The VOICE of the Family Owned-Businesses Issue 60

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Issue 60

Executive Board Of Directors

Firas “Russ” Soro  Executive Chairman

Mark Kassab  Vice Chairman

Remon Mansour  Treasurer

Steve Mattia  Secretary

Samir Salem   Past Chairman  Basil Zetouna   Executive Member

Ghassan Namou  Executive Member

Molly Sylvester  Executive Member

Rony Georges  Executive Member

Saeed Somo  Executive Member

Sam Attisha  Executive Member

Wisam Moshe  Executive Member

Naseem Salem  Emeritus Director

Executive Advisory Members

Mike Anderson  Anheuser‐Busch

Karam Toma

Southern Wine & Spirits

Robert Wolf


Eric Frey  Reynolds  President  Marlon Oram Mansour

Director – Gov’t & Public Relations  Arkan Somo

General Counsel  David C. Jarvis

The Voice is the official publication of  Neighborhood Market Association.

To advertise, contact Miranda Gonzalez   at 619‐313‐4400 or


2 Chairman’s Message: A United Community  3 President’s Message: With Obstacles Come New Opportunities  4 2022 General Election Results  5 2022 Election Results: NMA Endorsed Candidates

6 CA Votes To Ban Flavored Tobacco State‐Wide

6 The NMA Joins Lawsuit To Fight CA Flavor Ban

7 Chula Vista Votes To Ban Flavored Tobacco

7  NMA Meets With IB Retailers And City Officials And Helps Delay Local Flavor Ban  8 Chaldean Census ‐ Make Your Voice Heard

8 Every Family Deserves A Future – 2022 Hope For Iraqi‐Christians Dinner  9 NMA’S Meets With San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria

10 2022 NMA Fall Charity Poker Tournament  12 NMA Attends The Lincoln Club Annual Dinner  12     NMA Attends The 2022 Lincoln‐Reagan Dinner  13 Sweet Snacks Grew 14% In 2021  13 Convenience Store Loyalty Members Spend 38% More Than Nonmembers  14 NMA Attends The NACS 2022 Trade Show  15 NACS’ “THRIVR” Helps Retailers Manage Visibility

15 NACS: Act Now To Fight Credit Card Swipe Fees  16
17 SD DA Summer Stephen Takes Lead On Helping Domestic Violence Victims  18 NMA 2022 Holiday Package Trade Show: Hosted By RNDC!  20 Meet The NMA’s New Membership Director: Crystal Alvarez  21 $22 An Hour For Fast‐Food Workers In California?  22 Retail Fraud, Theft Losses Continue To Rise  23 NMA Attends ABC’s 2022 Annual Industry Stakeholder Meeting  24 All CA Employers Must Offer Retirement Plan by 2025  24 El Cajon Resident Vote To Stop Sales Tax Increase  25 Legislative Updates  26 California Bans Sale Of Gas Cars By 2035  27 Retailer Membership Form  28 Supplier Membership Form
NMA Attends Knights Of Columbus’ Annual Chaldean American Festival
NMA Has A Taste Of East County


As the 2022 year ends, I would like to take a moment to acknowledge all the changes, accomplishments, and different trajectories this year has brought to us. We started this year off adjusting to our inperson dynamic, finally being able to be around our community, hug each other, and connect deeply with one another.

Thankfully, we were able to hold our events in-person, and I want to thank everyone that has shown their support for the NMA by attending events such as our Golf Tournament and, most recently, our Holiday Package Trade Show. It was wonderful to see all the retailers mingle and make connections with a variety of suppliers at our trade show. The NMA would not be the strong force it is today without the assistance and support of our community members.

As we move forward to 2023, I want to express the gratitude I have for being able to serve as the NMA’s Executive Chairman the past two years. I am ecstatic to pass the gavel on to the next chairman and see the NMA continue to flourish. The NMA’s continued success and strength is a sign of hope for a world that is often divided. I, along with the NMA, will continue to fight past adversities that may arise in 2023. I hope I have been able to give back to our united community that has given so much support to the NMA.

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Firas Soro Executive Chairman


The year 2022 has certainly brought obstacles to everyone. Whether it be personal obstacles, a new landscape for our businesses, new legislation that has created adversities for our members, or the postpandemic economic effects, this year has brought many challenges to our lives. As we reach closer to the end of this year, an election year, I anticipate more changes to our environment. It will not be easy.

Despite these struggles, the NMA has continued to advocate for the advancement of its members. In an election year where there often is much noise about what is wrong, we must continue to find the beacons of hope and positivity. After the recent election, we see a clear and significant divide in power. Many will see this divide as an obstacle. However, I like to see this as an opportunity to navigate issues together and grow. Adaptability, compassion, and perseverance become our strongest skills in these eras of opportunity.

We have had to come together in hopes of achieving success for all. It has led the NMA to shift our attention towards navigating our environment to ensure our members can once again flourish freely. We must recognize and acknowledge the efforts we have taken. The spirit of our NMA community continues to inspire our staff towards advocacy. Life will not always go in the direction we envision it to go, but if we continue to march one foot at a time, we will find ourselves on the path to better opportunities and a united community.

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Marlon Oram Mansour


There were 35 United States Senate seats up for election in 2022, with 14 seats held by Democrats and 21 seats held by Republicans heading into the election. Democrats retained control of the U.S. Senate, winning at least 50 seats in the chamber to Republicans' 49.

All 435 U.S. House seats were up for election. Republicans gained control of the chamber, Heading into the election, Democrats held a 220-212 majority in the U.S. House with three vacancies.

The Democrat’s strong control in California continued with the 2022 general elections. Both Governor Gavin Newsom and Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis were re-elected for their positions. Rob Bonta retains office as California Attorney General after being chosen to fill a vacancy by Governor Newsom last year and Alex Padilla made history as the first elected Latino representing California in the U.S. Senate.


Incumbent San Diego County Supervisor Chair Nathan Fletcher and, NMA endorsed candidate, Supervisor Jim Desmond won re-election by wide margins over their opponents.

Election results showed Fletcher leading Reopen San Diego founder Amy Reichert by nearly 30 percentage points and Desmond leading his race by about 20 points. The election results must be certified by Dec. 8.


Kelly Anne Martinez has won election to become the first female San Diego County sheriff. “As San Diego’s next Sheriff, I will do everything in my power to keep our community safe and protect everyone the Sheriff’s Department is entrusted to serve,” Martinez said in a statement provided by her campaign.

Martinez will serve for a six-year term, not the usual four. It’s a one-time extension for sheriff and district attorney offices up for election this year only to put those races in line with presidential election years in the future. SAN DIEGO DEMOCRATS WILL HAVE A 9‐0 CITY COUNCIL


For the first time, San Diego County will have an all-Democratic City Council. The Democratic Party has consistently held an 8-1 majority in San Diego, with Chris Cate representing the Republican Party. However, term limits for Cate’s reelection, and the loss of 2 Republican challengers has led the Democratic Party to this event. Cate’s seat was won by Democrat Kent Lee, increasing the Democrat majority to 9-0.

Lee will join eight other Democrats on the council when he’s sworn in Dec. 12. They will include three incumbents reelected Tuesday: Jennifer Campbell and Monica Montgomery Steppe, who easily defeated Republican rivals, and Vivian Moreno, who easily won reelection over a fellow Democrat. Democratic control has paved a way for more progressive policies to be made, however, concerns that the council will ignore the priorities of conservative voters have arisen. Nonetheless, this has created a historic moment for San Diego.

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Nathan Fletcher Gavin Newsom Jim Desmond
Congratulations to newly elected and re-elected candidates who stand with family-owned businesses!
Brian Jones for California State Senate District 40 Summer Stephan for San Diego County District Attorney Kelly Martinez for San Diego County Sheriff Paloma Aguirre for Imperial Beach Mayor Carolina Chavez for Chula Vista City Council District 1 Steve Vaus for Poway Mayor Jim Desmond for San Diego County Supervisor District 5 Jordan Marks for San Diego County Assessor/Recorder/County Vivian Moreno for San Diego City Council District 8

California voters voted yes on Prop 31, banning the sale of flavored tobacco products. This ban was originally delayed because of a citizen referendum to allow voters to weigh in on the law. It passed by an over 20-point margin.

Whatcannolongerbesoldin California?

Flavored electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) with flavored e-liquid

Flavored e-liquids, even if they contain tobacco-free nicotine or no nicotine at all

Flavored aromatherapy or essential oil pens

Menthol cigarettes

Flavored non-premium cigars, little cigars, and cigarillos

Flavored smokeless tobacco (like Grizzly, Snus) 

Flavored blunt wraps and loose-leaf, roll-yourown tobacco

Flavor enhancers, such as e-liquid flavor enhancers or flavored cigarette papers


The state law will go into effect no later than December 21, 2022, five days after the deadline for the Secretary of State to certify the election results.

Who can get cited and what happens?

Retailers and employees can be found guilty of an infraction and fined $250.


Yes, this ban exempts flavored looseleaf pipe tobacco, flavored premium cigars with a wholesale price of $12 or more, and flavored shisha (hookah tobacco) when sold by a licensed store that only allows people 21 or older on the premises. If a local law is stronger, it takes precedence.

We are getting into contact with county and state officials to get more information on implementation.

The NMA will continue to update retailers as we learn more information. Please contact the NMA office if you have any questions.


On Wednesday, November 9th, 2022, R.J. Reynolds sued on behalf of NMA Member and San Diego County-based vape manufacturer, Vapin' the 619, and the Neighborhood Market Association, alleging the ban is invalid and unenforceable because it attempts to supersede the U.S. Constitution. In addition, R.J. Reynolds' lawsuit claims that the state law is void because it attempts to regulate out-of-state businesses and what they can or cannot manufacture.

"California has no legitimate interest in enforcing its preempted and unconstitutional law," reads the lawsuit. "The Court should thus grant injunctive and declaratory relief preventing the Defendants and their agents from violating the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause and Commerce Clause."

The NMA has joined this lawsuit to fight the state ban through the legal process and continue to advocate for the many small businesses that will be devastated by this ban. We have submitted and filed a declaration detailing the tremendous negative impact this ban will have on our retailer members.

The NMA is committed to fighting this ban and helping support our members through all ways possible.

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Chula Vista recently voted to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products. This will simply push customers to neighboring cities or illicit markets to purchase their preferred products.

The NMA strongly opposed this ban, not only would our members suffer from this decision, but the local community as well.

This ban will halt the sale of hundreds of products, simply pushing customers to neighboring cities or illicit markets to purchase their preferred products.

This will lead to the closure of many retail shops, of which many undertook tremendous efforts to remain open during a global pandemic to serve their community.

Members of the NMA alongside other retailers asked the city council to hold off on the ban until at least the November election where the people would have a chance to vote on the matter.

City councilmembers unanimously voted to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products in the city of Chula Vista. Mayor Casillas Salas indicated her support for this ban.

The ban will take effect on January 1, 2023.

Banning the sale of flavored tobacco products would not only have an economic effect on small businesses but would also strip away the freedom from individuals who wish to lawfully buy and sell flavored tobacco products.


In June 2022, the NMA met with Imperial Beach retailers and city officials to discuss the flavored tobacco ban passed in 2020. This ban was set to be enforced in 2021, but City officials admitted to a poor roll out and confusion among retailers over the law.

Due to these circumstances, the city reached out to the NMA for assistance. Retailers were able to learn about tobacco regulations in Imperial Beach, ask questions and discuss any issues facing their small businesses.

Imperial Beach City Councilmember and Mayoral Candidate, Paloma Aguirre, attended the meeting and showed retailers strong support.

Imperial Beach City officials agreed to delay enforcement of the ban through the end of the 2022 so retailers could sell off their products.

The NMA appreciates the leadership of Imperial Beach for their approach, communication, and leadership.

We want to encourage other jurisdictions and public officials to take note of these efforts.

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In December of 2021, the County of San Diego Independent Redistricting Commission voted to approve the separation of Rancho San Diego from El Cajon and the rest of East County. This decision undercounts Chaldeans and weakens the voices of our community.

The Chaldean Census is organized and led by the Chaldean Coalition, a non-profit organization that

aims to protect and enrich the Chaldean community and their businesses.

Register in the first ever Chaldean Census to keep the strength in our community and ensure that we are being heard.

Having a number of Chaldeans in the San Diego area will help us keep communities of interest attached. Please tell your Chaldean friends and family members, and make sure they are counted as well.




Every family deserves a future! On October 14th, 2022, the Hope for Iraqi Christians held their 6th Annual Hope Fundraising Dinner. This event was a night full of fine food and drinks, with opportunities to socialize and learn about the most pressing events affecting Iraqi villages.

Participants had a chance to buy a table or be a sponsor to support these communities. Sponsors received recognition on brochures, website support pages, and the photobooth background. Additionally, there was an announcement at the end of the evening, recognizing the support of sponsors.

Hope for Iraqi Christians is a non-profit based in El Cajon that aims to provide humanitarian relief to Iraqi Christian refugees. Thousands of Iraqi Christian families lack adequate food, shelter, and other basic necessities.

100% of proceeds go directly to the families in Iraq most in need. Without the tremendous leadership and great mission of the organization, many would go homeless or hungry.

Through the help of businesses and other communities, Hope for Iraqi Christians can create a powerful and positive impact for Iraqi Christians who have been persecuted.

The NMA proudly supports organizations like Hope for Iraqi Christians as these communities continue to assemble and aid the most vulnerable communities. We encourage each of you to help support an Iraqi Christian family in need.

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The NMA met with Mayor Todd Gloria over the summer to discuss retailer concerns affecting members. As members have struggled with building and permitting issues, the conversation centered around creating solutions for Development Services such as building, permitting, and approvals, along with tackling homelessness issues.

The Development Services Department is in charge of review, permit, inspection and code enforcement services. They address construction, renovation, and changes in the use of a building. Additionally, they assist individuals in compliance with regulations, and desire to create a healthy and safe community. Connections with this department is critical to the safety and well-being of our members’ businesses.

The NMA also discussed homelessness as it has been an issue surrounding retailers. Many experiencing homelessness have been involved in crimes such as theft, which negatively affects retail businesses.

The NMA brought up discussions about the delays in these development services and what solutions can be implemented to reduce these obstacles from our members.

We are proud to advocate for our members, and we will continue to support services and legislation that benefits our members.

Mayor Todd Gloria

On September 13th, 2022, the NMA hosted its Charity Poker Tournament at Jamul Casino. Jamul Casino offered a perfect location with a stunning rooftop bar.

Players eagerly waited for a chance to win a beautiful brand-new Rolex (courtesy of Babylon Jewelry), for the grand prize.

Our members had a chance to unwind and have fun as they connected with other members, won raffle prizes, and gave back to the community.

However, the most significant win was the incredible outpouring of support. The NMA gathered funds to benefit one of our many charitable organizations.

At our annual banquet, the NMA Board will award charity checks to continue supporting those in need.

Special THANKS to the tournament’s Co‐Chair   Ghassan Namou, and NMA Executive Board Members  And to all the retailers, suppliers, and guests for supporting  the NMA charities.


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n September 17, 2022, the NMA attended the Lincoln Club’s Annual Dinner held at the Pendry Hotel. This year’s theme was “A Legacy of Leading,” representing both celebration and a call to action.

The Lincoln Club of San Diego County was started by a small group of business owners in 1983. They have been a strong force in representing the voice of business community. They have continued to advocate for probusiness political action, and the unification of the most prominent and successful business owners, professionals, and elected officials.

The keynote speaker of the event was Utah’s Senator, Mike Lee. Senator Lee is a child of politically active parents as his father served as President Ronald Reagan’s Solicitor General. Prior to entering politics, Senator Lee practiced law as an assistant U.S. Attorney. During the dinner, Senator Lee touched on supporting the economy in times of trouble and empowering businesses.

The NMA enjoyed a wonderful dinner with community leaders. We are grateful to have the chance to attend such a magnificent event that advocates for San Diego taxpayers and businesses, and we will continue to support organizations that uphold our values. The NMA is a proud supporter of the Lincoln Club of San Diego County, and its 38 years of advocacy for taxpayers and businesses.

On Saturday, June 11th the NMA attended San Diego County’s Republican Party Lincoln Reagan Dinner in Downtown San Diego at the Marriott Marquis. San Diego County’s Republican Party promotes the Republican Party’s ideals and raises and spends $2-4 million each cycle to support its endorsed candidates. Some of their priorities include protecting those most vulnerable among us, lowering taxes, etc.

The Lincoln-Reagan Dinner is one of the largest Republican Dinners in America. It brings together over 800 business and political leaders from all across California, and creates an opportunity for every major Republican official, business leader, and other groups to sponsor a table and show support for The Republican Party of San Diego County’s local team. The proceeds raised at the Lincoln-Regan fundraising dinner will go towards the Republican Party of San Diego County’s efforts to elect and re-elect Republicans to every possible office throughout the country.

Governor Kristi Noem from South Dakota was the keynote speaker, and James O’Keefe, founder of Project Veritas, made a special guest appearance.

The dinner honored San Diego County’s law enforcement, along with many other awards recipients. At the end of the night, guests enjoyed a wonderful Cigars & Cocktails After-Party. The NMA is honored to have attended such an amazing event.

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Senator Mike Lee (R‐UT)


The year 2020 wasn’t a sweet one for packaged sweet snacks. Like many other center-store categories, packaged sweet snacks struggled.

But 2021 saw recovery for the category with sales up 14.3% year over year, according to the NACS State of the Industry (SOI) Report of 2021 Data. Monthly CSX data show sales have recovered past the declines experienced in 2020 and are more closely mirroring the monthly sales figures from 2019.

“Part of this is simply the recovery of many in-store categories as trips and transactions increased from 2020,” said Jayme Gough, research manager, NACS. Packaged sweet snacks accounted for 1.12%

of in-store sales in 2021, an increase of 0.06 point from 2020, according to the 2021 NACS SOI Report. NieslenIQ data indicate that total U.S. convenience packaged sweet snacks sales accelerated 8.4% in 2021 compared with 2020—a unit increase of 3%.

This small category also produced $2,026 in sales per store per month in 2021, with margins for the category jumping year over year from 44.10% in 2020 to 45.44% in 2021, according to the 2021 NACS SOI Report. “This helped boost category gross profits 17.7% to a total of $921 per store per month in 2021,” Gough said. However, as the category rebounds, challenges to growth remain.



Loyalty programs are linked to an 18 - 30% increase in visits and spends at restaurants and cstores, according to Paytronix Systems Annual Loyalty Report 2022. The report also finds that between 5 and 17% of overall business revenue is driven by the most loyal 2 to 3% of customers, and that younger members are driving a generational shift in age and spend across loyalty programs.

Looking at convenience stores, loyalty members annually spend 38% more on average, and the report found fuel visits increased by 8% in 2021 when a customer is a loyalty member. Also, the most loyal cstore customers are visiting businesses one or more times per day.

At convenience stores, the top 8-10% of loyalty members visit an average of 32 times a month—more than once a day—and four times as often as the next highest tier. These 8-10% of loyalty members are

responsible for about 40% of visits, averaging more than one a day.

Although c-store loyalty members purchased less fuel per visit last year, they bought more fuel overall, showing an increase in store trips. Both their spend per check and spend per year increased across all categories.

Spend per check rose by about 25% from 2020 to 2021, mostly attributed to fuel and in-store product price increases. Fuel-only customers visit c-stores 2-3 times per month, Paytronix found, but they have the highest spend per check at nearly $40.

In-store customers, on the other hand, lifted their average spend by about $5 per check. Looking at annual spend, c-store loyalty members increased their spend per year by nearly 40%.

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In the first week of October, the NMA attended the NACS Trade Show in Las Vegas. The 3-day show kicked off on Friday, September 30th with a Luncheon among Association, and Industry leaders in the convenience store space.

Day 2 of the NACS show consisted of a photography session and an informational session about self-checkout strategies. The NMA learned a lot about the benefits and drawbacks to self-checkout including redistributing labor differently, enhancing customer experience, and coming up with new ideas regarding the improvement of self-checkout. The NMA was able to listen to ideas such as paying workers more per hour based on self-checkout usage and utilizing self-checkout for age restricted items.

Many retailers brought up their concerns of theft and cash taking self-checkout machines being much more expensive than just credit/debit taking machines. People were able to create solutions to these concerns like making the basket size for self-checkout 3 items or less and having employees help monitor self-checkout to prevent theft.

Day 2 also consisted of informational sessions of why we need a data strategy session and a chance for industry mentor to share sage advice, in which the NMA learned the importance of constantly adjusting your models.

On the 3rd day of the show, general sessions were held with NACS Chairman and Senator Roger Marshall discussing credit card swipe fees and a new proposed bill. This bill would inject competition, have Visa and Mastercard take 83% of business, and routing costs. Other information was provided about EV and Gasoline stations with Dr. Gill Prat, Toyota scientist, discussing services for longer charger stations.

Finally, the last day of the NACS show centered on improving the customer experience through online shopping with THRIVR. THRIVR is a new tool created by NACS to help convenience retailers build a marketing strategy that maximizes their store presence online.

The night ended with the debut of the 2022 Ideas 2 Go series which showcased retailers who were focused on evolving their brands and offers so that they may engage with their customers more.

The NMA is delighted to be participate in events like these so that we may learn more about updates in the industry, foster relations with many supplier vendors, and relay to our members more effective strategies so that their businesses thrive.

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We are thankful for NACS for their continued support for convenience stores, along with their continued partnership with the NMA. NACS President & CEO Henry Armour


Convenience retailers now have a new tool to help them succeed in the increasingly complex and digitally driven retail landscape. NACS and SOCi, a marketing platform for multi-location brands, have announced the launch of THRIVR™ at the NACS Show in Las Vegas. For NACS members, it will cost just $300 per store per year. More information will be coming on THRIVR; please contact the NMA office if interested.

THRIVR is a localized market solution that can help NACS members create a streamlined and amplified localized marketing strategy. THRIVR enables members to manage each of their locations’ local pages and local listings across digital platforms, while providing insights on search, social and reputation management that are essential in improving marketing strategy and location visibility.

THRIVR unifies digital and convenience retail by providing NACS members with a single place to update and manage key location information that streams to over 100 of top search directories and networks like Google, Facebook, Waze, Apple Maps and Yelp. THRIVR provides the tools and functionality to create, market and promote relevant information to help retailers better serve and reach customers in their unique market area.

Localized digital marketing drives higher traffic, engagement, and sales-conversion potential than corporate content alone. Additionally, a new NACS national consumer study found that consumers are using digital platforms to make purchasing decisions. Two in three consumers (67%) say they use voice-operated personal assistants like Siri and Alexa, and more than one in four say they use these assistants to search for products (27%) and search for stores or businesses (26%). Most consumers (58%) say they write online reviews of companies, and 52% say that positive reviews make them trust the store more.


Since the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans have shifted from using cash to credit cards. This transition has caused financial consequences because every time a payment card is used, retailers are charged fees, and these fees have increased at an alarming rate.

Visa and Mastercard control 80% of the credit card volume in the United States causing retailers to have no choice but to accept these cards. These companies set the prices and terms for banks that issue credit cards, even though the biggest swipe fees go to the bank. Banks should compete on their swipe fee prices, but they don’t. This causes swipe fees to increase year after year and U.S. merchants and consumers pay more in credit card fees than other nations.

Many retailers have witnessed a historic jump in their swipe fees as inflation and gas prices continue to rise. In 2021, the convenience store industry paid $13.5 billion in swipe fees. For many, these swipe fee costs exceed their pre-tax profits, becoming the 2nd highest operating cost for these businesses. Today, The Credit Card Competition Act, is being proposed to bring competition to the credit card marketplace by creating a choice for the processing of credit card purchases. It is estimated that credit card competition would save $11 billion per year for American consumers and businesses.

NACS and the NMA encourage its members to help support this bill. Retailers and supporters can assist by calling or sending a message to legislators. Scan the QR code  to write a letter/call Members of Congress to co-sponsor the Credit Card Competition Act.

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On September 17th and 18th, the Annual Chaldean American festival hosted by the Knights of Columbus was held. It was a weekend filled with fun activities that allowed the Chaldean community to connect with each other.

Many families and people gathered at Hillsdale middle school in Rancho San Diego to celebrate Chaldean culture and unity.

The event hosted Astro-jumps, rides, plenty of food and desserts along with live music and raffles, including the raffling of a Brand-New Tesla.

Booths lined the perimeter of the event with different vendors and service providers. The festival

also included Chaldean performers such as DJ Tony, Martin Goro, Sami Shamsi, and many more.

The most rewarding aspect of the festival, however, was the opportunity to witness a community immerse themselves in the culture and build connections with each other.

The Neighborhood Market Association was honored to take part in the Chaldean festival. The NMA strongly believes in the importance of family and unity within the community. The NMA looks forward to attending more events like this, as it was incredible to witness so many people and families come together and enjoy the festive atmosphere.


On a hot August afternoon, the NMA attended San Diego East County Chamber’s Taste of East County event at St. Madeline Sophie’s Center. The event began with over 200 attendees who came together to support the community. Over 20 vendors represented various East County businesses from food vendors and wineries, to candle businesses and florists.

The NMA handed out goodie bags to the community and were excited to talk about the mission of the NMA. One of the most honorable awards we received that day came from Supervisor Joel Anderson where he graciously awarded the NMA with a Certificate of Recognition for attending the event. We were ecstatic to accept an award from an official that is committed to supporting family-owned businesses.

Most importantly, it was refreshing to see an event that brought together a community in support of businesses around them. Despite the blazing heat, families were able to unwind, connect with locals, and taste all the wonderful food and drinks brought by vendors.

This event truly showcased the diversity of our community and represented each of the businesses that the NMA aims to empower. We were honored to have the opportunity to connect with different walks of life and network with East County’s local businesses. The NMA is grateful to join the East County Chamber and continue supporting small businesses and our local community.

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Supervisor Joel Anderson


October was Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and San Diego County has worked to bring awareness and resources to victims. San Diego County has experienced a 3% increase in domestic violence incidents reported from 2020 to 2021. Nonetheless, we have also experienced a decreased trend in domestic violence homicides in San Diego. In 2021, there were 9 domestic violence homicides as opposed to the average of 13 domestic violence homicide cases.

San Diego District Attorney Summer Stephan has worked towards providing resources for both abusers and victims of domestic violence get the rehabilitation and aid they need.

One of these resources include One Safe Place, located in North County San Diego. This center is a one stop center that provides victims with free support services for victims of domestic violence. They help victims learn how to obtain financial freedom from their abusers, work through mental health issues caused by trauma, acquire restraining orders, etc.

Domestic violence is an important issue to raise awareness towards as it can often lead to deadly situations and can affect future families and their perception of love. Those who come from homes where domestic violence was prevalent, are more likely to become domestic violence victims themselves.

The NMA supports organizations and centers like these as they contribute to the empowerment and healing of communities. Please do not hesitate to reach out to the San Diego District Attorney’s Office or the resource mentioned above if you or anyone you know has been a victim of domestic violence.



On Tuesday, October 25th the NMA held our 2022 Holiday Trade Show hosted by RNDC. We utilized a brand-new venue this year, the beautiful Legacy Center Globe Room, named after the unique globe feature, placed in the middle of the room that can be seen from the I-5 freeway!

With over 70 suppliers tabling at the event including Tito’s, Pepsi, Hendricks, Soon Hari and many more, retailers had access to many exclusive deals, dozens of samples, and tons of free goodies. We are most gracious to have seen over 200 retailers attend. Attendees were also able to access many local non-alcoholic suppliers to support their small businesses, from payroll services to CBD products to insurance services.

The event concluded with the announcement of raffle prizes that retailers had a chance to participate in. Prizes included a brand-new TV, a mini fridge, Airpods, and various alcohol, generously donated by different suppliers.

The NMA has enjoyed holding events like these in which opportunities for retailer and supplier relationships can flourish. We could not have done it without the help of RNDC, our other suppliers, and our wonderful retailer members. The generosity of all our suppliers ensured no one left empty handed or without a smile!

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| 19| NMA 2022 HOLIDAY PACKAGE TRADE SHOW The NMA thanks RNDC and their staff and suppliers that attended the NMA Annual Holiday Trade Show.  The NMA also would like to thank its suppliers for their support:  Blue Bunny, Paul Diaz Insurance, Ice Cold Storage, San Diego Cash and Carry,  Melawater, ADP, Pepsi, San Diego Business Advisors,   And Weird Beverages LLC.

Where did you go to school? I graduated from San Diego State University in 2020. I have my bachelor’s degree in social and liberal sciences “Sociology.”

Where did you grow up? I was born in Los Angeles and moved to San Diego when I was 5 years old. I consider myself a native San Diegan.

What are your hobbies or passions outside of work? When I’m not working, you can find me exploring San Diego with my son. I love visiting the museums at Balboa Park, visiting imperial and La Jolla beach, going to amusement parks, and spending time with my family. As a hobby, I love interior design and creating “DIY” projects, I also enjoy trying new restaurants around San Diego with friends and family.

Why did you choose NMA as your employer? I was impressed with the organization’s dedication to small businesses and the communities they serve. Representation in the community brings unity, inclusion, and opportunity, which I see the NMA advocates for. Working for an organization that advocates for Equity, inclusion, and Diversity is especially important to me. For that reason, I choose to be a part of the NMA team.

What are your goals as the new Membership Director? My goal is to reach out to the community to ensure our members are utilizing all and any applicable benefits from their membership. I will listen to members’ concerns and input and remedy anything within my power. I’d love to help grow our membership.

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Gov. Gavin Newsom, on Labor Day, signed AB 257, which could raise the minimum wage for franchise restaurant workers as high as $22 next year. A day later, critics filed a referendum seeking to block it until the matter can be put before voters. The law and the countermeasure have raised questions across one of the state's largest industries.

What is AB 257?

AB 257, also known as the Fast Recovery Act, creates a first-of-its-kind council of workers, corporate representatives, franchisees, and state officials with a mandate to set minimum industry standards on wages, working hours and other conditions for fast-food workers statewide.

Proponents describe the experimental new system as a move to boost the power of workers who have little formal recourse for rampant wage theft and poor or unsafe conditions.

Who is against it, and why?

From the start, AB 257 faced heavy opposition from business trade groups, fast-food corporations and franchisees who argued it unfairly singled out the fastfood industry, would saddle operations with higher labor costs and would jack up food prices.

Does the law immediately raise the fast-food minimum wage?

No. The law creates a 10-person council of workers, union representatives, employers and state officials who will decide whether, when and by how much to raise minimum hourly wages for fast-food workers — up to a point.

The council has the authority to raise the minimum hourly wage for fast-food workers as high as $22 next year. That upper cap rises each year, based on inflation. The council could choose not to raise wages or decide to raise the minimum in smaller increments rather than jumping straight to $22.

Aside from wages, what does AB 257 mean for workers?

Proponents of the law say the greatest benefit of AB 257 is giving fast-food workers a formal seat at the table, as

well as more avenues to air recommendations and complaints.

The law holds that counties or cities with populations greater than 200,000 can establish local fast-food councils that can hear concerns and provide written recommendations to the statewide council.

The law also appears to create a pathway for workers who are retaliated against to be reinstated and compensated for lost wages or benefits as a result of being fired, having their hours reduced or other punishments through private legal action.

AB 257 could create more urgency for existing state health and safety agencies to provide oversight in the industry.

Establishing health standards to mitigate these issues is the purview of the state worker safety agency, Cal/OSHA. The new council has the authority to petition that agency with recommendations, which the agency is obligated to consider and respond to within six months.

Will AB 257 cause food prices to rise?

Yes. In general, minimum wage increases translate to price increases. But those associated increases are likely to be small, some economists say.

Will the law cause jobs in fast food to disappear and hurt business?

Business interests say AB 257 could mean restaurant closures and an overall decline in fast-food industry employment. While employees who keep their jobs may enjoy elevated conditions, the higher costs of labor will cause the industry to shed jobs and establishments, fastfood industry representatives say.

Individual businesses may adjust hiring to reduce costs. But on the whole, experts say they do not expect employment rates in fast food to shrink.

What happens next?

AB 257 is set to take effect Jan. 1, but if the referendum qualifies, the law would be put on hold until voters can weigh in — which probably wouldn't be until November 2024.

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The effects of COVID-19 continue to reveal unforeseen impacts across the retail industry, with theft and shrink ballooning to nearly $100 billion problem for the industry, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF).

The NRF surveys retailers annually about loss prevention and security initiatives to draw attention to the ongoing trends in organized retail crime as well as shrink or unexplained loss of inventory. The 2022 study found that the average shrink for the retail industry was 1.4% last year. That represents $94.5 billion in losses, up from $90.8 billion in 2020.

A reported 87.7% of respondents said the pandemic increased the overall risk for their organization. 73.2% reported more shoplifting, with 71.4% citing increased organized retail crime (ORC) and employee theft because of the pandemic. The study cites labor shortages, masking, and maintaining COVID precautions all contributing to the rise in crime.

Research indicates ORC groups target easily concealable, removable, valuable, enjoyable, and disposable items. Experts said apparel, health, beauty, electronics, food, beverage, infant care, and toys were the most targeted.

The retailers taking part in the NRF survey were also asked to assess the skills they needed to strengthen their loss prevention. A majority of 62.3% admitted they need better investigative capabilities, 44.3% cited a need for more cyber experts, and the same number said they could benefit from better leadership. A whopping 88.5% said they needed more analytics to help them better recognize and predict the threats.

Most of the respondents in the survey said they are spending more on technology and equipment such as cameras and artificial intelligence applications. One-third of the respondents said they were hiring more guards, and nearly 43% said they were spending more on employee education and prevention training.

Crime experts say shoplifting and inventory shrink continues to increase annually mainly because of too few authorized loss prevention personnel. With fewer people watching, fraud continues to rise, with 69% of survey respondents citing higher in-store fraud and 61.1% indicating e-commerce fraud during the past year.

More retailers are considering using radio frequency identification (RFID) tracking in supply chains, artificial intelligence at the point of sale with self-checkout video analytics, license plate recognition, and self-service locking cases or lockers for high-risk items like electronic games. About 40% of retailers in the survey said they used RFID technology in their loss prevention strategy.

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On August 17th, 2022, the NMA attended Alcohol Beverage Control's (ABC) annual industry Stakeholder meeting. The meeting was conducted via Zoom with 112 participants, ranging from law enforcement partners, associations, chambers of commerce, and business leaders.

ABC President Eric Hirata as well as the ABC chiefs on Licensing, Enforcement, and their General Counsel gave presentations discussing the Agency's top priorities and providing updates on important developments.

Currently, the ABC's top 3 priorities are the following:

1. RBS (Responsible Beverage Service) Training 2. Improving and Expanding Online Services; and 3. Customer Services

The ABC department heads answered several questions from participants. NMA President Marlon Oram Mansour brought up retailer concerns about the sale of CBD products after the passage of AB 45 in late 2021. Mr. Mansour stressed that retailers have been confused and concerned about what products are allowed, in addition to asking ABC for additional clarification and guidance on the sale of hemp/CBD products.

ABC has emphasized that they are not experts on CBD and hemp products, and it is not an enforcement priority for the ABC. However, they wanted to stress retailers have the responsibility and obligation to follow all the regulations on these products. Nonetheless, the NMA will continue to engage with the ABC and other agencies to get guidance for retailers. Overall, the meeting was important for voicing out the concerns of our members. The NMA is proud to be invited to this important event each year to learn more about the industry and to help communicate the concerns NMA members have and face.

| 23| NMA ATTENDS ABC'S 2022


In 2012, California was the first state in the nation to pass legislation establishing an automatic enrollment retirement policy for private sector workers who lack access to work-based retirement plans. A limited pilot phase began at the end of 2018 and it then launched statewide on July 1, 2019.

Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill (SB) 1126 that expands the already existing CalSavers mandate to most employers.

Starting January 1, 2023, nearly all employers will be able to participate as the mandate will now include any employer with at least one employee. Mandated employers with fewer than five employees have until December 31, 2025 before they are required to register.

SB 1126 is an effort to improve retirement security for all working Californians as it automatically enrolls

eligible workers into a ROTH Individual Retirement Account if employers do not provide a qualified one. The intentions are to have every Californian have access to a workplace retirement savings plan, so they can retire with peace of mind.

This is an especially significant move for small businesses. So far, more than 100,00 employers have joined CalSavers, a majority of which have fewer than 50 employees.

CalSavers also requires eligible employers to facilitate the program by registering with them, providing employee information to CalSavers, and remitting employee contributions to CalSavers.

CalSavers is seeking to facilitate the largest expansion of retirement security since the advent of Social Security in the 1930’s and to be a model for other states that are already looking to follow in suit.


Leaders of East County’s moved to raise local sales tax and sent Measure P to voters just a few months ahead of November’s election, but residents voted to stop this sales tax increase. The El Cajon City Council had previously unanimously voted to bump the city’s half-cent tax, set to expire at the end of the decade, to 1 cent.

The new charge would not have had an expiration date, although there would be ways to reduce or eliminate it including all five council members having the ability to do so.

Proponents said the extra money was needed to beef up city services and address the region’s homelessness crisis by potentially hiring 20 additional cops. A vote to raise taxes was a significant move for a conservative council, and a gamble so close to the general election.

El Cajon’s officials have long worried about what might happen if the current half-cent tax was allowed to expire in 2029. The 1-cent tax would bring in about $24 million a year, covering a significant portion of the city’s $92 million budget.

Although polls showed support for increasing the sales tax, El Cajon’s voters have spoken.


AB 2188: Starting on January 1, 2024, it will be unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an employee in hiring, termination, or any term of employment, based upon the employee’s use of cannabis (marijuana) off-duty and away from the workplace. No employee may be penalized because of a drug test that finds the employee to have non-psychoactive cannabis metabolites in their hair or bodily fluids. Employees and applicants in the building and construction trades, and those who are subject to mandatory federal background checks, are exempt. The law also does not preempt state or federal laws requiring applicants or employees to be tested for controlled substances as a condition of: employment, receiving federal funding or federal licensing-related benefits, or entering into a federal contract.

AB 1949: This bill amends the California Family Rights Act to require covered employers provide employees with up to five days of bereavement leave for the death of a qualifying family member. An employee must have been employed for at least 30 days. Leave may be taken for the death of an employee’s spouse, domestic partner, parent, parent-in-law, grandparent, grandchild, child, or sibling. The leave must be taken within three months of the family member’s death and can be taken all at once or intermittently. If the employer does not have an existing policy, the leave may be unpaid; however, employees may elect to use accrued vacation, personal leave, sick leave, or other compensatory time off..

SB 523: This bill amends the California Fair Employment and Housing Act by adding “reproductive health decision making” as a new protected classification. The term is defined to include, but is not limited to, a decision to use or access a particular drug, device, product, or medical service for reproductive health, such as contraceptives or an abortion. The law also prohibits an employer from requiring an employee or applicant to disclose information relating to the person’s reproductive health decision making.

SB 1044: Prohibits an employer, in the event of a state of emergency or an emergency condition, from taking or threatening adverse action against any employee for refusing to report to, or leaving, because the employee has a reasonable belief that the workplace is unsafe. An “emergency condition” includes: (1) a condition of disaster or extreme peril to the safety of persons or property at the workplace caused by natural forces or a criminal act, or (2) an order to evacuate a workplace, a worker’s home, or the school of a worker’s child due to natural disaster or criminal act. An “emergency condition” does not include a health pandemic

SB 1162: California law prohibits employers from asking job applicants about salary history and requires employers to provide job applicants with pay scale information upon request. California law also currently requires employers with 100 or more employees to file an annual pay data report with CRD that contains demographics. SB 1162 creates new employee-facing pay transparency obligations and creates a new CRD pay data reporting obligation. The law has a few main components: (1) employers with 15 or more employees will be required to include a pay scale in all job postings; (2) all employers will be required to disclose to existing employees, upon request, a pay scale for their positions.

SB 1126: CalSavers will expand to eligible employers with one or more eligible employees starting January 1,2023. CalSavers automatically enrolls eligible California employees in ROTH Individual Retirement Accounts if their employer does not provide a qualified retirement plan. CalSavers requires eligible employers to facilitate the program by registering with them, providing employee information to them, and remitting employee contributions to CalSavers.

AB 1551: Reenacts a law that previously sunset that provided State Density Bonus Law benefits for commercial projects that include affordable housing. The law will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2023 and continue until Jan. 1, 2028. To qualify, a commercial developer must provide housing that contains 30 percent lowincome units or 15 percent very low-income units. The housing must be on the site of the commercial development or on a site that is within the boundaries of the local government, near public amenities including schools, employment center and be within a half-mile of a major transit stop. If eligible, the commercial development may be granted incentives.

| 25| L E G I S L A T I V E   U P D A T E S C A L I F O R N I A



AB 360: Will further regulate the underage sale of tobacco, tobacco, cigarettes, e-cigarettes and vape products to those, beginning January 1, 2023. Every seller of tobacco products must utilize enhanced control methods. This can be scanning technology or other software-based programs that can verify the customer’s age by reading the 2D barcode and perform front and back matching. This bill applies to in person and online purchases.

AB 456: Passed in 2019, this bill created a two-tier wage system increasing the minimum wage by 75 cents each year. For employers offering qualifying health benefits, minimum wage will increase from $9.50 to $10.25 on July 1, 2023. For employers not providing qualifying health benefits the minimum wage will increase from $10.50 to $11.25.

Fiscal Year 2023 Budget: Will focus on funding education, public safety, natural resources, infrastructure, and the state government. Including $15 million to develop the Business One-Stop Project and just over $1 billion in strategic infrastructure initiatives.

SB 1294: On December 31, 2023 this bill allows a person to file a petition to seal all case records related to a criminal offense if the person was: (a) convicted of a criminal offense and has completed all of the terms and conditions of the sentence that was imposed by the court, including the payment of all monetary obligations and restitution to all victims; (b) charged with a criminal offense and the charge was subsequently dismissed or resulted in a not guilty verdict at a trial; or (c) arrested for a criminal offense and no charges were filed.


On August 26th, 2022, California air regulators voted to approve the ban the sale of new gas cars by 2035 and establish an earlier phase out period prior to 2035.

This action is one of the first bans of its kind worldwide. It will have a major impact on the US car market, given how large and impactful California’s economy is.

The California Air Resources Board’s new rules also set interim quotas for zero-emission vehicles, focusing on new models. Starting with 2026 models, 35% of new cars, SUVs and small pickups sold in California would be required to be zero-emission vehicles. That quota would increase each year and is expected to reach 51% of all new car sales in 2028, 68% in 2030 and 100% in 2035. The quotas also would allow 20% of zero-emission cars sold to be plug-in hybrids.

The rules would not impact used vehicles. The first effect of these rules will not begin until 2026. More than 15 states have already followed California’s previous zero-emission vehicle regulations. If many other states continue to follow California in suit, it will transform the US auto industry. Several companies including Ford and GM have already announced ambitious plans to move toward zero-emission cars, trucks, and SUVs.

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| 27| NEIGHBORHOOD MARKET ASSOCIATION “Empowering Family-Owned Businesses” RETAILER MEMBERSHIP APPLICATION Mail Application and Payment Dues to:  Neighborhood Market Association 6367 Alvarado Court Suite 204, San Diego, CA 92120 For additional information call NMA staff at 619-313-4400 Or email us at Annual Membership Fee* $250 per location Memberships are based on Twelve Months (12) from this date _____/_____/________ BUSINESS INFORMATION Business Name___________________________________________________________________ Address _________________________________________________________________________ City_______________ County___________ State ______________ Zip Code____________ Business # (____) _____________ Mobile # (____) ______________ Fax # (____) _______________ Corporation: □ Yes □ No Corp. Name _____________________________________________________ Billing Address _______________________________________________________________________ City_____________________ County __________________State ____________Zip________________ Contact Person ______________________________ Title (owner, mgr., etc.) ______________________________ (Last) (First) Email: _______________________________________ How many other retail businesses you own directly or indirectly? _____________________________ REFERRED BY: _______________________________________________________________ PAYMENT INFORMATION Annual Membership ____ *$250 per location (separate applications must be submitted for each location) □ Check box if you do not want $50 of your membership fee to go towards the NMA Political Action Committee. □ Please, check box if you are interested in joining the NMA Buying Group so we can send you additional information. Donation Type $50 $100 $500 $1000 Other NMA Political Action Committee Law Enforcement Reward Fund ____ ____ _____ ______ ______ Membership Legal Defense Fund ____ ____ _____ ______ ______ Please make check payable to Neighborhood Market Association or NMA Office Use Only: _____/___________QB ___/_______________PKT ___/_____________
| 28| NEIGHBORHOOD MARKET ASSOCIATION “Empowering Family-Owned Businesses” SUPPLIER MEMBERSHIP APPLICATION Three Levels of Annual Membership Fees* Memberships are based on Twelve Months (12) from this date _____/_____/________ BUSINESS INFORMATION Wholesales/ Distributor Manufacturer ___ Service Provider Broker ___Other (specify) Bank________________ Business Name: Business Address: Street: ___________________________________________________ City: County: State: Zip Code: Business # Fax # Billing Address: Street: ____________________________________________________ City: County: State: Zip Code:
Person #1:
(First) Title
# (_____) _____-___________
Person #2:
(First) Title
# (_____) _____-___________ PAYMENT INFORMATION $500 Annual Membership for companies with 1-10 employees $1000 Annual Membership for companies with 11-25 employees $1500 Annual Membership for companies with 26 or more employees Check here if you do not want $50 of your membership fee to go towards the NMA Political Action Committee □ Please check the appropriate box(s) if you are interested in participating in the following: □ NMA Annual Banquet □ NMA Annual Golf Tournament □ NMA Annual Buying Trade Show □ Advertising in the NMA Publications Donation Type $50 $100 $500 $1000 Other NMA Political Action Committee ____ Law Enforcement Reward Fund ____ ____ _____ ______ ______ Membership Legal Defense Fund ____ ____ _____ ______ ______ Please make check payable to Neighborhood Market Association or NMA Office Use Only: _____/___________QB ___/_______________PKT ___/_____________ Mail Application and Payment Dues to:  Neighborhood Market Association 6367 Alvarado Court Suite 204, San Diego, CA 92120 For additional information call NMA staff at 619-313-4400 Or email us at
Email: Mobile
Email: Mobile


Bank of America  Ali Arman (619) 315‐0878 Bank of America Merchant Services Veronica Lopez (909) 278‐9901 Hanmi Bank Nizar Dahdouh (858) 467‐4815



| 29| Supplier Directory NMA Urges Its Members to Support Our Supplier Members by Utilizing Their Products and Services.
GRAPHIC DESIGNER Coyote Press Graphics  Victoria Vinton
ICE CREAM & ICE SUPPLIERS Blue Bunny   Thomas Kazemeini (619) 919‐3920
San Diego ICE Company  AnthonyToma (619) 688‐1999
INSURANCE SERVICES Liberty Company (Formerly Nickie Heath)  Grace Grissom (858) 633‐0920
Paul Diaz Insurance Agency  Paul Diaz
Cashuk, Wiseman, Goldberg, Birnbaum & Salem  Wes Salem (619) 563‐0145 San Diego Business Advisors  Steven Leibold (619) 294‐4286 CHIPS & SNACKS Baja Jerky  Laura Selecky (808) 600‐4114
(520) 818‐6495
(310) 213‐2217
Law Offices of Gloria, Weber & Jarvis
Royal Palace Namir Mattia
Sycuan Casino & Resort  Lauren Morrow
Town & Country Resort  Alex Nath
PRINTING & PUBLISHING PIP Printing Jay Levine (619) 528‐8000 SOFT DRINKS Pepsi Co Robert Wolf (949) 279‐7924 TOWING SERVICES  USA Towing & Recovery  Basil Raffo (619) 444‐1800 UNIFORMS SERVICES  UniFirst  Angela Nunes (978) 527‐4280 WHOLESALERS FOR GROCERIES, MERCHANDISE & TOBACCO PRODUCTS  Altria  Donna Golshan (206) 985‐7777 Hempacco Packaging  Sandro Piancone (775) 473‐1201 Reynolds  Eric Frey (336) 741‐3283 San Diego Cash & Carry  Jeff Mansour (619) 441‐9842 Trepco West   Al Paulus (619) 690‐7999 West Coast Hookah & Glass  Remon Mansour (619) 444‐1053 WINE & SPIRITS SUPPLIERS  Anheuser‐Busch  Mike Anderson (800) 200‐2353 mike.anderson@anheuser‐ IDG Wines  RodolfoRubalcava (619) 301‐1099 Mike’s Hard Lemonade  Julia Goggin (805) 450‐3945 Palm Bay International  Rick Mailloux (619) 869‐1312 Republic National Distributing Company Scott Blackburn (858) 537‐2808 Scott.Blackburn@rndc‐ Southern Glazers Wine & Spirits  Neil Sorensen (714) 724‐7929
David Jarvis (619) 322‐3144 STratege Law Scott Scheper (619) 677‐5800
Jamul Casino  Waleed Shorees (619) 679‐0756
(619) 442‐9900
(619) 445‐6002
(858) 877‐1409

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