Caught in Gridlock
Despite strong, bipartisan support for leveling the retail playing field, Main Street Fairness legislation got caught in political gridlock. Page 2
A former retailer puts together a crash course in book form on how amazing customer service really can boost sales. Page 5
Guide to Contracts
Contracts may be boring and confusing, but this quick guide can help you with the basics to protect your business. Page 9
® June 2013 Vol. 38 No. 3
Retail organization takes on challenge of industry’s image A national organization is taking on the challenge of transforming the image of the retail industry – especially among young people looking for careers. “Our industry has a perception problem – and we need to address it head on,” said Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the National Retail Federation (NRF) in Washington, D.C. Shay said a new NRF campaign called “This is Retail: Careers, Community, Innovation” is designed to “counter the myths about our industry with research and stories that show the true face of retail. That, in fact, retail offers richly rewarding and diverse career opportunities, is central to communities, big and small, and that retail is at the forefront of innovation.” He added, “By fundamentally transforming the perception of retail, we will ensure the industry continues to thrive and grow.” New Research Shay announced the campaign in April, along with new research showing what young adults are looking for in a job. In general, the research shows that the average young adult values aspects of community, innovation and prosperous career opportunities when considering a company as a potential employer, according to NRF. One-quarter (25.3%) of 18-24 year olds say companies whose mission and values match their own is important to them when considering a future employer, and about 1 in 5 (18.2%) says that having a reputation for giving back to the community is important. Continued on page 5
The official publication of the Michigan Retailers Association
Buy Nearby teams with Pure Michigan The Buy Nearby campaign launched this spring by Michigan Retailers Association is partnering with Pure Michigan to help shoppers across the state find the goods and services they’re seeking. MRA is working with the state’s Pure Michigan Business Connect program to put together a searchable
database that will enable shoppers to identify retailers offering the merchandise and services they want to find. The online database is expected to be completed by mid-summer and become the first retail search engine of
Birmingham’s active PSD attracts shoppers, stores
its kind in Michigan or any other state. “We’re encouraging consumers to buy nearby at Michigan retailers, so it only makes sense for us to help shoppers find the stores that offer what they’re looking for,” said MRA’s James P. Hallan, president and CEO. “It’s an exciting project.” Pure Michigan The new retail database will be an offshoot of the existing Pure Michigan Business Connect search engine that enables Michigan companies to find other Michigan companies to serve as suppliers and customers, according to Vince Nystrom, Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) vice president strategic accounts. The Pure Michigan Business Connect program is part of the MEDC, the state’s primary economic development agency. Nystrom oversees the program. “The purpose is to connect Michigan companies with opportunities to help them grow and expand,” Nystrom said. “Although it is a business-to-business site, by partnering Continued on page 6
Rachael A-Woods, Birmingham PSD board member and owner of ArtLoft, shows new merchandise to John Heiney, executive director of the Birmingham PSD.
by Doug Henze It’s no secret that running a retail business can be all-consuming. Ordering inventory, getting employees on track, taking care of customers and attending to the hundreds of other things that pop up in a day leave little time for promoting the company. But without it, how will the business thrive? For Birmingham retailers, the solution has been the efforts of the
Birmingham Principal Shopping District leadership. Roughly similar to a Downtown Development Authority, but focused only on the downtown and adjacent business districts, the PSD aims to steer foot traffic to member merchants using events and promotions. “When you’re running a business, you don’t always have time to think of all the things that can make you successful,” said Rachael A-Woods, a Birmingham PSD board member and owner of ArtLoft, a 16-year-old boutique that sells clothing, jewelry and other items. “The PSD is just a wonderful way to support the businesses and create traffic.” Continued on page 5
Benefits boosted for dental plans Coverage has been increased for two benefits in Retailers Mutual’s dental insurance plans, which are administered by Delta Dental of Michigan. Effective July 1, sealants will be a covered benefit under both plans. In addition, the lifetime maximum for Orthodontics coverage in Plan A has been increased to $1,500 from $1,250. Open enrollment in the dental, health and vision benefits plans is currently underway. The open enrollment period is the time to sign up for these membership services or add or delete members of a group. Members also can make any benefit changes. Members can contact MRA at 800.366.3699, ext. 681. for information or make changes.