member since: 2019 Address: 352 W. Columbia Street, Mason Specialties: Lumber, home decor, custom built furniture Owners: Trevor and Kendra Patterson


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

Four years ago, Trevor and Kendra Patterson were selling lumber out of their 3,000-square-foot pole barn on the outskirts of Leslie and Mason. The business grew so quickly, they expanded to a 27,000-square-foot space in downtown Mason in the early summer of 2017. Michigan Barn Wood & Salvage LLC recently celebrated their two-year anniversary in Mason and the number of vendors and products continue to grow. Owner Kendra Patterson tells us what it’s like to operate a business with so many working pieces: When we first opened in 2017, we had around 10 vendors from around the area. Currently we have 67 people on our vendor list. Our vendors are all Michigan-based and some of our vendors even use barn wood from our store for their projects. We wanted to showcase what could be made with our lumber. These are people creating things out of their garage, basements or home office and I love to support them. We are also doing an expansion of the showroom for our vendors. We had some space upstairs that we used for DIY classes and although we love hosting those classes, we felt that our vendors Top: Owners Trevor and Kendra Patterson in the salvage lot. Left: The front entrance of Michigan Barn Wood & Salvage LLC. The store also includes a lumber yard and salvage lot.



were desperately needing more space, so the expansion will add an additional 800 square feet for them. We work with a barn demo crew that we first met as we were selling lumber out of our pole barn. They take down about 30 barns per year and once it’s processed and cleaned it makes its way here and we do the retail end of it for them. We don’t purchase barns, we have a year and a half to two-year waiting list for barns, so our crew goes on site and does the clean-up in exchange for the wood. We work with another independent company that does the live edge trees, where the edge of the tree isn’t trimmed down. It’s all salvaged trees and they get that wood from different places that need trees down for different reasons, like trees near power lines. They come in and get the trees down, mill them up, get them sliced and diced and we sell the live edge slabs. We host an event every month with a new theme, so our inventory changes each month. Each time you come in to the store, you’ll find something new because our vendors are constantly working on different items for the store to go along with those events. We notify our vendors at least a month in advance of what the next theme will be and we have a group Facebook chat page and bounce ideas off of each other. After we held our first event in January 2019, we saw that people will come out and really support a theme. Almost 2,000 people came to that first event, which was based on Michigan’s Birthday Bash, and we only had items that were Michigan-themed. Coming up, our next themes will be Michigan outdoors, Michigan weddings and a kitchen and bath theme later this summer. We keep our money local, and we keep our vendors in Michigan. We get requests from vendors from neighboring states and we have to tell them no, because we are only interested in carrying items from Michigan-based vendors. It’s very important to us and it will always be the way that we operate. Many current vendors come into the store and restock their items on the shelves. This is their space and the door is always open for them. It’s really a family. These people are my people and I don’t feel as if I’m their boss. They are my bosses because it’s my job to sell their products to get their businesses thriving and to showcase their individual products the best I can.

A look inside Michigan Barn Wood & Salvage’s 27,000 square feet. The store, located in Mason south of Lansing, is home to almost 70 different vendors.



catch-all drawer The

GREAT NEWS FOR HOME IMPROVEMENT RETAILERS According to Hardware Retailing magazine, 81 percent of power tools are purchased in-store, not online. The magazine surveyed customers, who said they purchased a new tool based on price and where they were already shopping at the time. “By staying on top of the latest features, technologies and innovations in power tools, retailers can maintain an advantage over the ever-encroaching online shopping arena,” the magazine advises. What else can you do to serve these customers? • Offer customers opportunities to touch the latest models and see power tools in action. • Proper product placement is essential. Power tool displays shouldn’t be buried in the back of the store. • Make sure your staff is well-trained and your displays are clean and well-stocked to make the sale. OPEN ENROLLMENT DEADLINE EXTENDED! The deadline for open enrollment for dental and vision insurance has been extended to June 30. Effective date for the plans are July 1. There are two ways to sign up for dental or VSP Vision plans offered by Retailers Insurance Company: • Visit our private exchange: http://bit.ly/MRAexchange • Call 800.336.3699, ext. 681 and we’ll walk you through the process. MICHIGAN RETAILERS GOLF OUTING JUNE 20 One of the most fun things about bringing on the Michigan Grocers Association is the adoption of their annual golf outing. The outing is Thursday, June 20, 2019 at the Brookshire Inn and Golf Club in Williamston, about 20 minutes east of Lansing. The entry fee is $125 per golfer and includes golf, cart, food, refreshments and prizes. Entry deadline is June 15. You can register here: http://bit.ly/golfmra2019. The event has an 8 a.m. registration, which includes continental breakfast, and a 9 a.m. shotgun start. There will be lunch at the turn and an awards dinner following golf.



Tidbits to make business easier

ARE YOU SIGNED ON TO OUR SOCIAL MEDIA? Are you following Michigan Retailers Association and Buy Nearby on social media? You’re missing valuable news and fun photos if you aren’t! Here’s how to find us on social media: Michigan Retailers Facebook - fb.com/MichiganRetailers Twitter - @MichRetail Buy Nearby Facebook – fb.com/BuyNearbyMI Twitter - @BuyNearbyMI Instagram - @mibuynearby Retailers Insurance Company Facebook – fb.com/RetailersInsurance AUTHENTICATING YOUR TERMINAL A reminder for our credit card processing customers: Your stand alone credit card terminal will check for processing updates every 60 days. Upon a successful update, the receipt paper will print “Parameters Data Update Successful.” Once the update finishes the terminal will require authentication before you can process a sale. Here are directions: Ingenico Authentication: Prompt: Confirm Merchant 1 Authenticate Press the Green/Enter key to proceed Prompt: Authentication Code Enter V032820140 Prompt: Zip Code Enter the business Zip Code The display on the terminal screen and receipt paper will be: Activated or Approved Verifone Authentication: Prompt: CommServer or Credit/Debit/EMV Press F3 for Credit/Debit/EMV Prompt: Confirm Merchant 1 Authenticate Press the Green/Enter key to proceed Prompt: Authentication Code Enter V032820140 Prompt: Zip Code Enter the business Zip Code The display on the terminal screen and receipt paper will be: Activated or Approved Questions? Contact our customer service team at 800.563.5981 option 2.

Be sure to classify workers properly Michigan AG plans crackdown on payroll fraud News From

Employers should be aware that the state is starting to crack down on worker misclassification and payroll fraud.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced on April 22 that she’s establishing a Payroll Fraud Enforcement Unit to investigate businesses that misclassify full-time workers as independent contractors, underpay workers, refuse to pay overtime and commit other violations of state wage and hour laws. Businesses committing payroll fraud contribute less to Medicare, unemployment and social security systems and circumvent workers compensation requirements. Retailers Insurance Company (RIC) conducts annual payroll audits of policyholders to ensure that all employees on their payroll are properly covered by workers’ compensation insurance. That means companies must provide additional information if they have independent contractors working for them. The additional information required would be either a certificate of insurance showing the contractor has their own workers’ compensation coverage, a state-filed exemption form BWC-337 or a completed RIC independent contractor worksheet.

“If an independent contractor does not have their own workers’ compensation or an exemption form filed with the state, they would need to complete our independent contractor worksheet showing that they do work for other businesses and not just one employer,” said Laura Schilling, Director of Underwriting. Nessel claims the most frequent offenders of payroll fraud are construction, landscaping, janitorial, child care, beauty/personal care, retail, food, car wash and home health care services. Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs said non-payment of wages may mean an employer is improperly deducting from workers’ wages, not paying employees regularly or with gift cards, failing to pay overtime and skimming tips. The Wage and Hour Division, which is part of LARA’s Bureau of Employment Relations, takes complaints on such practices and will pass them on to the AG’s new unit if necessary. Penalties can be tough: Unscrupulous employers may face paying back pay and fringe benefits like paid time off or bonuses, penalties, an audit, civil fines and attorney fees. According to LARA, the Wage and Hour Division “accepted approximately 3,400 constituent-filed complaints, resolved 80 percent of cases informally, and collected close to $2 million on behalf of Michigan workers.”

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





Retail shop gives back to community in a big way What other downtowns can learn from the Copper Nail model

Story and photos: SHANDRA MARTINEZ You might call Copper Nail a successful failure. It was supposed to be a senior center with a little shop. Instead, it became a successful retail shop that brings seniors together. The popular two-story resale store – about 30 minutes west of Ann Arbor – has become a destination for locals and visitors alike. Evidence is a map near the entrance covered with push pins showing shoppers’ hometowns across the U.S., and around the world from places as far away as Germany, Taiwan and Australia. “They have great stuff,” says Mary Jane Marshall, manager of the Roaming Goat Cafe around the corner. “People always come in and talk about what treasures they find. Anything you need, you can find in the Copper Nail.” Those treasures have included designer clothes, artwork, antique glassware, books, greeting cards and furniture. Locals like Marshall stop by regularly to explore new arrivals. The pastry cabinet in the Roaming Goat is a Copper Nail find. COMMUNITY TREASURE Unlike a traditional thrift shop, Copper Nail has a community Top: Name badges for all the volunteers who work at Copper Nail. Left: Volunteers put pins on a map of the United States to document the hometowns of all their customers. They’ve had visitors from across the country.



Copper Nail volunteer Debbie Barker behind the counter stands next to founding members Jan Otto, left, and Maggie Morehouse.

center vibe. There’s a jar of cookies on a table surrounded with chairs that’s an invitation for people to sit down and chat with each other. This welcoming spot has been there since the store at 111 E. Main Street in downtown Grass Lake opened in 2007, says Marilyn O’Leary, a retired elementary school teacher and founding Copper Nail volunteer. What makes Copper Nail a community treasure is the investment it makes in the community of around 1,200. This year, the store celebrated giving a total of $500,000 to 50 local nonprofits since opening. The store’s mission is to be a source of funding for Grass Lake community organizations so they can devote their resources to serving the community in their own unique ways. The store has also generated enough revenues to make repairs to its home, a nearly 160-year-old red brick building with a smart blue awning. The nonprofit will own the former hardware store in a few years.

and beyond. When the store started, volunteers scoured their homes for stuff to sell with one person contributing $100 so there was money in the till to make change. While Copper Nail didn’t become the envisioned senior activity center, it still serves as a gathering spot for many seniors. A place where they connect with each other while doing something good for their community. The older demographic of 60 to 80 yearolds accounts for many of the store’s 35 volunteers who staff the store – open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. “The volunteers have become so supportive of each other. We are like a family. We are such strong friends,” O’Leary said.

Want a Copper Nail in YOUR community?

“It’s fantastic. I couldn’t gush more about what the Copper Nail does. It’s busy. It’s bringing people to the downtown,” says Todd Raehtz, who owns the Grass Lake Community Pharmacy across the street and is the former Chamber of Commerce president. “The business model – free labor and free products – is so good and they do good things with their money.”

Here’s what you need:

‘LIKE FAMILY’ The store was inspired by a similar shop in nearby Manchester that has since closed. Initially, the idea was for a senior center with a little shop. In the beginning, there were a few shelves at the front of the store filled with things from the organizers’ homes.

Community support.

The rest of the space was going to be used for activity space for seniors. But that vision never materialized because the shop quickly grew into the space. These days, most of the 9,000-square-foot space is filled with donated items that come from the community

A patient landlord.

Initially, the group didn’t pay any rent and then a small amount tied to sales.

The charities that benefit from the store were initially asked to contribute volunteer, donations and cookies on special fundraising days.

Flexibility for staff.

Volunteers can pick their schedules, whether weekly, monthly or seasonal. WWW.RETAILERS.COM JUN / JUL 2019


Marketplaces continued from page 5

file returns on the small sellers’ behalf. If Michigan adopts this model of marketplace collection, we’ll follow the 27 states that have already done so. Since over half the country has beat us to it, marketplaces have adapted to these changes and are already collecting tax in other states. At the recent legislative hearing, we brought members of the “home team,” Michigan-based retailers to tell their stories. Barb Stein owner/operator of Great Northern Trading Co., a specialty gifts and home décor store located in Rockford shared her challenges with customers asking her to provide a discount equal to the sales tax. Dan Marshall, owner of Marshall Music Company, a Lansing-based retailer that rents and sells instruments at seven locations throughout Michigan, also testified. Marshall explained how showrooming has impacted his business model to the point where they no longer carry some of the more expensive product lines that customers routinely opted to buy sales-tax free online. Both are veterans of this issue and successfully lobbied for our 2014 Main Street Fairness legislation that expanded sales tax collection to affiliate sales and wholly-owned subsidiaries. Also at the recent hearing was MRA-member Doug Wildey, CEO of Game Room Guys. Wildey testified on the challenges of selling high-end arcade equipment where the sales tax becomes a real hurdle to overcome with customers when they can purchase it online tax-free. It’s clear we need a solution. Retailers are not asking for special treatment or consideration. We need the state to look at sales for what they are – sales, and retailers, as retailers. Since the state requires retailers to collect the six percent sales tax, all retailers should be asked to follow the same rules on every sale – regardless of how the sale happens. We hope you’ll join us in encouraging the legislature to act quickly on pending marketplace legislation, HB 4540-4543. To contact your legislator and share your support visit retailers.com/advocacy/ take-action.

Buy Nearby continued from page 3

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



JUN / JUL 2019

The $100 gift card will be given to any downtown that uses our materials and the hashtag #buynearbymi to publicize the event and encourage shoppers to use it to enter our contest. All that participants need to do to enter to win is put up a shopping selfie or take a photo of something they’ve bought during the event. Using the hashtag #buynearbymi automatically enters them in the contest – and of course, each downtown can add their own hashtag! If you want to learn more about creating your own event or boosting retail in your downtown, contact Meegan at mholland@retailers.com.

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

MRA celebrates Buy Nearby Weekend on Oct. 4-6 this year, but we’re telling downtowns that they should do the event whenever is convenient for them. We provide support by publicizing those events on our social media, loading up local businesses with great promotional materials like balloons and coloring books, and providing talking points to educate shoppers and the media.

12/11/17 3:38 PM

2019 Legislative reception Photos from our 2019 legislative reception

Left column, top to bottom: Top, MRA’s Bill Hallan, center, with Schupan Recycling’s Mike Soboleski, left, and Rep. Frank Liberati (D-Allen Park). Middle, MRA board directors Joe McCurry, left, and Dan Marshall, center, with Rep. Joe Tate (D-Detroit). Bottom, MRA President and CEO Jim Hallan chats with Don Symonds of Lipari Foods. Right column, top to bottom: Top, L-R, MRA Board of Directors Chair Becky Beauchine Kulka with state Rep. Rebekah Warren and MRA Government Affairs VP Amy Drumm. Middle, MRA Vice Chair Bo Brines and Sen. Jim Stamas (R-Midland). Bottom, the culinary teams from Busch’s Fresh Food Market and VG’s Grocery - members of Michigan Grocers, a division of MRA - prepared the beautiful spread of food.




Big Spin Instant Game launches July 9 Offering players unique game concepts has helped the Michigan Lottery’s instant game portfolio set records the past four years. Instant game sales in 2018 reached a record $1.5 billion, an impressive 12 percent increase from 2017. To support ongoing growth, the Lottery has been hard at work developing games that will attract players by offering big prizes and unique opportunities.

BRIAN O’NEILL Lottery Commissioner

This promotion is designed to attract players by offering them more chances to win.

All told, GOLDEN TICKET and GOLDEN TICKET II instant games sold a combined eight million tickets leading to more than $6 million in commissions for retailers. To capitalize on player interest in big instant wins and second chance game opportunities, the Lottery will launch The Big Spin® instant game on July 9. Each $10 Big Spin ticket will offer players a chance to win prizes ranging from $10 up to $1 million. In addition to more than $71 million in instant-win prizes, Big Spin will feature a second chance game that will offer players a chance to win $100,000 up to $2 million on each spin. Players may enter non-winning Big Spin ticket Spin Codes at www.MIBigSpin.com (launching July 9) to be entered in a drawing for the opportunity to appear on a televised show. Twenty players will be selected to appear on the Lottery’s Big Spin game show. Each player will have the opportunity to spin the Big Spin wheel where they have the chance to win up to $2 million. All players who appear on the show are guaranteed to win a minimum of $100,000.

NEW INSTANT TICKETS: These tickets went on sale June 4: IG 290 - Black Limited - $2 IG 295 - $300,000 Wild Time - $5 IG 306 - $2,000,000 Bonus - $20 INSTANT GAMES SET TO EXPIRE: June 3 IG 201 - Wild 1’s - $1 IG 776 - Max Money - $30 July 1 IG 207 - Bring On The Bens - $5 IG 772 - Deluxe 7’s Playbook - $20 IG 779 - Hot Fortune - $20 IG 785 - $500,000 Bonus - $5 NEW PULL TABS TICKETS: These tickets went on sale June 4: MI 547 - Star Spangled Bucks - $1 MI 557 - $2,000,000 Platinum Play - $5 PULL TABS GAMES SET TO EXPIRE: June 6 MI 506 - Neon Bars - $.50 June 11 MI 515 - Ms. Pac Man - $1 July 16 MI 514 - Triple Diamonds - $2 MI 516 - Bank Buster - $.50 MI 517 - Polar Dough! - $1

Michigan Liquor Control Commission Chairman Andrew J. Deloney spoke at the April MRA Board of Directors meeting about MLCC’s role and interaction with retailers and the latest alcoholic beverage sales trends. Photo: PATRICK D. KERWIN.


New Members Ultimate Contracting Corporation, Algonac Wings of Hope Hospice & Palliative Care Inc., Allegan Conklin Benham PC, Ann Arbor Spears Fire & Safety Services LLC, Ann Arbor Aerospace America Inc., Bay City 100 Acre Hospitality, Bellaire The Retina Institute of Michigan PLLC, Bingham Farms Behavior Consultants Inc., Brighton Brighton Montessori, Brighton DS Services Inc., Cass City Central Lake Auto Clinic, Central Lake Rivercrest Family Dining Inc., Clinton Township Game Room Guys, Comstock Park Le Chef Catering Inc. dba Byblos, Detroit Textures by Nefertiti Inc., Detroit Tony Arbour Distribution Co Inc., Escanaba The White Agency Inc., Fremont Trailer Juice LLC dba Porter Haus, Gaylord Joyfull, Glen Arbor Barefoot Dave’s Inc., Grand Haven Great Lakes EMS Academy, Grand Rapids Tienda & Aborroteria El Rancho LLC, Grand Rapids Humane Society of West Michigan, Grand Rapids MJ Vandamme Trucking Inc., Gwinn Wadel Stabilization Inc., Hart Silver Lake RV, Hart Atlas Asphalt LLC, Highland West Michigan Transport LLC, Holland Creative Fashions of Holly Corp, Holly

If your business needs a quick injection of cash, we can help. Lendio.com/mra

Northern Michigan Banquet and Event Center, Houghton Lake Huskins Floor Covering LLC, Kawkawlin JROC Inc. dba Sandbar Grille, La Salle Michigan Association of Health Plans, Lansing All American Sports LLC, Lansing ADCO-Logistics LLC, Lincoln Park Getty Tree Farms LLC, Manton Flowtrack Mountain Bike Trails LLC, Marquette Northern Star of Marquette LLC, Marquette Venture Motel LLC, Marquette Milan Cast Metal Corp, Milan American Dining LLC, Monroe Walton Heating & Cooling, Mount Pleasant Steelhead Industries LLC dba Pure Trailer, Mount Pleasant Hennessy Inc., Muskegon RJ Logistics Assets LLC, New Baltimore QB Vapor LLC, New Boston Corn Energy Products, Newaygo Power Supply Inc., Niles National Association of College Stores (NACS), Ohio Lucas Auto Repair, Petersburg GJF Transport Inc., Plymouth Preferred Charters LLC, Port Huron CDW Consulting LLC, Port Huron The Caregiver Incentive Project, Rapid River Atlas Pro Painters, Rochester F & D Bistro LLC, Rochester Fowle Eyecare Associates PLC, Rockford Food Geek Foods LLC, Royal Oak

Customers of Michigan Retailers Association’s merchant processing program have a huge advantage: Fast and easy access to business loans.

Lendio, a free online service with a network of 75 lenders, uses state-ofthe-art technology to match you with the right business loan.

A Clean Cigarette Corp, Saginaw Brewed Awakenings Cafe, Saline Saline Rec Center, Saline Mister Face LLC dba Twin Oaks Inn, Saugatuck National Office Products and Printing, Sault Sainte Marie D & J Septic Services Inc., South Lyon Brad’s Auto Repair LLC, Spalding Bow Tie Bar In., Sparta Spicy Sizzle LLC, Sterling Heights Briskey Brothers Construction Inc., Tecumseh Hampshire Farm Landscaping LC, Tecumseh Landmark Taphouse & Grille, Three Rivers Betty’s Hot Dish LLC, Traverse City Grand Traverse Tours LLC, Traverse City TC Towing and Recovery LLC, Traverse City Michigan PIA, Troy Signs & Engraving II Inc., Troy Louie’s Ham & Deli Inc., Warren Dorr Event & Septic Service LLC, Wayland Starr Lawn & Garden Inc., Wayland Michigan Aluminum Corporation, Wayland Tapper’s Fine Jewelry Inc., West Bloomfield Headshot Inc., West Branch Nelson Trucking & Excavating LLC, West Branch Kid Advancing Hope Coalition, Westland The Vertical Solutions Company, Williamston Jorge’s Cigars LLC, Wyoming True Die Inc., Zeeland

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.




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

Profile for Michigan Retailers Association

JUN/JUL 19 Michigan Retailer  

The June-July 2019 issue of Michigan Retailer, the official publication of Michigan Retailers Association.

JUN/JUL 19 Michigan Retailer  

The June-July 2019 issue of Michigan Retailer, the official publication of Michigan Retailers Association.