Posted on | September 3, 2013
Written by | Paul Santelle
As Labor Day approaches, there is little doubt that the lingering impact of Super Storm Sandy continues to be felt by our industry. Although some regions may have fared better than others, the consensus is a sense that things were not the same as summers past.
I can personally attest to the fact that my business on the border of hard-hit Staten Island did not enjoy the typical transient business from New Yorkers who traditionally head to Jersey Shore destinations every weekend. My employees constantly relay stories from customers who are still in the process of working weekends to rebuild and repair their homes. There is little doubt in my mind that those efforts have resulted in a lot of out-of-pocket expenses, which translates to less disposable dollars to be spent on entertaining and/or personal consumption of alcoholic beverages.
My advice, based on 25 years of retail experience, is stay optimistic with the expectation that business will improve and get back on track. Surviving difficult times is how we define success, and how we renew our will and commitment to move forward.
Level-Playing Field; Legislation on the Move
After more than a year of delays and setbacks, the NJLSA has finally turned a corner in getting our “Level Playing Field” legislation introduced in the State Legislature. We have been successful in getting the much needed support of our Senate President as well as other key leaders. This legislation will ensure the stability of our marketplace while protecting the general welfare and safety of our public.
Clearly, the population density of New Jersey has resulted in a highly competitive marketplace for two-thirds of our State but has led to an uneven playing field whenever and wherever a warehouse club or big box grocery store has entered the fray using alcohol as nothing more than a loss leader lure for consumers. And these consumers are being baited away from other mega retailing competitors that in many instances are not even selling alcoholic beverages.
The problem with these mega box retailers, whether they are grocery chains or warehouse clubs, is that they sell alcohol as an ancillary product that they consider to be the same as any other comingled product in their store. They have little care for the regulated concerns that primary alcoholic beverage retailers share. And the fact that as many as half of all grocery store employees are under the legal age of 21 and half of them are under 18 tells you there is a huge accessibility issue with alcohol that has nothing to do with whether or not they are asking for proof of age at the POS.
After Labor Day, we will be posting our legislation on our website for you to share. We will also send out an INDUSTRY ALERT email blast asking for your help contacting local legislators and asking for their support of this legislation. Whether or not you are a member of the NJLSA, NJLBA or AARA, please go to our website at NJLSA.com and sign-up for our email service. There is no obligation and your email will only be utilized for email notices by the NJLSA.
The Time Is Now!
If you are a retailer or industry affiliate member who cares about your business, your livelihood and your ability to put food on the table, the time has come for you to step up and support your industry by joining the NJLSA. In addition to Retail Membership for off-premise licensees, we offer Associate Memberships for industry affiliates. We greatly appreciate all of the support that a wide range of industry affiliates extend to us via our Annual Fall NJLSA Holiday Trade show as well as our Annual “Day after Father’s Day” NJLSA PAC Golf Outing. Please go to our website for more information on all of these opportunities to support your industry by supporting the NJLSA!