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Positive Holiday Forecasts

Michigan retailers see improved sales for the holiday season, but their optimism is tempered by the uncertainty created in D.C. Page 3

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Help with Bad Checks

An innovative county prosecutor has come up with a highly cost-effective program for dealing with writers of bad checks. Page 9

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New Lottery Game

The Lottery introduces a new game that combines features of instant tickets and games with a nightly drawing. Page 11

® October 2013 Vol. 38 No. 5

January 1 marks start of new insurance era Editor’s note: On October 1, the federal online marketplace for purchasing health insurance opened for business. Millions of would-be users have been thwarted in their attempts to access the website because of high demand and “bugs.” Efforts are underway to address the issues as of this writing, and Americans are still expected to purchase health insurance or pay a tax penalty for non-compliance.   January 1, 2014, marks the beginning of a new era for health insurance in the United States. That’s when the final and most significant provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA for short) take effect. The federal health reform law is fundamentally changing the structure of health insurance in this country and will have an impact on you. Many people who already have health insurance are unaware that the ACA will affect them personally. All health insurance plans for businesses that employ less than 50 people have been modified to meet ACA requirements. Today’s individual and group plans won’t look exactly the same next year. These are four major ACA-related changes coming to health insurance that take effect with the start of the new year: 1. The individual mandate to have health insurance For 2014, the tax penalty for not having insurance is the greater of $95 per adult and $47.50 per child up to $285 for a family, or 1 percent of household income. By 2016, the tax goes up to the greater of $695 per adult and $347.50 per child or 2.5 percent of household income. Gaps in coverage of three months or less are exempt from penalty. Continued on page 5

The official publication of the Michigan Retailers Association

SM

www.retailers.com

Encouraging start for Buy Nearby day Buy Nearby’s first annual celebration has gone into the books as a qualified success and an encouraging start for the new campaign.

The first Saturday in October, branded as Get Caught Blue-Handed Day to encourage shoppers to buy nearby at Michigan retail businesses,

Two youngsters celebrate Buy Nearby Get Caught Blue-Handed Day in Downtown Rockford. Photo by David Trumpie

Company embraces roots, honors long-time workers by Doug Henze

In a bygone era, when working for the same employer for decades was more rule than exception, companies were like families. Global competition, greater reliance on technology, downsizing and a more transient workforce have largely eroded the familial feeling – and with it much of the sense of company history. Step inside the Lansing home of Marshall Music, however, and you’ll experience a blast from the past.

In August the company honored its first set of pioneers -- now known as the “Legends of Marshall Music” -- by unveiling a series of portraits drawn by artist and employee Elyse Gray. At the same time, the company paid tribute to its longest-serving employees: 11 Lansing store workers who have served the company for at least a quarter of a century.

generated fun and increased sales for many participating retailers. Not all retailers and shoppers were aware of the new campaign, however. “For the first year of such an ambitious, statewide campaign to modify consumers’ buying habits, things went very well,” said James P. Hallan, MRA president and CEO. “Buy Nearby more than met our expectations and demonstrated strong potential for the future. We still have a long way to go, but we’re pleased at this year’s results and we’re committed to growing the campaign next year and for years to come.” Survey Results MRA launched Buy Nearby this past April as a year-round campaign to increase traffic and sales at Michigan retail businesses. The campaign is “celebrated” one day a year – the first Saturday in October – to focus media and shoppers’ attention on it. The campaign is both fun and educational. It’s intended to remind shoppers of the fun of shopping at Michigan retail businesses and to drive home the economic importance of supporting Michigan communities and businesses. Among respondents to MRA’s follow-up survey, 28 percent said their Continued on page 6

Main St. Fairness clears committee

Roots “As a company gets older, sometimes you lose track of your roots,” said President and CEO Dan Marshall, explaining why the lunchtime ceremony was so important. “All my legends are gone. And the fact is, I’m bringing people in who have no idea what these people did. I’m going to make sure, in every store,

Main Street Fairness legislation cleared an important hurdle in the Michigan Legislature on September 11 when it was reported out of committee and sent to the floor of the House. After months of discussion and several holdups due to partisan politics, nine members of the House Tax Policy Committee voted for the bipartisan issue that’s critical to the health of Michigan retailers. Committee Chairman Jeff Farrington (R-Utica) allowed the committee to vote on the issue even though he did not personally support the bills. House Bills 4202 and 4203 help level

Continued on page 4

Continued on page 11


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Michigan Retailer

Thanks to everyone for Buy Nearby success by James P. Hallan, MRA President and Chief Executive Officer Thanks to all of you for making our first-ever Buy Nearby event a booming home run. As shown in some of photos in this issue, shoppers and retailers had a lot of fun getting “Caught Blue-Handed” and supporting Michigan businesses. Governor Snyder proclaimed October 5 as Buy Nearby Get Caught Blue-Handed Day and the Michigan Senate and Michigan House passed similar resolutions. Clearly, we are on to something here! Everybody who was tuned into it seemed to love the idea. Facebook “likes” exceeded our Members of the Michigan House Tourism Committee don blue gloves during MRA’s October 3 expectations for a brand new presentation on the Buy Nearby campaign. Photo by David Trumpie event, and retailers who got inbuilding a new brand, reaching out to resolutions, conducting interviews, volved said it was an excellent communities, lining up media buys, selling the concept to sponsors, desales day. purchasing billboard space, developveloping starter kits for retailers – it In retrospect, this was a wonderful ing a website, issuing press releases, all was great fun and an exhilarating challenge for Michigan Retailers. Takseeking legislative and executive project. ing a big idea and making it real by Even the Michigan House Tourism Committee requested that we formally present our Buy Nearby project to them, and panel members loved the campaign. Drumm takes on additional responsiMRA has promoted three emSo I want to “tip my hat” to all of bility for day-to-day policy advocacy ployees and Retailers Mutual you who got involved. Special thanks and monitoring and analysis of legInsurance Company has hired a go to Barb Stein, of Great Northern islation. She joined MRA in 2012 as staff accountant. Trading Company in Rockford, who chaired our inaugural Buy Nearby Committee, and to our entire communications team led by Tom Scott, senior vice president communications and marketing. And more thanks go to our key sponsors who jumped right in and believed in our Pure Michigan-type idea: DTE Energy, MSHDA, AAA Michigan, Hallan Tuggle Drumm Baynai Retailers Mutual Insurance Company, and the MEDC and its Pure Michigan legislative coordinator after serving William J. Hallan was named senior efforts. as legislative director for State Rep. vice president operations and general Selling Michigan and encouraging Sharon Tyler. counsel. Tom Tuggle became senior people to Buy Nearby reflects the Tuggle was vice president of vice president insurance sales and heart and soul of this Association. It’s sales for MRA and agent relations membership. Amy Drumm is now a message that resonates throughout for Retailers Mutual. His promotion manager of government affairs. the state and one that Michigan Recontinues to reflect his dual role as The new staff accountant for Retailers can build on in future years. head of sales for MRA and Retailers tailers Mutual is Mark Baynai. He In the meantime, my blue gloves Mutual. He joined MRA in 1993 as a succeeds Tina Kaur, who moved out are hanging in my office waiting for marketing representative. of state. my next nearby shopping excurBaynai comes to Retailers Mutual Hallan was promoted from vice sion. No doubt they will be used after his graduation from Michigan president of government affairs and often in the coming months. Buy State University, with degrees in acgeneral counsel. His expanded role Nearby is a year-round message counting and criminal justice. includes greater responsibility for and commitment. A lifelong Michigan resident origiMRA’s internal operations. An atAnd mark your calendars for nally from Trenton, he previously torney previously with the Dykema October 4, 2014, for the second “celheld jobs in the Michigan Department law firm’s Bloomfield Hills office, he ebration” of Buy Nearby. Together we of Human Services and as a tax prejoined MRA as vice president and will make the first Saturday of every parer and assistant manager for H&R general counsel in 2011. October a blue-letter day. Block. As manager of government affairs,

Three promoted, accountant hired

www.retailers.com

Board of Directors: Thomas Ungrodt Chair Ideation, Ann Arbor

James P. Hallan

President and CEO Michigan Retailers Association

Dan Marshall

Vice Chair Marshall Music Company, Lansing

Peter R. Sobelton Treasurer Birmingham

Jean Sarasin

Secretary Michigan Retailers Association

Barb Stein

Past Chair Great Northern Trading Co., Rockford

Brian Ducharme AT&T

Becky Beauchine Kulka

Becky Beauchine Kulka Diamonds and Fine Jewelry, Okemos

Orin Mazzoni, Jr.

Orin Jewelers, Garden City

Joseph McCurry

Credit Card Group

Larry Mullins

Brandon Tire & Battery, Ortonville

R.D. (Dan) Musser III

Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island

Joe Swanson Target Corp.

James Walsh

Meijer, Inc., Grand Rapids

D. Larry Sherman

Board Member Emeritus

Michigan Retailers Services, Inc. Board of Directors: Bo Brines Little Forks Outfitters, Midland

Bill Golden

Golden Shoes, Traverse City

Lisa McCalpine-Wittenmyer Walgreens

James P. Hallan Thomas B. Scott Publisher

Editor

Pat Kerwin

Design Manager

Publication Office: 603 South Washington Avenue Lansing, MI 48933 517.372.5656 or 800.366.3699 Fax: 517.372.1303 www.retailers.com www.retailersmutual.com

Subscriptions:

Michigan Retailer (USPS 345-780, ISSN 0889-0439) is published in February, April, June, August, October and December for $20 per year by Michigan Retailers Association, 603 South Washington Ave., Lansing, MI 48933. Subscription fees are automatically included in the Michigan Retailers Asociation membership dues. 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.


October 2013

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MICHIGAN RETAIL INDEX

Washington turmoil restrains holiday forecasts cent recorded declines and 20 percent saw no change. The results create a seasonally adjusted performance index of 52.8, the same as in August. A year ago September it was 54.0. The Index gauges the performance of the state’s overall retail industry, based on monthly surveys conducted by MRA and the Federal Reserve. Index values above 50 generally indicate positive activity; the higher the

Current

number, the stronger the activity. Looking forward, 55 percent of retailers expect sales during October–December to increase over the same period last year, while 13 percent project a decrease and 32 percent no change. That puts the seasonally adjusted outlook index at 76.3, up from 70.3 in August. A year ago September it stood at 76.8. The government shutdown delayed

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the release of national figures. State sales tax receipts totaled $657.7 million, 16.7 percent above the level in September 2012. Complete results of this month’s Michigan Retail Index—including data on sales, inventory, prices, promotions and hiring—are available at www. retailers.com/mra/news/michiganretail-index.html. The website includes figures dating back to July 1994.

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Michigan retailers’ forecasts for holiday sales show cautious optimism, averaging a 1.3 percent gain over last year, according to the Michigan Retail Index, a joint project of Michigan Retailers Association (MRA) and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Fifty-three percent expect to increase sales, 30 percent predict flat sales and 17 percent project sales will decline. “Most retailers forecast better sales for the holidays, but their optimism is tempered by the great amount of economic uncertainty out there, largely because of the mess in Washington,” said James P. Hallan, MRA president and CEO. “We were in the field with our survey during the federal government shutdown, the showdown over the debt ceiling and the flawed rollout of the government’s health reform website. All that uncertainty doesn’t sit well with consumers or businesses.” Pre-shutdown projections by the National Retail Federation and International Council of Shopping Centers put U.S. holiday gains at 3.9 and 3 percent, respectively. Meanwhile, the September Michigan Retail Index found that 40 percent of retailers increased sales over the same month last year, while 40 per-

Seasonally adjusted diffusion index, calculated by adding the percent of respondents indicating increased sales and half the percent indicating no change, and then seasonally adjusting the result using the U.S. Census Bureau’s X-11 Seasonal Adjustment procedure. Index values above 50 generally indicate an increase in activity, while values below 50 indicate a decrease.

200 (millions)

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Be sure to complete your online survey each month!


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Michigan Retailer

www.retailers.com

Company embraces roots, honors long-time workers Continued from page 1

there’s a portrait of every legend.” The company’s legends eventually will encompass the enterprise’s entire history, according to Marshall, who also serves on the boards of directors of MRA and Retailers Mutual Insurance Co.

Lansing in 1948. The subjects of the first portrait Dan unveiled at the ceremony, the two World War II veterans knew nothing about the music business when they decided to open their store.

Dan Marshall unveils one of the “Legends of Marshall Music.” Photos by David Trumpie.

Marshall Music has satellite locations in Allen Park, Troy, Kalamazoo, Traverse City, Grand Rapids and West Bloomfield, with total employment reaching 300. But it all began with the dream of Willis and Mary Marshall, the now-deceased parents of Dan, when they founded the company in

The Legends: founders Mary and Willis Marshall; Thomas Pantalone, former director of school service; and Bruce Woodhull, former general manager. All are deceased.

Buick about life. Somehow, without ever saying the words, he convinced me to take this into a second generation. I thought, ‘That sly dog.’” Woodhull, the third Marshall “legend” honored, always seemed to know how to solve a problem. “He was legendary for knowing what to do and what was right,” Marshall said. “Ninety-nine percent of the time, he was right.” The final Marshall Music legend remembered was Thomas Pantalone, the former director of school service for the company. The personable Pantalone was the driving force behind several store openings. “He had the greatest impact in the shortest time,” Marshall said. “We only had the pleasure of having him in our employ from 2003 to his death in 2011.”

service, Jeff Grove, a 32-year employee, and Tom Seyffert, who has worked for Marshall Music for 31 years. Other honorees were Kris Wood, 28 years; Chuck DeClarke, 26 years; Frank Jackson, Michael Fox and Marcia Geller, all with 25 years of service. Employees also recognized Marshall for his 29 years as president. Satisfaction Honoree Paquet has spent his career repairing electronic organs and keyboards. His travels take him throughout Michigan, fixing in-

The awards ceremonies took place during lunch for Lansing

store employees and family members. Service Marshall Music workers, passing a microphone struments for customers, including among themselves at the August schools and churches. event, remembered Mr. Pantalone as “I enjoy what I do and I get the an upbeat spirit with great gusto for satisfaction of completing a job and life. making the customer happy,” Paquet “With some people, the glass is half said, explaining his longevity. “I’m empty and with some it’s half full,” just thankful I can still do it. I hope I can still do it for a number of years. They attract good people here and we all get along.” Simpson, who worked for Marshall Music even prior to his 37-year stretch -- leaving in 1970 to play clarinet on a riverboat before returning to the company -- said the integrity of the business has kept him there. Still a parttime, working musician at Emotional 71, Simpson is a machinist “Marshall Music was for Marshall Music. everything to my dad,” People ask him when said Dan, visibly emo- Also honored were 11 Lansing store workers who have served the he’ll retire, Simpson said. company for at least 25 years. tional in front of the “I say, ‘And do what?’ I group of about 50 emlike what I do and who I do ployees. said one worker. “With Tom, his glass it with. I can’t think of another place The end of the Mary and Willis was always overflowing.” I’d rather be. I think everybody here Marshall era nearly meant the close To recognize employees for their is grateful to work for this company.” of Marshall Music. That was until roles in building the company, Employee Mike Daniels summed up then-general manager Bruce WoodMarshall handed out certificates proMarshall Music this way: hull -- simply “Woody” to all who viding a financial award for each year “It’s a family,” he said. “It’s always knew him -- talked 30-year-old Dan of service. been a family. We argue like brothinto taking the torch from his retirTaking in the biggest rewards were ers and sisters and we get along like ing parents. Ray Paquet, a 42-year employee, and brothers and sisters.” “Woody had the greatest impact of John Simpson, who has worked for anybody on Marshall Music,” MarMarshall Music for 37 years. Doug Henze is a freelance writer and shall said, recalling Woodhull’s sales Also honored were Ann Meyer and former business reporter for the Oakpitch. “We went out and talked in his Bill Clements, both with 33 years of land Press in Pontiac.

They learned as they went along, their son said, tapping into the knowledge of the manufacturers’ reps who called on them. “My mother and father were the inspiration of Marshall Music,” Dan said. “They treated the company like it was a living, breathing thing. It deserved everything it could be given. They just wanted Marshall Music to be better.” The couple ran their labor of love alone for eight years before hiring their first employee. While Mary eventually backed away to pursue personal interests, Willis “lived and breathed” the business until he was 92.


October 2013

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Start of new insurance era Continued from page 1

2. The online insurance marketplace, which was scheduled to open Oct. 1, becomes the primary pur chasing mechanism for consumers who are eligible for premium subsidies for coverage that is effective in 2014. Michigan has a federally facilitated exchange/marketplace. Marketplace plans available from various carriers will be described by the bronze (60 percent), silver (70 percent), gold (80 percent) and platinum (90 percent) metal-tier labels to make them easier to compare. The lowest level of coverage is a 60 percent plan, which pays, on average, 60 percent of the cost of essential health benefits, leaving the insured to pay 40 percent. Open enrollment on the marketplace began Oct. 1 and continues until March 31, 2014. Coverage is effective Jan. 1 for plans selected by Dec. 15. Member Insurance Solutions is able to assist MRA members on the marketplace. There will be more plans available than those on the marketplace. For example, Blue Care Network and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan offer only two marketplace individual plans, but they offer 16 plans that are available from agents off the marketplace. A person who is not eligible for a subsidy and wishes to buy health insurance will have little reason to use the online marketplace, due to the restricted plan offerings there. 3. Premium subsidies will be available to individuals earning up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level (about $45,000) and who do not receive access to health insurance from their employer or who must pay more than 9.5 percent of their income for single-person coverage for employerprovided plans. Being eligible for a subsidy does not mean that the premium will be paid in full by the government. There is a sliding scale for subsidies based upon income and family size. Subsidies will be paid monthly by the federal government to the insurer to lower the monthly premium the individual must remit. The payments are reconciled on the taxpayer’s tax return. Insurance carriers will provide documentation that insureds must include with their federal income tax return to demonstrate they have health insurance. In order to take advantage of an available subsidy, a marketplace plan must be purchased. Member Insurance Solutions agents can help with subsidy determination and marketplace plan

selection and enrollment. Call us at 877.878.6765 for assistance. 4. Medicaid is being expanded to include those up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level, effective April 1 in Michigan. In addition, the following ACA-related health insurance provisions take effect next year: • All health insurance coverage is guaranteed issue, meaning you cannot be denied coverage due to health conditions. • All coverage is guaranteed renewable, so you cannot be canceled from your selected health insurance plan, except for non-payment of premium. • All annual limits on 10 essential health benefits are abolished. • Pre-existing condition coverage exclusions are eliminated. Health care services for current and/or chronic conditions are eligible for benefit payment when your policy is effective. • Waiting periods of greater than 90 days are prohibited. If you offer insurance to your employees, you cannot require them to wait more than 90 days to participate in your plan. Employer mandate In July, the so-called “Play or Pay” employer mandate for those employing more than 50 full-time equivalent workers was delayed until 2015 to allow parties the necessary time to develop reporting mechanisms to track compliance with the mandate. However, employers still must provide employees with a notice that the online insurance marketplace is available, regardless of whether health insurance is offered as a benefit. Model notices are available on the home page of the Member Insurance Solutions website, at www. memberinsurancesolutions.com. And, expect to distribute new summaries of benefits and coverage documents in 2014, since carriers are rolling out new plans to comply with the metal-tier structure. This article was written by Craig Start, president of Member Insurance Solutions, located in Okemos. MRA endorses Member Insurance Solutions for Blue Cross health insurance. Craig Start It costs nothing extra to work with a Member Insurance Solutions agent to purchase a health insurance plan, and MRA members and their employees are encouraged to call 877.868.6765 for personal assistance with plans off or on the online marketplace.

RETAIL TECHNOLOGY NEWS

Don’t let card data thieves tamper with your terminal John Mayleben CPP, is MRA senior vice president technology and new product development and a national expert on electronic payment processing. He is the first person in Michigan and among the first in the nation to receive the Certified Payments Professional designation from the national Electronic Transactions Association. One more way bad guys are gaining access to consumer credit card data is by actually going out and tampering with a store’s m e rc h a n t p ro cessing terminal, that “gray” box sitting on the counter next to your cash register.

those machines. 4. Make sure you are aware of the “normal” number of cables going in and out of the terminal and that you periodically review the device to make sure there are no “new” cables connected to the device. 5. Do you have a CCTV system? Is there a camera on the register area? Can that camera see the terminal? 6. If you have a camera on that area, are you controlling access to the re-

“You should take basic precautions to protect and limit access to your terminal” You, as the merchant, should be taking basic precautions to protect and limit access to your terminal. Most merchants already have systems in place to limit access to the area behind the counter and would probably notice a non-employee behind that counter. But your staff also should be trained to control access for people who might pretend to be a vendor or service tech. If someone approaches an employee requesting access to the credit card terminal or is “delivering” a replacement terminal, the employee should make sure the visit was expected and the stranger can prove he is who he says he is. I am surprised, as I visit stores throughout the country, by the number of times I am allowed behind the counter and given access to the credit card terminals after providing nothing more than a “good” story about what I am there to do. Watch Out Staff should also be trained to watch for the following anomalies: 1. Does the terminal look different? Are there missing screws or broken seals? Are there new “labels” on the device that might be masking a broken seal or damage to the cover of the device? 2. Has the terminal been moved? You may want to consider attaching the terminal to the countertop or wall to prevent a sleight-of-hand swapping of your terminal with a similar machine or to make it more difficult for someone to outright steal the terminal. 3. If you have spare terminals, make sure they are securely stored and you have controlled access to

cording device? Could someone use that CCTV camera to scoop up card numbers from the video screen? Don’t discount the creativity of thieves trying to steal your customers’ credit card data. Take precautions, and if you suspect your machine has been tampered with, call your merchant processing vendor immediately.


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Michigan Retailer

www.retailers.com

Encouraging start for Buy Nearby celebration Continued from page 1

store traffic was up from the first Saturday in October last year. As for sales, 27 percent said they were better than the first Saturday in October last year. Fifty-one percent said sales were as good as last year. Responses to the unscientific poll were submitted online and without names attached. Participation Mattered “It appears that the more active and involved the communities and retailers were in Buy Nearby, the better their sales,” said Hallan. “That is a great bottom-line message for us to carry forward as we continue to recruit sponsors to help us advertise what Buy Nearby is designed to accomplish. “And with increased advertising will come greater awareness and participation, which spells greater success.” Communities from Rockford in West Michigan to Huron County in Eastern Michigan actively participated in Blue-Handed Day. Retailers and shoppers donned blue gloves, posted photos of staff and customers on Facebook, and offered special activities and sales promotions. Survey Comments Comments from survey respondents covered the spectrum of experiences. A sampling: • “I loved it and everyone who knew about it that I talked to or told about it did too!” •“Many of the downtown retailers in our area were not aware of it.” • “I think it was a good first year. I will push for my city to be more involved next year.” • “I am grateful for this promotion because customers came into my business specifically for this promotion. Because it was warm on October 5, had I not participated in Buy Near-

by, I believe sales would have been lukewarm.” • “There needs to be more advertising on this. Most customers never even heard about this.” • “We have participated in [American Express] Small Business Saturday since its inception. That project started very slowly but has become very successful, primarily owing to the saturating marketing campaign put on by American Express. I think that if Buy Nearby is to be successful, it will require an enormous amount of marketing from retailers as well as MRA. I commend you for doing this, but caution you that I don’t believe it will work without appropriate marketing.”

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October 2013

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What’s ahead for Buy Nearby Saturday, October 4, 2014, is the next statewide celebration of Buy Nearby. But MRA will deliver the message of Buy Nearby throughout the year and urges communities and retailers to do the same. Here are some of the ways to spread the word: • Keep Buy Nearby window clings (available at www.retailers. com/buy-nearby) and posters (updated posters are now available at www.BuyNearbyMI.com/toolkit) displayed in stores year-round to remind customers and passersby. • Communities and retailers can make use of the campaign to fit their own promotions, any time of

Scenes from across the state on Get Caught Blue-Handed Day. Photos by David Trumpie

the year. • The Buy Nearby logo (available at a link off the toolkit page) can be used in retailers’ ads and communities’ marketing materials during the holidays and throughout the year as a reminder to shoppers of all the good they’re doing by buying nearby. • Be creative in drawing attention to Buy Nearby, and then share your success with MRA and on Facebook (facebook.com/ BuyNearbyMI).


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Michigan Retailer

www.retailers.com

Membership Services Corner Quick notes on key services. Call 800.366.3699 for details.

We appreciate your membership. Let us know whenever we can help you with a question or a problem, no matter how large or small. by Penny Sierakowski, MRA Customer Service Department Manager Cr edit Car d Processing • To protect our members’ accounts and information, we always ask for and require the business bank account number, Social Security number or tax identification number whenever we receive a request for secure data such as full credit card numbers or bank account information. • The IRS requires us to have valid business taxpayer W-9 information for all of our merchant processing accounts. Call customer service if you need to verify your business information or if you need a W-9 form. • To make sure your credit card transactions are processed at the lowest cost, always answer the following prompts on

keyed transactions: - Enter AVS (street number and zip code) of the billing address - Enter purchase order number - Enter sales tax amount if prompted - Obtain and pass through a valid authorization number - Make sure authorization and settlement amounts match (except for tip adjustment) - Settle within 24 hours. • Pin-based debit transactions cannot be voided. • Data security compliance is mandator y; therefore, you must complete an annual PCI Self-Assessment Questionnaire to verify if your business is PCI compliant. Visit http://www. compliance101.com to begin the questionnaire. • These terminals are no longer PCI Compliant: Zon Jr, Tranz, Omni and Hypercom T7P. Contact Customer Service for terminal upgrade information.  

RE: RETAILERS

Tourism means over $1 billion to Traverse City

The Traverse City area economy receives a more than $1 billion boost from tourism, an increase of nearly $300 million in the past six years, according to a new study. The report by East Lansing-based Anderson Economic Group found that tourism’s impact on the area jumped nearly 28 percent since 2006 and reached $1.2 billion in 2012. A c c o rd i n g t o t h e study: • In 2012 over 3.3 million visitor trips were made to the Traverse City area • These visitor trips resulted in $1.18 billion in direct spending to area businesses • Tourism is responsible for creating and maintaining nearly 12,000 jobs in the Traverse City area, representing nearly 30 percent of the area’s employment • Almost $67 million in sales tax revenue was generated from tourism for the State of Michigan. In keeping with those new figures, the Traverse City Convention and Visitors Bureau changed its name recently to Traverse City Tourism.

Brad Van Dommelen, president of the organization, told the Traverse City Record Eagle that the civic group wanted a name “that was simple, a name people would understand and, most importantly…a name [that] represents what you do. Traverse City Tourism clearly defines what we are involved in.” He added, “The changing of the name will help us become better understood in our own community. Our brand is Traverse City. It’s what we promote…”

...

One in four U.S. consumers now relies on a smartphone for assistance when shopping in brick-and-mortar stores, a development that can help traditional retailers combat Internet competitors, according to a new study by Parks Associates, an international marketing firm based in Dallas, Texas. “Consumers are using apps and smartphones to enhance their brickand-mortar shopping experience, with Target shoppers emerging as the most enthusiastic app users,” said Jennifer Kent, senior analyst for Parks. The firm advises all retailers to em-

brace mobile commerce apps – both their own and popular third-party apps – as a way to give consumers a differentiated shopping experience that can combat showrooming. Showrooming is a phenomenon where consumers visit a retail store to compare products and prices but ultimately purchase items later online, reducing expensive brick-and-mortar locations to mere “showrooms” for products. “There’s no such thing as a pure ‘instore’ shopper anymore,” Kent said. “Consumers are checking online information about products before, after and while they shop in stores. Retailers that embrace this trend will be in a good position to drive more sales within their stores.”

...

Art Van Furniture, Warren, plans to open a total of 18 Chicago-area furniture stores under the Art Van name and 15 smaller PureSleep mattress stores as it moves aggressively into Illinois’ largest metro area, reports Crain’s Detroit Business. The publication said Art Van is part of a “wave” of out-of-state retailers moving into the Chicago area to take advantage of opportunities caused by several “storied Chicago chains” going out

of business during the past decade. Art Van Elslander, now 82, continues to serve as chairman of the 77-store furniture chain he founded in Detroit in 1959. He predicts that success in Chicago can propel the company to $1 billion in annual revenue within two to three years.

...

As many as 30,000 people visited downtown Grand Rapids’ new indoor market on September 2 for the grand opening, according to MLive.com. The special event at Indoor Market Hall followed the indoor facility’s soft opening on August 26 and its outdoor seasonal market’s debut back in May. The market, which offers everything from fresh meat and fish to ice cream and organic foods and products, is open seven days a week.

...

Gordmans, a Nebraska-based national retailer of clothes and home decor products, received approval from the City of Wyoming in West Michigan to open a 50,000-square-foot store. The store, its first in Michigan, is planned for a location near RiverTown Crossings mall, next to an existing Home Depot.


October 2013

9

IT’S THE LAW

Creative prosecutor helps victims of bad checks by William J. Hallan, MRA Senior Vice President Operations and General Counsel The paper check. I saw one once. I remember it vividly. The year was 2005 and I was in line at a local retail store (for what seemed like an inordinate amount of time). The customer in front of me scrawled something down in a little booklet and tore out a page to pay for the goods. I had to ask about this primitive form of currency. What was it? How did it work? The cashier informed me it was a check. I’ve heard they still exist today. You’re not likely to encounter one, as it was put on the endangered species list years ago. However, if you come across one, you’ll know it, because the checkout time increases three-fold. Crusade A check is technically an order to your bank to pay someone else.

While much of this article has started as a joke (I actually still use them to pay certain bills), checks are declining in use. Credit cards, mobile payments and automatic billing have pushed checks to the brink of extinction. Although retailers may be less likely to encounter bad checks, one Eaton County prosecutor is on a crusade to protect businesses from their effect. Douglas R. Floyd, the prosecutor, started the Economic Crimes Unit (ECU) in 2002, which has helped return over $5 million to local businesses. Each day, retailers lose money and time due to bad checks. Before there was the ECU, retailers had two poor options: sue the consumer (cumbersome and expensive) or report it to police (who were often interested in other matters). Today, the ECU helps resolve bad checks by offering a diversion program. Through this program, writers of bad checks are offered an opportunity to resolve the issue and avoid prosecution. Essentially, the writer must make the merchant whole and pay a fee to

the ECU. It should also be noted that participation in the program is free to retailers.

nesses, and his program is starting to spread to Clinton and Ingham counties.

No Tax Dollars By treating the ECU as a business, the program has been able to operate without accepting public financial

Protect Yourself While you wait for an innovative program like the ECU to spread to a community near you, there are several actions you can take to protect yourself from the increasingly elusive bad check.

“One county prosecutor is thinking outside the box to help local businesses.” support. The diversions fees cover its expenses and allow a government entity to operate without taxpayer funds. Such flexibility has allowed the ECU to resolve other economic crimes, such as retail fraud and situations involving unreturned rental property. The bad news for retailers is that the ECU only handles checks that are passed in Eaton County. The good news for retailers is that one county prosecutor is thinking outside of the box to help local busi-

1. Understand that retailers are not required to accept a check from any customer. 2. Study the entire check. 3. Be suspicious of checks that have a low check number, handwritten check number or printed name. 4. Ask for picture identification such as a driver’s license and compare it to the name on the check. Write down the driver’s license number on the check. 5. Make sure the check is dated the same day it is presented. 6. Look to see if the check has a perforated edge that has been taken out of a checkbook. Fake checks often lack the perforated edge.


10

Michigan Retailer

www.retailers.com

NEW MEMBERS The Write Touch, Ann Arbor Senior Citizens Housing of Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor Cliff Keen Athletic, Ann Arbor Atkinson Trucking, Auburn Hills C & G Delivery, Auburn Hills JoJo Express, Auburn Hills Brett Meldrum Trucking, Auburn Hills Sieradzki Trucking, Auburn Hills Toriella Trucking, Auburn Hills Whitetail Trucking, Auburn Hills Jesses Delivery Service, Auburn Hills Thumb Industries Inc., Bad Axe Team Management Concepts PLC, Battle Creek Mini Market, Belding Dutton Marathon, Caledonia John Pizzimenti, Dearborn S & L Transportation, Detroit United Christian Church of Detroit, Detroit Paradise Fish & Chicken Market, Detroit Taste of China Inc., Farmington Landmark Food Center, Flint The Creative Fringe LLC, Grand Haven BC Pizza of Hart Inc., Hart Jonny G’s LLC, Holland All Metal Designs Inc., Holland Kalamazoo Country Club, Kalamazoo Samantha Combs LMT, Lansing Crossroads Church & Ministries, Marshall

Good Marks for Schools LLC, Marshall City of Newaygo dba The Stream, Newaygo Voss Insurance Services Inc., Okemos Harbor/ Brenn Insurance Agencies, Petoskey Bickersteth Brown & Associates, Petoskey The Calico Rabbit Craft & Antique Mall, Plainwell Dancing Dogs Quilt Shop, Plainwell St John’s UCC, Port Huron Wool E Bullys, Rives Junction JT Stitchery, Rockford Sassy Pants Boutique, Rockford Elite Plumbing & Heating Inc., Royal Oak Solar Kit Direct, Saint Clair Mike’s Power Equipment, Saint Johns Scarlet Macaw Community Art Center, Sawyer Nature’s Country Cupboard, South Haven Panache The Spalon, Sturgis Image Wear, Sturgis Grand Traverse Area Catholic Schools, Traverse City Integrity Business Solutions, Traverse City Central Woodward Christian Church, Troy Dairy Mart, Ypsilanti


October 2013

11

LOTTERY

Lottery’s new Poker Lotto combines instant and drawing by M. Scott Bowen, Commissioner

The Michigan Lottery is proud to introduce its newest game: “Poker Lotto.” Poker Lotto offers players two great games in every hand: a chance to win instantly right in the store and a nightly lotto drawing. When a player purchases a Poker Lotto wager, five cards are dealt at random on the ticket and shown on the Lottery terminal display. Get a winning poker hand and win up to $5,000 instantly. There are no poker skills necessary, because the ticket and the display indicate whether the Poker Lotto ticket is an instant winner or not. In addition, the same ticket is also valid for the nightly Poker Lotto drawing. Five cards are drawn at random

every night, and if those cards match the cards on the Poker Lotto ticket, the player wins up to $100,000! There are 13 ways to win on every Poker Lotto ticket. Poker Lotto sales started October 19, and each ticket costs $2. Holiday Instants Lotter y also will be introducing four new holiday-themed instant tickets anticipated to be very popular with players. These tickets h a v e price points ranging from $1to-$10. The $1 Ticket, “Oh Deer,” features over $9 million in prizes. The $10 ticket,

Offer Gift Cards, Increase Sales.

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“$500,000 Riches”™, features over $15 million in total cash prizes – with top prizes of $500,000. Big game hunters are sure to embrace the bucks. Retailers are reminded to always activate Instant ticket books before selling, to ensure the validation of tickets. Offices closed The Michigan Lottery headquarters and regional offices will be closed on three important dates in November: • November 11 – Closed for Veteran’s Day

Main St. Fairness clears committee

the retail playing field by requiring certain out-of-state, online retailers to collect Michigan’s sales tax on purchases by Michigan residents. “We applaud the lawmakers who stepped up and championed this legislation to help Michigan businesses,” said William J. Hallan, MRA senior vice president operations and general counsel. “Our state cannot afford to give a 6 percent price advantage to businesses that sell to Michigan residents but don’t invest, don’t pay taxes and don’t provide any jobs in Michigan.” The legislation is now in position for a vote by the full chamber. The

• Christensen’s Furniture • Classic Interiors • DeKorne’s: Authorized Ethan Allen Retailer • Dopp Furniture • Great Lakes Interiors • Gorman’s • House of Denmark • Israels • Klingman’s • Newton Furniture • Schwark Furniture • Thomasville Home Furnishings • Tyner Furniture • Walker Buzenburg Fine Furniture Just a sample of the hundreds of fine retailers that we have had the privilege of serving since 1914. Sign up for a Lynch Sale today!

Sales Company

Michigan Retailers: For personal attention please Call Jim Schwark Former MRA Board Member at (586) 413-0215 or visit our website for an outline of our copyrighted Sale Plans and our One-Page Contract.

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161 Ottawa Avenue N.W., Suite 300-F Grand Rapids, MI 49503 Tel: (800) 824-2238 www.lynchsales.com Copyright 2013 Lynch Brothers Licensing Corporation

Over 97 cents of every dollar spent on Lottery tickets is returned to the state in the form of contributions to the state School Aid Fund, prizes to players and commissions to retailers. In fiscal year 2012, the contribution to schools was a record $778.4 million. Since its inception in 1972, the Lottery has contributed over $17 billion to education in Michigan. For additional information, please visit the Lotter y’s website at www. michiganlottery.com.

Continued from page 1

For 99 years...Michigan's finest retailers have trusted The Lynch Sales Company.

LYNCH

• November 28 & 29 – Closed for Thanksgiving holiday.

UNCOMPROMISING I N T E G R I T Y. UN PA R A L L E L E D R E S U LT S .

Senate has yet to take it up. Hallan urged MRA members to thank the following “champions” for their leadership on the committee vote: Committee Chairman Farrington, 517.373.7768, JeffFarrington@house.mi.gov Rep. Margaret O’Brien (R-Portage), 517.373.1774, MargaretOBrien@house.mi.gov Rep. Kevin Cotter (R-Mt. Pleasant) 517.373.1789, KevinCotter@house.mi.gov Rep. Frank Foster (R-Pellston), 517.373.2629, FrankFoster@house.mi.gov Rep. Lisa Posthumus Lyons (R-Alto), 517.373.0846, LisaLyons@house.mi.gov Rep. Amanda Price (R-Holland), 517.373.0838, AmandaPrice@house.mi.gov Rep. Tim Kelly (R-Saginaw Township) 517.373.0837, TimKelly@house.mi.gov Rep. Harold Haugh (D-Roseville), 517.373.0854, HaroldHaugh@house.mi.gov Rep. Bill LaVoy (D-Monroe), 517.373.1530, BillLaVoy@house.mi.gov Rep. Jim Townsend (D-Royal Oak), 517.373.3818, JimTownsend@house.mi.gov


• Terminal-based Lottery game where Lotto numbers are replaced with playing cards, and there are 13 ways to win on every ticket. • Tickets are $2 Easy Picks—no playslips! Five cards are randomly chosen from a standard 52-card deck. The same cards are dealt on the Terminal Display for players to view. • Win up to $5,000 instantly at time of purchase if the cards dealt form a winning Poker hand. • Then five winning cards are drawn nightly, where players can match their ticket to the winning cards to win up to $100,000. • Overall odds of winning: 1 in 4.

AVAILABLE AT PARTICIPATING RETAILERS ONLY. Odds of winning an Instant prize: $2: 1 in 8; $3: 1 in 22; $5: 1 in 48; $20: 1 in 255; $50: 1 in 509; $75: 1 in 695; $150: 1 in 4,165; $500: 1 in 72,194; $5,000: 1 in 649,740. Odds of winning a Drawing prize: $3: 1 in 17; $25: 1 in 241; $500: 1 in 11,060; $100,000: 1 in 2,598,960. Overall odds of winning: 1 in 4. If you bet more than you can afford to lose, you’ve got a problem. Call 1-800-270-7117 for confidential help.


Oct 13 Michigan Retailer