Posted on | October 4, 2013
Written by | Paul Santelle
What Are You Waiting For?
Over the course of the years that I have been the President of the NJLSA, I havereceived a lot of calls and emails from concerned retailers who feel discouraged and defenseless about protecting the future of their livelihood. Their story is a familiar one: They invested their life savings to purchase their business and then a new big box store owned by a supermarket chain or warehouse club disrupts their marketplace. Eventually their diminished profits can no longer support their business operations or, even worse, provide for their family.
I received the following email after the Labor Day weekend from one of these retailers whom I spoke to several times a few years ago when a Wegmans family member was in the process of opening up a very large store next to one of their food markets near this retailer’s store:
Paul: It has been a few years since we last talked and my family and I greatly appreciate everything that your association did to fight Wegmans. Unfortunately, another supermarket chain is about to open and I have no choice but to sell my business at a significant loss from when I bought it from the previous owner 10 years ago, after he had successfully operated that business for almost 20 years. I want to personally thank you for everything you did to help the retailers in my area and I hope that the legislation you are finally moving gets passed and stops the likes of Wegmans from getting anymore licenses for liquor stores. I am sorry that I never joined your association and that I did not go to the meeting you went to with our Mayor and Council. I know other retailers who felt bad about not going to that meeting or joining your association—it may have made a difference.
For every retailer thinking you could be next, This Is Your Wake Up Call! If you’re NOT a member of the NJLSA—What Are You Waiting For? The above retailer said the NJLSA is “your association.” No, it’s Our Association!
I am a retailer who joined the NJLSA when I bought my store 25 years ago and I have paid the same base $200 dues every year that I have owned my store. The first seven of those years, I was too busy running my store to get active in the association, but I always sent in my dues in spite of my struggles. After getting my head above water, I gradually became more and more active in the association and eventually joined the ABC Advisory Committee.
As a point of reference, our base dues have not changed in 25 years, but now include an additional $25 for our national affiliate association the ABL (Amercian Beverage Licenses) plus a voluntary PAC contribution you can make to support our Political Action Committee. The NJLSA is a not-for-profit organization run by elected retailer volunteers that share the same concern for protecting and defending our industry.
Full Speed Ahead
The good news is after years of taking it on the chin we finally have two pieces of much needed legislation that have the full support of key leadership in our State Legislature as well as the Governor’s office. These two bills will push back the tides that have surged over the course of the last decade to impair our state’s exemplary independent retail business model. We will finally be able to operate on a far more level playing field than the mine field that has become our marketplace.
If you are a retailer who is not a member of the NJLSA we need you to get off the sidelines and start helping Our Association protect and defend your business and livelihood! We are all in this together and we all need to work together to make sure that the likes of Wegmans or any other threats to our business model do not take advantage of our industry via our State’s political vulnerabilities.
Go to your website at NJLSA.com and get connected to Our Association!