JUN/JUL 21 Michigan Retailer

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JUN/JUL 2021

Michigan’s Travel Season is Back Travel pros build loyalty during pandemic Michigan travel trends for summer 2021 Apple’s latest update may impact your advertising The ransomware threat on small business

Volume 46 No. 3

The official publication of the Michigan Retailers Association


Board of Directors BO BRINES

Chair Little Forks Outfitters, Midland

WILLIAM J. HALLAN

President and CEO Michigan Retailers Association

BILL GOLDEN

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

President and CEO

CHAD AYERS

Allendale True Value, Allendale

MEREDITH GREMEL

Vice Chair Golden Shoes, Traverse City

SpartanNash, Grand Rapids

PETER R. SOBELTON

Leppink’s Food Centers, Belding

Treasurer Mondial Properties, Birmingham

BECKY BEAUCHINE KULKA

Past Chair Becky Beauchine Kulka Diamonds and Fine Jewelry, Okemos

KIM EDSENGA

Meijer, Inc., Grand Rapids

DAN MARSHALL

Marshall Music Company, Lansing

ORIN MAZZONI, JR.

Orin Jewelers, Northville

JOSEPH MCCURRY

Credit Card Group

BRYAN NEIMAN

Neiman’s Family Market, St. Clair

BARB STEIN

Great Northern Trading Co., Rockford

THOMAS UNGRODT

TDU Consulting, LLC, Ann Arbor

D. LARRY SHERMAN

Board Member Emeritus

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

MICHIGAN RETAILER JUN / JUL 2021

JOHN LEPPINK

JOE SWANSON

Target, Retired

Michigan Retailer WILLIAM J. HALLAN

Publisher

JENNIFER ROOK

Editor

PATRICK KERWIN

Design and Printing Manager

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

About Us Michigan Retailer (USPS 345-780, ISSN 0889-0439) is published in February, April, June, August, October and December by Michigan Retailers Association, 603 South Washington Ave., Lansing, MI 48933. Periodical postage paid at Lansing, Michigan. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to 603 South Washington Ave., Lansing, MI 48933. The Michigan Retailer may be recycled with white office paper.


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TRAVEL TRENDS page 10 Learn what’s in store for Michigan travel this summer.

Contents FEATURES

DEPARTMENTS

8 TRAVEL PROS BUILD LOYALTY DURING PANDEMIC Learn how travel pros Chris Conlin and Carol Grussing rescued plans for customers.

4 FROM THE CEO Unique travel experience helped me to view retailers in a new way.

10 MICHIGAN TRAVEL TRENDS FOR SUMMER 2021 Visitors expected to return in force this summer. 11 THE RISE OF ZERO-PARTY DATA Read how the latest iOS iPhone update impacts digital ads. 12 WHAT’S YOUR DATA WORTH? Ransomware attacks are rising. Tips to protect your business.

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.

14 VISA AND MASTERCARD CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT SETTLEMENT DECISION: The claims period is expected to open in 2021. Industry expert John Mayleben explains what retailers need to know. 21 LANSING-BASED WESTLUND’S APPLE MARKET RECEIVES MRA’S CENTENNIAL RETAILER AWARD

5 NOTE FROM THE EDITOR’S DESK Let’s get ready to…travel! Welcome Summer 2021. 6 LEGALLY SPEAKING Dispute resolution without leaving the office. 7 NEWS FROM THE CAPITOL Victory alert - state cancels permanent COVID workplace safety rules. 16 IN THEIR OWN WORDS Bird’s Eye Outfitters’ Wilda and Ken Hopper inspire others to get active, eat healthy, and have a good time doing it in the Soo. 19 CATCH-ALL DRAWER News from around the state that affects your business. 22 NEW MEMBERS

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FROM THE CEO Travel helped me see retailers in a new way Many moons ago I had a job that allowed me to see almost the whole state of Michigan. It was the summer between my freshman and sophomore years of college and as much as I wanted to play golf all summer, my parents insisted that I make some meaningful contributions to society. It just so happened that at the same time, Michigan Retailers Association was about to embark on a massive conversion of its merchant processing portfolio. A backend processor change required Michigan Retailers to physically touch each merchant terminal and conduct a download so each merchant could continue processing seamlessly. Today, terminal updates are almost always conducted remotely, but in 2001, the process was a bit more manual. My summer intern job was straightforward; I was to assist the sales department by visiting as many merchants as possible to conduct the download on their terminal. While simple, there were a number of challenges that in hindsight, are now amusing. To begin, poor internet connections and cell service made for slow or failed downloads, often resulting in multiple attempts. A downloading terminal isn’t a useable terminal, so it was in both the merchant’s best interest and mine if the process was quick and efficient so they could continue processing transactions. Just getting to each location required some old school tactics. GPS was not conveniently available on our phones like it is today. Moreover, I couldn’t print out MapQuest directions because my schedule fluctuated so I didn’t always know where I would be coming from. This led me to using a good old paper map. Fortunately, many retailers are located on main streets that were fairly easy to find. If not, I’d simply call the retailer and ask them to guide me in.

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Looking back, it was one of my favorite summers. Not only did I get to visit almost every nook and cranny of our state, but I saw firsthand how retailers survive and thrive. There is nothing quite like being behind a merchant’s counter watching them interact with customers to truly appreciate what it takes to be a successful retailer. The opportunity to experience all that Michigan has to offer lives on at MRA through our Buy Nearby program. Each year (not counting the 2020 pandemic) MRA enlists a team of interns to shuttle Buy Nearby Guy around the state. The MRA mascot attends festivals, parades and celebrations all over Michigan, and our interns are the fuel in the tank. Like any job, there are some drawbacks, mainly being in the costume, but how many internships allow the freedom to explore Michigan downtowns from Marquette to Monroe? This edition of the Michigan Retailer focuses on travel and its benefits for the retail industry. As we emerge back into the world after a forced lockdown, we’re fortunate to live in such a beautiful state that has so many opportunities for tourism.

WILLIAM J. HALLAN MRA President and Chief Executive Officer


FROM THE EDITOR’S DESK

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

“Watching people snapping selfies with the Buy Nearby Guy, one thing became clear to me – we are all ready to party.”

Let’s get ready to…travel! Welcome Summer 2021 Over the last few months, I’ve read a number of summer travel predictions. I am a total nerd to the core when it comes to trend data. I think that’s what drew me to marketing because I geek out when it comes to trying to understand and predict behavior. As much as I like to see the predictions come true, in retrospect, some don’t, or they fall short. Why? Because humans are unpredictable and many tend to buck the system, especially when predictions are made public. I did come across one prediction made by AAA that I believe many Americans will gladly make true: “Over a year after the global pandemic was declared, many Americans are itching to get out of their homes and explore. As vaccines become more widely available and the nation progresses to our new normal, optimism and travel planning are increasing. According to the latest Longwoods International study tracking American travelers, 84% have plans to travel in the next six months.” In May, I had the pleasure of representing MRA at a special press conference held by the Travel Industry Coalition of Michigan (TICOM) to celebrate National Tourism Week that took place at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn (#MIPowerofTravel). During the press conference, I urged Michiganders to get out and support local retailers, who contribute 17% towards Michigan’s overall economy and employ nearly 1 million workers. (FYI - We are in the middle of refreshing those statistics. I’m excited to see what’s changed since 2018 since we last surveyed Michigan’s retailers.) Even in the driving rain, (ah, spring in Michigan) the mood of the event was buoyant. Even giddy. I laughed and joked with my peers about how nice – and strange – it felt to be at a live event, wearing makeup, and a dress after wearing sweatpants and gym shoes for so long. Our beloved Buy Nearby Guy made an appearance after a year of “sheltering in place” and several people enthusiastically asked for photos upon his arrival. The previous weekend, I witnessed people out and about in downtown Grand Rapids, enjoying the first 70-degree temperatures of the season. Between that and watching peo-

ple snapping selfies with the Buy Nearby Guy, one thing became clear to me – we are all ready to party. OH, THE PLACES WHERE WE’LL GO… This month’s Michigan Retailer takes an in-depth look at how the travel industry is shaping up for Michigan and what businesses should expect. Our talented freelance writer, Shandra Martinez, discusses the state of travel from the perspective of two MRA members who run successful travel businesses: Chris Conlin, president and owner of Conlin Travel, the largest travel management company in Michigan, and Carol Grussing, owner of Lenger Travel Center in Byron Center. We also include a great travel statistics piece that outlines what we may expect in terms of visitors this summer in Michigan. We have some great informative pieces, one that tackles the ongoing threat of ransomware and how to protect your systems and customer data. Another provides an overview of the ongoing iOS 14.5 software update for iPhone that is expected to impact the $105 billion U.S. mobile advertising industry – and potentially your digital advertising campaigns. We also provide an update on the impending Visa and Mastercard class action settlement concerning interchange fees and how members need to prepare to submit claims. Amy Drumm’s Legislative section covers the debates we had on behalf of members regarding Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Association’s (MIOSHA) plans to make rules instituted during the pandemic permanent. Our “In their own words” piece features Ken and Wilda Hopper of Bird’s Eye Outfitters in Sault Ste. Marie and their mission to get more people to embrace the outdoors. Whatever your travel plans are for this summer, we hope that karma shines brightly on your business and drives volumes of new sales for you. So, get ready, get set, and flip on your “open for business” signs. Summer 2021 is here! ON A PERSONAL NOTE… Our sales rep for the hardware division, Pat Harrington, has decided to retire from MRA in June to pursue his love of travel and to spend more time with family. Right before Pat retired, I was in need of a volunteer to don the Buy Nearby Guy costume for the TICOM press conference. Because our seasonal interns had not yet started, Pat came to my aid and did a fantastic job being our Buy Nearby Guy. Pat, thank you for everything you’ve done for MRA. Enjoy those long canoe trips. We will miss you. WWW.RETAILERS.COM JUN / JUL 2021

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LEGALLY SPEAKING

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

“ADR costs less, takes less time, has proven to be successful in the majority of cases and is more likely to result in an amicable resolution.”

Dispute resolution without leaving the office One of the most frustrating dilemmas a business owner can face is whether it is worthwhile to pursue legal remedies they are rightfully due from business dealings with vendors, customers, landlords, tenants or any of the many people they transact business with. For some, navigating legal landmines and the associated costs of hiring an attorney or filing your own legal action is not worth the effort and expense and ultimately chalked up to the cost of doing business. This calculus is contrary to the concept of access to justice, an issue that has been grappled with for many years. Alternative Dispute Resolution (“ADR”) is the procedure for settling disputes without a court having to decide the matter. ADR can trace its origins to English common law with village disputes presided over by well-respected members of the community in informal, quasi-judicial settings. This form of dispute resolution eventually found its way to Colonial America and continued through independence and the establishment of a formal government. Only in the beginning of the 20th Century did ADR start to take on a more formalized role. The United States Arbitration Act, signed by President Calvin Coolidge in 1925 and the establishment of the American Arbitration Association in 1926 can be viewed as watershed moments that brought ADR into the mainstream of the American judicial system. In modern times, the use of ADR has become increasingly popular. ADR costs less, takes less time, has proven to be successful in the majority of cases and is more likely to result in an amicable resolution. ADR has also taken different forms. Arbitration, for example, which can be binding or non-binding, is oftentimes a quasi-judicial proceeding, having varying degrees of formality, with each side presenting its arguments and a quasi-judicial officer making a final decision. Where arbitration is binding, courts will enforce the decision of the arbitrator, while nonbinding arbitration is more of a recommendation that the court may or may not take into consideration if the case proceeds to litigation. Mediation, on the other hand, involves the parties meeting with an impartial mediator who tries to assist them in negotiating a settlement. For the more litigious of readers who could do without either of these processes, it is worth noting that the court can oftentimes compel the parties to pursue ADR before litigation; so you may find yourself at the ADR table anyways. The unfortunate reality is that whether you are in a

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courtroom, at an arbitration hearing or sitting in a mediation conference room, you have probably already hired a lawyer, filed a lawsuit, and are spending time away from your business. If the amount in issue is relatively small, you may be asking yourself what the point of the process is. Fortunately, the State Court Administrative Office (“the SCAO”) has identified this issue and developed the MI-Resolve Program (“MI-Resolve”). MI-Resolve is a free mediation process, available in every county in Michigan, designed to resolve smaller disputes online. Typical cases involve money, contract and neighborhood disputes or landlord – tenant matters that do not involve eviction proceedings. The very types of cases that lead you to perform the cost benefit analysis of pursuing the matter in the first place! MI-Resolve does not require you to file a lawsuit or hire a lawyer. You simply go to courts.mi.gov/miresolve and choose the “click here” prompt, choose your specific county, register, initiate a case, answer a series of questions and provide the email address and contact information for the other party. The system will invite the other party to engage in the process. If a lawsuit has not already been filed, you and the other person will have seven days to try and resolve the matter through on-line negotiations, or you can ask that a mediator join in right away. If a lawsuit has already been filed, the mediator will join immediately. The best part is that the entire process is done online, so you never have to leave the office! An important part of your rights and MI-Resolve is confidentiality. SCAO reports that 80 percent (80%) of people who use the program reach an agreement. However, if you do not, with few exceptions none of the communications shared during the process can later be used in court and you are free to pursue any other legal action you choose. To learn more about the MI-Resolve program, the courts.mi.gov/miresolve website is user-friendly and provides a wealth of information. The legal process is rarely enjoyable for any of the participants, especially the parties themselves. MIResolve may be one resource that can help you to pursue your legal remedies in a cost-effective, timeefficient and stress reducing manner.


NEWS FROM THE CAPITOL

Victory alert - state cancels permanent COVID workplace safety rules We bring you news of a great victory! After over two months and nearly 28 hours of meetings, MRA and others were successful in getting the state to concede that developing permanent rules for COVID-19 did not make sense.

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

“MRA and the Michigan business community stressed the need for flexibility”

On May 20, the governor’s office and legislative leaders announced the rules request would be rescinded as part of a deal on the budget, how to spend federal COVID funds and future epidemic orders. The following Monday, the state updated its emergency rules to officially align with the latest CDC guidance on mask wearing by vaccinated individuals (both customers and employees). The emergency rules also stripped out the industry-specific provisions which were duplicative and a hold-over from previous executive orders. Capacity restrictions and customer requirements (while we don’t love them to begin with) should always have been handled via epidemic order rather than through a workplace safety rule set. So why is this such a big win for employers and why did it take so long to come together? Employers by now are familiar with the long list of COVID-19 workplace safety requirements issued under emergency rule by the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) back in October and the subsequent investigations, fines and press releases of those found out of compliance. What employers may not have realized is the emergency rules can only be in place for a max of one year, which prompted the state to draft a permanent rule set while everyone waited to see how long our exit from COVID would take. Permanent rules go through a lengthy, formal rulemaking process. The rules become static and reflect the snapshot in time when the rulemaking process began with the filing of proposed rules. The only way to make future changes is to send the proposed changes through the same process, which can take 12-18 months. In March, MIOSHA convened a Part 505, Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) advisory committee that MRA had a seat on as a technical advisor. The committee met eight times over four weeks, having lengthy, yet unproductive conversations about the proposed language that would ultimately be used to draft the permanent rules. MRA and other representatives from the business community stressed the need to added flexibility by tying the rules to CDC

guidance and also to the rescission or expiration or updates of epidemic orders issued by MDHHS, like the gathering and face mask orders. Yet, when MIOSHA filed draft rules in April they incorporated only a few of the changes and suggestions the advisory committee discussed, rejecting many of the recommendations MRA and the business community proposed. The lack of flexibility, no adjustments for vaccinated individuals and no rescission date was highly concerning given that even as the state hits the reopening targets under the “MI Vacc to Normal” plan (which has since been condensed to two reopening dates of June 1 and July 1), the MIOSHA rules would remain unchanged, presenting a different set of rules employers must follow than what the public generally understands is permissible. We anticipated and warned against the challenges the rule’s inflexibility presented after the CDC’s announcement on vaccinated individuals not needing to wear masks. Unfortunately, what we predicted came true since the state wasn’t able to act quickly enough to issue a statement from MIOSHA that following the health department’s epidemic order would be sufficient and avoid fines. That statement came the Monday following the Thursday/Friday announcements. Confrontations happened in retail stores and restaurants around the state over the weekend since the MIOSHA rules still required workers to enforce mask mandates even after MDHHS updated its gatherings and face mask order. The elimination of the permanent rules request and update of the emergency rules provide much-needed relief to retailers and one set of clear guidance to follow as we emerge from the pandemic and resume more normal life. LISTEN IN Did you know MRA has a weekly legislative update that you can listen to? MRA’s Jennifer Rook and I chat about what retailers need to know and what the happenings around the Michigan Capitol are from the previous week. These listen-in legislative updates are typically sent via email on Mondays so you can start your week with all the latest developments and info you need to know.

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Conlin Travel ‘s Ann Arbor office.

Travel professionals build customer loyalty during pandemic By SHANDRA MARTINEZ

Photos STEVE JESSMORE

In a year when most people stayed home, those in the travel planning business proved their value to clients. “COVID has really shone a light on the extra services we bring to the table,” said Chris Conlin, president and owner of Conlin Travel, the largest travel management company in Michigan. Conlin and others are finding an important silver lining in what will be remembered as one of the most devastating periods for the travel industry, which collectively saw a 42% decline in revenues, according to data provided by the U.S. Travel Association. While many travelers scrambled to get through to the airlines or the cruise lines to claim their refunds or rebookings, his clients benefitted from his staff’s special phone lines to the companies that put them at the head of the line. Those who followed the company’s counsel to buy insurance policies found recouping their money much easier. “We have a different level of service with them. A lot of people had travel insurance, so we were able to get money back and get refunds for people that wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise,” Conlin said. BOOKING AND REBOOKING Staff double- and even triple-rebooked clients’ bookings a few times over the winter as the goalposts for recovery kept moving. 8

Chris Conlin, President and CEO of Conlin Travel, poses with travel packages sorted on the conference room table at the Ann Arbor office.

MICHIGAN RETAILER JUN / JUL 2021

“All of our clients know how valuable we are, and looking down the road we are well-positioned for growth and prosperity, and that excites us as well,” Conlin said. Carol Grussing also has heard from clients who are glad that they had a professional travel agent in their corner when their travel plans fell apart because of the pandemic. She is the owner of Lenger Travel Center in the Grand Rapids suburb of Byron Center, which she has co-owned since 1985. “We’ve heard repeatedly from clients who said, ‘We don’t know how we would have been able to get through this without you,’” Grussing said. “Our client base has definitely become much stronger. We have people who used our services once or twice before say, ‘We’re never going anywhere else.’” She compares booking trips on the internet to changing your car’s oil yourself or perming your own hair. It’s a cheaper option, but many people are willing to pay more for the convenience and better results of having an expert handle the duties. PENT-UP DEMAND With the opening of European and Asian destinations expected to take a while, it’s going to take longer for the international travel market to rebound, so a lot of trips have been domestic. Cruises are in hot demand, with bookings for 2022 exceeding 2019, thanks to pent-up travel demand. Conlin says his clients tend to skew toward 50 and older. Most


have been vaccinated, which has given them the confidence to finally resume traveling. Mexico and the Caribbean are currently the most popular international destinations for U.S. travelers, who are required to get tested for COVID-19 — either coming or going, depending on the location. In the U.S., Florida is the hotspot, and closer to home, Northern Michigan continues to be a favorite for getaways.

sale levels for a few years. While leisure travel is picking up, business travel continues to be mostly halted as remote work continues. But Conlin said he is beginning to see the return of travel for conferences and conventions.

Grussing also is seeing pent-up demand from clients eager to travel to Europe and take cruises.

Conlin says he had to reduce hours or furlough much of his 75-person staff in the past year but has been increasing hours and bringing employees back to their offices since March.

“They want the world back. They want it back now. They don’t want to wait another two years to travel,” she said. “No one travels like Americans. Nobody.”

Still, there was the opportunity to expand during the pandemic. Conlin Travel acquired two agencies — one in East Lansing and the other in Rochester Hills — and is completing a deal for an

“We’ve heard repeatedly from clients who said, ‘We don’t know how we would have been able to get through this without you,’” Grussing said. “Our client base has definitely become much stronger.” Carol Grussing

OFFERING EXPERTISE An important aspect of working with travel counselors is that clients benefit from their expertise and vendor relationships. “In many cases, we have special amenities, such as early or late check-ins, and upgrade and meal credits,” said Conlin, “But, generally, it is the expertise that the travel counselors bring to the table, making sure clients pick the right product for them. Our counselors start with people by really interviewing them, finding out what they want to achieve with their vacations.” Conlin’s dad started the business in 1959, and he purchased it in 2000, not too long before 9/11, another devastating chapter for the industry. Leisure and business travel stopped almost overnight. “That was more widespread then, but it didn’t affect us as much as COVID-19, which has been very targeted to tourism and hospitality,” Conlin said. ECONOMIC IMPACT The travel-related economic impact of COVID-19 is projected to be nine times worse than 9/11, according to the U.S. Travel Association. The industry isn’t expected to get back to pre-COVID

Top: Carol Grussing, CTC, of Lenger Travel Center, Inc. poses in Byron Center. Bottom: Lenger Travel Center, Inc. in Byron Center.

out-of-state business. Growth through acquisition has been a successful strategy over the past three decades. During that period, Conlin Travel bought up 15 competitors to expand services to different markets. MRA: A ‘FANTASTIC’ RESOURCE As information about health, safety and restrictions continually evolves, the Michigan Retailer Association (MRA) has been a crucial resource throughout the pandemic with its webinars and newsletters. continued on page 20

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Travel trends put Michiganders in the driver’s seat as tourism

ramps up By SHANDRA MARTINEZ There are early signs that tourism is ramping back up as more Americans get vaccinations. A full bounce-back for the industry isn’t likely to happen until 2022, but this summer is expected to move the needle significantly. The first week in May, hotels in Michigan reported 58% occupancy — more than double the rate of a year ago. It’s a sign people are ready to get out of their homes, believes David Lorenz, vice president of Travel Michigan, speaking at a National Travel and Tourism Week event in early May to tout the state’s upcoming tourism season. This year’s theme is The Power of Travel. “Despite the challenges of the past year, Pure Michigan is ready and eager to welcome back visitors and help drive Michigan’s recovery efforts,” Lorenz said in a statement. “With warm weather upon us, we are reminding travelers of the beauty and diversity of Michigan’s destinations and that their favorite activities can still be enjoyed in Pure Michigan while staying safe.”

Here are some trends driving Michigan travel GETTING OUTDOORS. With the current restrictions in place, people are spending more time outdoors. Those who have never been into outdoor recreation are trying new things, such as hiking and kayaking. The pandemic is pushing people outdoors, and that has continued to hold strong. Look for demand in products that help people in their quest to get outdoors. EXPERIENCE PACKAGES. Retail spending, whether eating out or shopping, is one of the main activities people do when they travel. The Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau is giving people ideas by creating experience packages that deliver cost savings and the convenience of having an itinerary. The Detroit Experience packages range from overnight stays to day trips that include tours of the Motor City based on interests such as shopping, history or food. SAFE TRAVEL. Five of Michigan’s welcome centers are offering free rapid COVID-19 tests. The voluntary tests — which provide results in 15 minutes — are sponsored by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. The Travel Points Testing Program includes the welcome centers on U.S. 127 in Clare, Interstate 94 in New Buffalo, U.S. 23 in Dundee and Interstate 75 in Monroe County. 10

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ROAD TRIPS. Travel Michigan has redirected its promotional campaign to highlight in-state and Great Lakes regional travel. The focus is on driving vacations that give the traveler a sense of safety. At michigan.org, there’s a dedicated page for road trips with suggested itineraries on the state’s website. The summer campaign follows on the heels of a successful winter ad campaign, as the next step of a multi-phase effort to continue reintroducing Michigan as a premier four-season travel destination and location to work, live and play. In addition, the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and Pure Michigan late last year launched a “Support Local” campaign, which urged Michiganders to shop, eat and travel safely in Pure Michigan. COLLABORATION TO BOOST TRAVEL. Convention and Visitor Bureaus are coming together across the state to encourage statewide travel. They are among more than 30 Michigan Association of Convention & Visitor Bureaus (MACVB) member destinations that took part in The Great Michigan Scavenger Hunt & Giveaway, which launched in early May as part of National Travel and Tourism Week. The first of a two-part promotion included social media gift card giveaways tied to sharing travelers’ favorite overnight vacation pictures online using #MIPowerofTravel to win one of 10 Michigan road trip packages. The second featured gift cards to various Michigan restaurants and breweries hidden throughout participating towns for people to find. The event is part of a longer-term effort that began in 2020 as CVBs worked together to cross-promote each other with “virtual trips” to highlight tourism opportunities across the state. This year, the group is hoping that visitors will find a gift card in Frankenmuth for a hotel or restaurant in Traverse City that would inspire another road trip, explained Christie Bierlein, marketing director for the Frankenmuth Convention and Visitors Bureau, as well as the marketing chair for the MACVB. The idea of the promotion is to “encourage people to travel to new places in Michigan that they maybe haven’t been to before,” Bierlein said.


Rise of Zero Party Data - How Apple’s latest iOS update may impact your digital advertising Apple’s latest update gives users more control over data yet impacts the accuracy of third-party data. This may change how business owners approach digital advertising. Here’s what you need to know. By JENNIFER ROOK This has been in the works for months. News outlets from CNN to Social Media Today have reported extensively on how Apple’s latest iOS 14.5 update will drastically impact the $105 billion U.S. mobile advertising industry. It is believed that the new update includes Apple’s strongest consumer data privacy protections to date.

“Apple’s new iOS 14.5 update is expected to have a significant impact on ad targeting and re-targeting accuracy, as more users choose to block in-app tracking.”

FIRST-PARTY DATA TAKES CENTER STAGE What does this change mean to your digital advertising efforts? It means less reliance on third-party information when deciding where to devote your advertising dollars. Businesses that collect “first-party data” will have an edge. Here are some examples of first-party data: • Your subscription-based emails or products • Customer surveys • Website traffic and purchase information • Customer relationship management (CRM) database • Social media sites (i.e. customer comments on your business’s Facebook page) • Customer feedback

Apple’s iOS 14.5 update features an “App Tracking Transparency” (ATT) update that will trigger a prompt message in all apps on iOS devices (ie. iPhones and iPads) that explicitly asks users for permission before they monitor or track a user in the form of “cookies.” This means that unless approved, apps can’t show users targeted ads based on what they do in other apps, send location info or email addresses to data brokers, or share data that follows users across apps and services. TARGETED DIGITAL ADS EXPECTED TO DIMINISH IN VALUE The update is expected to have a significant impact on ad targeting and re-targeting accuracy, as more users choose to block in-app tracking. As less information becomes available, it limits advertisers’ understanding on how people engage with information, links, and graphics, otherwise known as “elements.”

Apple’s long-awaited iOS 14.5 update for iPhone is rolling to more users as the newest version of iPhones become available this summer.

This update does not mean that tracking prevention makes ads go away entirely nor will it prevent all forms of tracking or personalized ads. However, it does limit the collection of third-party data, making ads less relevant and therefore, less valuable. And it is this change that is sticking in the yaw of major advertising platforms such as Google (via YouTube pre-roll video ads) and Facebook that rely heavily on targeted-ad business. Facebook and Google will still be able to gather data from their own users and use that data across all their respective apps.

At the moment, Facebook warns that advertisers “can expect to see changes in Facebook’s business and advertising tools, including ad set up, audience selection, delivery, measurement, and reporting.”

Although some of its relevance will diminish. “We’re still going to do better than a lot of digital players. We’re still going to do better at that than TV or radio,” Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said in a call to discuss the company’s earnings recently.

If you rely heavily on Facebook for advertising, it’s a good idea to review Facebook’s extensive explanation of the change. You can view it at facebook.com/business/news/how-to-preparefor-changes-to-facebook-ads-from-ios-14-update#

It has been reported that news publishers are less exposed, since many have both reliable web and in-app traffic. Plus, news outlets have a diversified ad revenue stream of both direct and programmatic sales.

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What’s your Data Worth? The Alarming Threat of Ransomware on Small Business Ransomware attacks on businesses large and small increased exponentially in 2020 and shows no signs of abating in 2021. What you need to do now to protect your business. By JENNIFER ROOK The day starts like any other. Business is looking up after a rough year living through a pandemic. With life starting to resemble some form of normalcy, you’re feeling optimistic about the future. Heck, maybe you’ll dig out those expansion plans you had in mind pre-COVID. You log into your company’s network, and suddenly, something doesn’t appear to be right. After a few reboots, you realize that something is very wrong and panic sets in. You can’t access your files – or any files for that matter. A message pops up saying that your system’s data has been encrypted. Encrypted? To get it, the text says that you must purchase a bitcoin using the provided link or else your data will be made public in a matter of hours or disappear. Questions race across your mind. How much is a bitcoin? What if your competitors see your financials? What about your customers’ data or employee information? How did this happen? RANSOMWARE ATTACKS ARE ON THE RISE According to a recent article in Forbes, the popularity of ransomware attacks has grown substantially over the past year due to the lure of potential financial gains. Today, there are now roughly 124 separate families of ransomware, with hackers becoming very skilled at hiding malicious code.

The Ransomware problem has now increased to more than $11.5 billion in payments and damages to businesses with the number of attacks up between 200%- 300% over last year.

Ransomware can be explained as malicious software or malware code that infects a businesses’ operating system rendering it useless, or the businesses’ data is “captured” and encrypted. The perpetrators then demand money from the victim for release of their data or to allow the system to work properly again, in essence holding the system for ransom. Ransomware affects everyone, from an individual to a government municipality to a large multi-billion-dollar corporation. The Chicago Tribune recently reported on a damaging ransomware attack made against the Illinois Attorney General’s office. In May, CNA Financial Corp., among the largest insurance companies in the U.S., paid $40 million in late March to regain control of its network after a ransomware attack. And most recently, the interna12

MICHIGAN RETAILER JUN / JUL 2021

tional hacker group DarkSide paralyzed the Colonial Pipeline Co., shutting down a 5,500-mile pipeline that carries 45% of fuel used on the East Coast. Colonial paid DarkSide $4.4 million in Bitcoin for a key to unlock its files.

TOP TARGET FOR RANSOMWARE ATTACKS: HOSPITALS, MUNICIPALITIES, AND SMALL BUSINESSES While attacks on well-known companies generate headlines, according to multiple IT research firms, it is often small and mediumsized businesses that suffer the most ransomware attacks. Prior to the pandemic, the Ponemon Institute reported that 63% of small businesses, surveyed in Fall 2019 reported they had experienced some sort of a cyber breach. Globally, ransomware on small businesses of all types increased more than 400% over 2019 with hackers’ desire for obtaining cryptocurrency, such as bitcoin, being the key motivator. Because business owners have been preoccupied with keeping their businesses open over the past year, the attention on things like ransomware has become a lesser priority, hence increasing their exposure.


Small businesses are exposed to cyber risk from multiple angles, and it only takes one click to infect an entire network. According to an article in Fast Company, in the early days of ransomware, hackers typically wrote their own encryption code. Nowadays, hackers, otherwise known as “threat actors,” rely on “off-the-shelf ransomware kits.” Readily available on the dark web, these kits are harder to crack and more sophisticated in delivering concentrating phishing campaigns that are less recognizable than a traditional phishing email blast. Once threat actors infiltrate your network, they either move fast to gain access and take complete control over your system, or they lie dormant, slowly collecting data for months or years.

“Globally, ransomware on small businesses of all types increased more than 400% over 2019 with hackers’ desire for obtaining cryptocurrency, such as bitcoin, being the key motivator.” PROTECTING YOUR BUSINESS MEANS ACTING NOW IT professionals and research firms unanimously agree that the top causes of successful ransomware attacks include clicking on links in phishing emails, employees receiving little to no training, and using weak or infrequently changed passwords. If you’ve put off having your system audited or tested, now is the time to connect with a good managed service provider (MSP), especially as business starts to increase as more transactions begin to take place. A good MSP will work with business owners to help them adapt a robust cybersecurity policy that protects sensitive data and prevents it from falling into the hands of malicious third parties. They can also train staff in the art of practicing better “cyber-hygiene,” such as using stronger passwords and learning what constitutes phishing emails and malware. MSPs can also install needed patching software, implement a multi-factor authentication (MFA) of your business applications, and deploy solutions like firewalls with intrusion detection and prevention, anti-virus and anti-malware services running on servers and computers, and perform a complete backup of all critical data offsite. Many IT experts say that a large amount of small to mid-sized businesses have a false sense of security, especially in believing that “everything is safe in the cloud.” This is exactly the mindset that threat actors look for in selecting their next target. REVIEW YOUR GENERAL INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR CYBERSECURITY COVERAGE Cyber coverage needs to be factored into every small business’s insurance portfolio, specifically a security liability or an Enterprise Cyber Liability (ECL) and privacy liability clause. Unfortunately, many small business owners do not take the time to review what’s covered with respects cybersecurity, citing that it’s too complex to understand. Some elect to forgo the coverage all together believing the coverage is a “nice to have” versus a “need to have.” Please

Ransomeware By the numbers

200 Million

Almost 200 million ransomware attacks occurred in the first nine months of 2020 representing a large increase over the previous year. (SonicWall)

$233,817

Ransomware payments continued their steep incline in Q3 2020. The average sits at $233,817, up 31% over the previous quarter and a whopping 468% over Q3 2019. (Coveware’s Q3 2020 Ransomware Marketplace report)

19 days

The average downtime due to a ransomware attack was 19 days in Q3 of 2020 compared to 12.1 days in Q3 2019. (Coveware’s Q3 2020 Ransomware Marketplace report)

50%

50% of ransomware attacks are on small to mid-sized organizations.

90%

90% of all breaches are initiated by human error.

note that typically workers’ compensation policies do not include ECL coverage. Retailer’s Insurance does offer cyber coverage with its policy. Your agent can help you understand the risks, and review common loss scenarios, the typical response time, and the claims submission process. For small businesses that offer services via a third party, agents can help in identifying if there is an additional level of exposure from customers who may hold them contractually liable for cyber-related incidents. Lastly, agents can also recommend MSPs that can work with you to identify, strengthen, and manage your security exposures — usually at no additional cost. YOUR BEST DEFENSE? EDUCATION! Most victims of ransomware attacks admit that they had little knowledge about it. Here are a multitude of resources that devote much “ink” to the topic in the hopes of highlighting all types of scenarios. In addition to keep yourself educated, think about having a regular discussion on cybersecurity with your staff. Here are some suggested resources to bookmark: • U.S. Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency: cisa. gov/ransomware • U.S. Department of Justice: justice.gov • Cybercrime Magazine: cybersecurityventures.com

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Update on Visa and MasterCard Class Action Lawsuit Settlement Decision By JOHN MAYLEBEN There’s progress in the 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 and will be disbursed to any merchant that accepted Visa or MasterCard transactions between 2004 and part way through January 2019. There was a hearing in early November that gives all indications that the claims period will open shortly. Eligible retailers can file for a claim, and MRA has partnered with Managed Care Advisory Group (MCAG). The firm specializes in the collection and reporting of data for class action lawsuit settlements. When it looked like a settlement was going to happen a couple of years ago, we enrolled over 1,000 merchants into the settlement

Contactless credit card processing.

services provided by MCAG. Those enrollments are still good; If you’re one of them, there is nothing more you need to do. 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. 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.

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800.366.3699 www.retailers.com

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MICHIGAN RETAILER JUN / JUL 2021


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

#1 News Website in Michigan.

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

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

100,000 Impressions – Local Geo and Behaviorally Targeted

MRA MEMBERSHIP PACKAGE RATES

MRA MEMBERSHIP PACKAGE RATES

 $658/month with 12-month commitment

 $864/month with 12-month commitment

 $759/month with 6-month commitment

 $1000/month with 6-month commitment

 $915/month with 3-month commitment

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($992/month Regular Retail Rate)

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

($1352/month Regular Retail Rate)

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

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

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

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In their own words

Wilda and Ken Hopper opened Bird’s Eye Outfitters in 2016 to inspire others to get active, eat healthy, and have a good time doing it.

Bird’s Eye Outfitters Member since: 2021

Owners: Ken and Wilda Hopper Location: 107 E. Portage Ave., Sault Ste. Marie Opened: 2016 Specialties: High-quality outdoor gear, food/drink, coffee MRA services: Workers’ compensation

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

Wilda Hopper grew up in Fort Myers, Florida and found herself making a long trip north to attend college in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. There she met her future husband, Ken, a native to Sault Ste. Marie, and together, they began to explore the trails and picturesque sites the U.P. had to offer. Ken and Wilda Hopper share how their passion for community, recreation, and eating healthy jumpstarted their business, Bird’s Eye Outfitters, in Sault Ste. Marie. Wilda – Years ago, we didn’t see a lot of outdoor activity in the Soo, even though Ken and I are avid outdoor lovers. Whenever we talked to people about going out around here, we found that many lacked the knowledge of what to wear, how to explore, and what gear was needed. We also learned that people wanted to belong to a group of fellow explorers. People are community-seeking, and they want to be with others while they go out on adventures. We saw a need. Ken – We wanted to see a paradigm shift in the area where most people preferred to stay indoors due to the long winters. We’re surrounded by natural resources! We wanted to share with others and show them how to celebrate it.

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Wilda – So, we set out to change the mindset of getting outdoors by making it simpler. This meant providing good quality outdoor gear for people that they could utilize year-round and feel comfortable in. We also wanted to introduce the education and safety aspects of doing certain activities. We saw that when people got outdoors, it not only changed their physical health, it also improved their mental well-being. It was an all-around positive thing to get people outside and moving. Those were our passions: health and wellness, people, and the area. We wanted to create a unique experience for people. Before we opened our doors, we thought this would be a great place for people to meet up. A hub for hiking, biking, paddling, and running groups. We initially wanted to be a “coffee, beer and gear” place, and didn’t add food until later. We thought if people came, had a nice cup of coffee, and went out on a good trip, then they would come back and celebrate with a cocktail or a beer. We thought that would get people excited, not only about getting outside, but about exploring different opportunities nearby. We have a handful of great trips and lessons we offer. I’m certified as a stand-up paddle board instructor and Ken is a kayak instructor. Our signature trip is the Soo Locks trip, in kayaks and paddleboards. We also do trips to Rotary Island on the St. Marys River where there is a chain of islands. We take guests to Voyager Island that has a walking trail and it’s near the flow of freighter traffic. We’re far enough to be safe, but close enough to really see the size of the freighters. Ken – Our first slogan was “Get in here to get out there.” When we first planned our store, the concept was to have high-quality everything – coffee, food, outdoor equipment and gear. We wanted to do things different. We had to offer something the big box stores and online retailers couldn’t do. If you look at our reviews, people love our concept. When you buy something online, you’re not getting that personal service. We try to source what we can locally. We all do better if we support each other. A lot of people don’t think like that, but we try to crosspromote other businesses in the area. We’d rather work with others than be competitors. Wilda – If you have a vision for it. If you have a passion for it. You need to dwell in the possibility that if you build it, people will come. Why? Because it’s something that is good quality, clean, and most importantly, it’s what people need. People are starting to really see the benefits of being outdoors, of eating clean, and being a part of a community. Traffic rose in 2020. That was incredible and wonderful to see! It also identified the need to educate people to help get them outdoors and to leave no trace. You need to “pack out” what you “pack in” and leave nothing behind. That’s what we’re trying to teach people, all while getting out and enjoying what the area has to offer.

Top to bottom: Owners Ken and Wilda Hopper crafted much of the Bird’s Eye interior and menu themselves; employee Sarah Smith waits on customers under the array of members’ mug clubs hanging overhead; Bird’s Eye carriers popular outdoor brands such as Patagonia and Jack Wolfskin. WWW.RETAILERS.COM JUN / JUL 2021

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Customer Service Corner PROCESSING UPDATES Multi-factor authentication (MFA) has been added to the login process across our various systems/platforms. This provides an extra layer of security for an added layer of protection.

• Address Verification (AVS) requires the street number and zip code. If it doesn’t match the credit card, you will receive a mismatch response and should cancel the transaction until verification of cardholder information

This security enhancement layer is required upon login and merchants cannot opt-out. When logging in you will receive a prompt to secure the account with MFA, which includes providing an email address and/or mobile phone number in the registration process. An email and/or text message will be sent with a security code that you will enter on the screen when you login to the system.

• Security Code Verification (CVV) requires the 3-digit code on the back of the credit card, or the 4-digit code on the front of a American Express credit card. If it doesn’t match the credit card, you will receive a mismatch response and should cancel the transaction until verification of cardholder information • Password Protection requires a password for all returns, force capture, store/forward and reports

Contact Customer Service at 800.563.5981, option 2, with any questions.

• Fraud Control, when enabled, will prompt for the last four digits of the credit card to be verified. If incorrect, the prompt will state invalid card number, which the transaction should be cancelled

FRAUD CONTROL If you receive a request to wire money or to ship merchandise out of the country, please call customer service at 800.563.5981 option 2, to discuss before processing the transaction.

• Verify the credit card receipt to make sure the customer name and credit card number on the front of the card are identical to what’s on the printed credit card receipt. If not, call 800.563.5981 option 4 and say “CODE 10”.

Terminal functions that assist with fraud control: • Process with a Chip-Card-enabled terminal/device

FEB/MAR 2021

Michigan

The official publication of the Michigan Retailers Association

www.retailers.com

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

Volume 46 No. 1

OCT/NOV 2020

AUG/SEP 2020

The official publication of the Michigan Retailers Association

The official publication of the Michigan Retailers Association

www.retailers.com

www.retailers.com

Painting spree

Gearing up

Murals: Are they right for your building?

Shoppers head outdoors

Election: MRA’s Friends of Retail

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

Retail liability issues during COVID-19

Your pandemic compliance guide 2020 scholarship winners named

What downtowns are doing to help retail

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

Volume 45 No. 5

Volume 45 No. 4

DEC 2020/ JAN 2021

DEC 2019/ JAN 2020

The official publication of the Michigan Retailers Association

The official publication of the Michigan Retailers Association

www.retailers.com

www.retailers.com

PIVOTING

An iconic clothier

Hand sanitizer helps distillery weather COVID

How Kositchek’s has stayed relevant for 154 years

Music stores find ways to keep us in tune

Enroll for your share of the VISA/MasterCard class action suit

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Know the legal pitfalls of putting merchandise on sale

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

Your 2020 retail calendar

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

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

Volume 45 No. 6

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Volume 44 No. 6

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SURVEY RESULTS COMING SOON The 2021 Membership COVID-19 Impact Survey results are currently being deciphered and will be announced later this month. Watch your email for more information regarding survey results, and follow us on social media (FB.com/MichiganRetailers, Twitter.com/MichRetail). MRA has also commissioned Public Sector Consultants to update the data from our 2018 Buy Nearby Economic Study. The results will be made available in July. Downloadable images and marketing pieces will be made available after the results are gathered. Find more information at www.buynearbymi.com/retailers, or follow along on Buy Nearby’s social media accounts (FB.com/ BuyNearbyMI, Twitter.com/BuyNearbyMI and on Instagram @mibuynearby). MRA’S ANNUAL SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM The 2021-22 academic year winners have been selected and are in the process of being notified. The official list will be published in the August issue of the Michigan Retailer and posted on our website and social media.

Tidbits to make business easier

ity and to apply, visit www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/ covid-19-relief-options. NOMINATE A MICHIGANDER FOR A 2021 BOOM AWARD BOOM (Be Our Own Motivation) is a statewide award ceremony recognizing individuals with a disability who have excelled professionally or personally. The goal of the BOOM Awards is to provide stereotype-busting role models for people with disabilities. Each year, three individuals are honored as the Employee of the Year, Entrepreneur of the Year and Athlete of the Year. They will be recognized at a luncheon in November. Winners will receive recognition of their accomplishments, including a short video produced about their journey by Good Fruit Video. Additionally, they will be invited to join the BOOM committee to help nominate and select future award recipients. Nominations must be received by July 2, 2021. Visit bit.ly/nominateboom to submit a nominee. continued on page 20

Thank you to all that applied! We received a total of 365 applications and will be awarding 26 one-year scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $1,500. Mark your calendars for the start of the 2022 scholarship application period, which will begin on January 1, 2022. A CALL FOR PARTICIPATION Over the last few years, we’ve seen a decreasing number of responses to our monthly Michigan Retail Index Survey. The survey is done in correlation with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Detroit branch and gauges the economic position of the state and the outlook for the next three months. We send the link to complete the monthly survey in our membership emails. Please take the anonymous survey each month so the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Detroit Branch can gather a more accurate gauge of our economy.

Protection like no other

If you are not receiving our membership emails and would like to be added to our list, please send an email to mra@retailers. com. Once added, you’ll be able to select which subscriptions and notifications you’d like to receive from us.

Workers’ compensation insurance with automatic cyber security coverage

RESTAURANT REVITALIZATION FUND The American Rescue Plan Act established the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) to provide funding to help restaurants and other eligible businesses keep their doors open. This program will provide restaurants with funding equal to their pandemicrelated revenue loss up to $10 million per business and no more than $5 million per physical location. Recipients are not required to repay the funding as long as funds are used for eligible uses no later than March 11, 2023. For more information on eligibil-

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

800.366.3699

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MICHIGAN RETAIL SALES DROP FOR FIRST TIME IN 2021 According to the Michigan Retail Index Survey, conducted by MRA with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s Detroit branch, retailers in April reported a decrease in retail sales, month-over-month, for the first time since November 2020, many citing labor shortages and supply chain issues as the likely culprits. The April Retail Index survey came in at 67.1, a decrease from March’s 92.4. Fifty-eight percent (58%) of Michigan retailers reported an increase in sales over March, 22% reported a sales decline; and 20% reported no change. The 100-point Index provides a snapshot of the state’s overall retail industry. Index values above 50 generally indicate positive activity; the higher the number, the stronger the activity. Going forward, fifty-seven percent (57%) of retailers predict their sales will continue to rise through July, but 15% said they expect a sales decline, and 28% anticipate no change. That results in an 66.3 Index rating, a drop from last month’s Index rating of 80.3. Read the entire report at www.retailers.com/news-events/michigan-retail-index.

Buy Nearby Weekend

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

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Travel professionals continued from page 9

Grussing appreciates the mutual encouragement among retailers. “It’s probably more evident than I’ve seen in the past,” she said. “When you have a professional organization that is in place to provide assistance and structure, the good old networking is not a bad thing to make use of. “I am kept well informed of anything that may be new on the market or things that should cause me to be concerned. Also, if there are scams or situations that we should be aware of, as far as financial and payment plans would go, that’s important. The retail association is important for that. I have not lacked for information, and if I had any questions, I knew exactly Grussing where I could go.” Conlin made the decision about 15 years ago to join the MRA, drawn by the low fees for credit card processing. “We have had different companies over the years but none have been as easy to work with and really understood our business,” he said. “MRA reps have taken the time to understand our business and bring the products and services to us. We’ve had a fantastic relationship with the Michigan Retailer Association, mainly because of that.”


Westlund’s Apple Market Recognized as a Michigan Centennial Retailer In April, MRA President and CEO Bill Hallan recognized Westlund’s Apple Market as a Michigan Centennial Retailer. Under the ownership of two families, the store has managed to ride out a century of ups and downs, continuing to serve the Lansing community for 100 years. Owner Tim Westlund accepted the award, making Westlund’s the 94th retailer to be honored since MRA launched the program in 2000. The award presentation was part of a news spot that aired on a local TV station. Masks were briefly removed for broadcast, as permitted under the MDHHS face covering exception. MRA’s Member Recognition page also lists the previous 93 retailers to receive the honor and provides a form where you can nominate an eligible retailer to receive the designation. To see photos and learn more about Westlund’s Apple Market, see the March/April issue of the Michigan Food News.

Your loyalty means more perks as an MRA member!

It pays to be loyal!

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

Contact your MRA Rep today to learn more:

800.366.3699 mra@retailers.com Retailers.com 042121

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New Members Pizza One Alma LLC, Alma Friend Together, Alpena Next Travel LLC, Ann Arbor Unique Construction and Services LLC, Ann Arbor Get Beautiful, Battle Creek Fraser Cultivation Group LLC, Bay City GS3 Management LLC, Beaverton Green Oak Tire Inc., Brighton Jeb III Mouldrings LLC dba Harvest Oak Mfg., Bronson Village Custom Interiors, Byron Center Good Samaritans Medical Transport LLC, Byron Center Mission Constructions Services LLC, Clarksville Nick’s Country Oven, Clawson Manchester Trucking Corp LLC, Clinton Township Cedar Valley Fun Park Inc., Comins Keinath Tire Inc, Deckerville Coriander LLC, Detroit Oakman Early Child Care Services LLC, Detroit Eldorado General Store, Detroit Tech Town Detroit, Detroit Tawas Bay Pizza Company, East Tawas Daniel’s Kitchen, Edmore Michigan Timber & Truss Inc., Flint India Industries LLC, Flint Rock Solid Concrete Inc., Flushing

Enjoy even better savings Members now save up to 40% on FedEx with the MRA Shipping Program. PartnerShip.com/41MRA

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MICHIGAN RETAILER JUN / JUL 2021

Gladwin Ogemaw Fuller Ctr for Housing, Gladwin ERS/Art of Grand Rapids, Grand Rapids True North Tavern, Greenville J & F Janitorial Inc., Hemlock Qualite Sports Lighting LLC, Hillsdale Duca LLC, Holland Thompson Motor Group LLC, Hudsonville Cloots & Swanson Wholesale, Iron Mountain Local Redi-Mix, Iron Mountain Judicial Services Group, Jackson Trim Michigan Avenue Salon-Michele Sullivan, Kalamazoo Phenix Security LLC, Kentwood R & R Reginal Land Co LLC, Lake Orion Viridis Group LLC, Lansing Cleats Bar & Grille Inc., Lansing Shangos Inc. dba Lapeer Wine & Spirits, Lapeer Mid Valley Transportation LLC, Lapeer Rooted, Mancelona Salt City Cargo, Manistee Queen City Running Company, Marquette The Midland Taste Inc., Midland Sawyers Brewing Company LLC, Montague Corky’s Beal City Tavern LLC, Mount Pleasant Anahat LLC dba Pump N Shop, Mount Pleasant Pop A Top Tavern, Muskegon Monarch Powder Coating, Muskegon Hospice of Muskegon County Inc., Muskegon Okemos Travel Planners LLC, Okemos Common Denominator Coffee + Community, Oxford 925 Den LLC, Oxford AH Machining Services LLC, Richmond Mirage Jewelers, Riverview Ada Mobile Wash LLC, Rockford Eardley Law Offices PC, Rockford Tulgestka Transport Inc., Rogers City Knights Transport LLC, Saint Clair Shores BRLA Inc. dba Country Party Store II, Saint Clair Shores J & C Thumb Gunnery LLC, Sandusky Famous Soo Locks Cruises Inc., Sault Sainte Marie ZLP Inc., Scottville Sebewaing Ace Hardware, Sebewaing LD Quality Caulking & Printing LLC, Shelby Twp. Lake Bluff Inn & Suites, South Haven Hope’s Outlet Ministries Inc., Spring Lake Brown & Brown of Detroit, Sterling Heights Allopathic Crop Services LLC dba The Armory, Sturgis Sturgis Hospital Inc., Sturgis Krupp’s Mini Mart, Toivola J & P Auto Sales, Union EMB Solutions, Warren Gillett Cement Products, Wisconsin Oh Art, Wyoming Rush Marketing Services LLC, Wyoming


Got a business question? Try this: Ask Us First! 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 state agencies. That’s why we launched 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. 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.

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

Strengthen MRA’s efforts to get retail more visibility and more support in Lansing! MRA’s Advocacy Funds enhances MRA’s lobbying efforts to support retail in Michigan.

legi image

The fund helps educate elected officials on retail issues and provides non-political contributions to their efforts. The Advocacy Fund is another way MRA shows appreciation to Michigan leaders who stand by retailers in the Mitten. Help us get a better seat at the table!

Contributions to the fund can be made from business accounts and written off as a business expense.

To contribute, please send a check made payable to “MRA.” Amy Drumm, MRA’s Vice President of Governmental Affairs, testifies on behalf of Michigan’s Retailers.

In the notes line, indicate “MRA Advocacy Fund.” Contributions should be sent to Amy Drumm’s attention.

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