Stores show their sales strengths
By Jan Teague, President/CEO
The key to success for retailers today is a strong online presence with an interesting store to experience in person. Yes, online shopping gives consumers convenience, but it can’t replace the excitement of the store. In a recent survey conducted by the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), the formula for retail success is having both formats available to shoppers. The term is omnichannel and it means selling using various approaches.
You really can’t beat going into a store for a look around at all the latest items. You can take family or friends, waste a bit of time wandering through the mall and walking into any number of stores to see the decorations or attend some type of store event. This social aspect of retail is not lost and in fact remains very strong.
Retailers have figured out how to be successful and it includes understanding what the consumer wants: free shipping and allowing the consumer to return the item to the store. It turns out that this customer service approach is the winning formula.
ICSC reports that when it comes to Millennials (age 18-36), stores are more stimulating than websites and that Millennials are more likely than other groups to spend additional money when going to a physical store to return items they bought online.
Is retail in trouble?
I think moving ahead, there will be ownership changes, consolidations, and more omnichannel approaches to sales. With the economy getting stronger, I see a strong retail climate ahead.
WRA’s Madelin White accepts national retail honor
The National Retail Association has honored Lacey businesswoman Madelin White as one of America’s Retail Champions for 2017. The annual award recognizes Main Street business owners who are community leaders and strong retail industry advocates at all levels of government.
White attended a recent dinner in Washington, D.C. honoring her as the Washington State representative along with her fellow retail champions from states across the nation. While in Washington, she met with members of the Washington State Congressional delegation to lobby on behalf of the needs of small business owners such as herself around the state.
White has owned Merle Norman Cosmetics, Wigs & Day Spa for more than 40 years. Last year, the American Cancer Society honored White for her 25 years of volunteer service in building the self-esteem of cancer patients through her Look Good, Feel Better course. She has traveled throughout Washington, Alaska, Oregon and Montana teaching the course. She also has served on the Washington Retail Association’s Board of Directors for 21 years in a variety of roles on the executive committee including four terms as chairwoman. She has regularly testified before state House and Senate committees on a host of issues important to retailers.
Among White’s honors was being named a 2011 Woman of Influence by the South Sound Business Examiner and as owner of the 2013 Business of the Year by the Lacey Chamber of Commerce, where she was the President in 2014-15.
In accepting her nomination to compete for the Retail Champions honor, White told Washington Retail Association members: “I am passionate about making a difference in people’s lives and their businesses.”
Click here to read more about White’s recent national honor.
WRA attends conference on emerging health care issues
By Mark Johnson, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs
I attended the annual Legislative Health Care Conference in Leavenworth last week to learn about issues that will likely be debated during the 2018 Legislative Session. It was a collection of legislator, agency staff and lobbyists representing an array of health care and related interests.
Our opening presenters were Representative Eileen Cody (D), Chair of the Health Care Committee and Representative Joe Schmick (R), ranking member of the committee. They discussed issues including the opioid abuse crisis and drug take back programs.
We heard from Jane Beyer, Senior Health Policy Advisor for the Office of the Insurance Commissioner. She discussed what was happening nationally with the Affordable Care Act and what this means to Washington State. The future is full of uncertainty with the ACA.
We also heard from Mike Webb, Chief of Staff for the Attorney General. Mike discussed potential 2018 Legislative issues including increasing the age for tobacco use to 21 years, the opioid epidemic and how it may relate to the prescription monitoring program.
Also covered were pharmacy licensing practices at the Department of Health and the pros and cons of non-appropriated funds compared to appropriated funds.
The conference ended with an update on the special elections from the two Senate Campaign Committee representatives.
L&I holds hearings on sick and safe leave policy
Labor & Industries has three remaining public hearings to discuss the state’s upcoming paid sick leave policy taking effect in January 2018.
A draft of rules for the policy is available here. The link includes another to be placed on a mailing list for updates in development of the policy.
- August 16, 2017, 10:00 a.m. Spokane CenterPlace Auditorium 2426 N. Discovery Pl. Spokane Valley, WA 99216
- August 17, 2017, 10:00 a.m. Columbia Basin Community College L102, Building L 2600 North 20th Ave Pasco, WA 99301
- August 29, 2017, 10:00 a.m. Xfinity Center, Edward D Hansen Conference Center Ballroom 3 South 2000 Hewitt Avenue, Suite 200 Everett, WA 98201
WRA members with questions or comments may contact Tammie Hetrick, Senior VP of Retail Services, at 360-200-6452 or email@example.com.
WRA co-sponsors Oct. 17 employer seminar
WRA members to get special discount
Employers will be able to learn the latest insights into employment law by attending Lane Powell’s annual “Best Practices for Employers” seminar on October 17 of this year. WRA members are eligible for a discounted registration fee.
The event will be held at Sheraton Seattle Hotel, 1400 6th Avenue in downtown.
The event geared toward managers, human resources professionals and corporate counsel includes the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, Washington Bankers Association and the Greater Seattle Business Association as co-sponsors.
Click here to register.
Lens examines impacts of Seattle’s income tax on the rich
Besides the concerns of venture capitalists and entepreneurs about the state’s only income tax, deeper concerns are emerging about whether other cities would try to copy Seattle’s income tax and further spread anxiety about its impact on the statewide economy.
The Lens, the online news source of the Business Institute of Washington, takes a look at the mounting concerns about the income tax and its impacts on the statewide economy. Click here to read the story.
Target stores have announced a four-year commitment to financially support youth soccer programs and to build 100 soccer play spaces.
The $14 million commitment will focus on in-need communities across the nation.
Target will accept applications through Aug. 30 for grants up to $1,000 to schools, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations to assist youth soccer programs with registration fees, field equipment and professional development for volunteer coaches. The first round of grants will be awarded in November.
Target also is teaming with the U.S. Soccer Foundation to build 100 soccer play spaces across the country. The goal is to transform “play deserts” in underserved neighborhoods.
After nearly doubling state spending on schools the past decade, most state officials say they think they have met a state Supreme Court mandate to fully fund education.
They won’t know if they’re right until the court soon rules on the Legislature’s adoption of the 2017-19 state budget earlier this year.
In a recent blog, the Washington Policy Center’s Education Director, Liv Finne, cites increased spending statistics to agree with the Governor and his Attorney General, that the decade-long state effort to fully fund schools is finally completed. State spending decisions have increased state spending per student from $8,800 a year to $14,200, Finne notes.
Despite proclamations that the McCleary court decision’s goals have been met, only the state Supreme Court will make it all official. Click here to read Finne’s blog.
Lobbyists grade legislators harshly
State legislators received a D plus grade in a recent Elway Poll that surveyed registered lobbyists. It was the lowest grade for legislators from lobbyists in the past seven years.
The 2017 Legislative Session took three overtimes to arrive at a new state budget at the very final hours of the 2017 state fiscal year. It included property tax increases and a new tax on bottled water as part of a plan to spend $43.7 billion. It included a major increase in state education spending to address a state Supreme Court mandate to fully fund schools.
Fifty-five percent of those lobbyists surveyed gave the Legislature grades either of D or F for their performance last session. Fifteen percent awarded grades of A or B.
Lobbyists listed K-12 funding as the session’s most significant outcome. The biggest disappointment was the Legislature’s failure to adopt a capital budget.
Click here to read the rest of the poll’s results.
West Coast longshore workers ratify three-year contract extension
A majority of West Coast dockworkers have approved a three-year extension on the labor contract to July of 2022. The old agreement was to expire in July of 2019.
A report on the International Longshore and Warehouse Union website did not mention contract details other than the expiration date. The agreement is with the Pacific Maritime Association. It pertains to all West Coast ports including Seattle and Tacoma.
A 2014 dispute between negotiating parties resulted in slowed down deliveries that affected retail inventory volumes during the holiday shopping season and crops that rotted on docks.
Click here to read the ILWU report on the agreement.
Washington State is Number One in estate tax rate
At 20 percent, Washington State can claim the nation’s highest margin estate tax rate, according to a new Tax Foundation report.
The state imposes the tax on estate values above $9 million, according to the report. It notes that family-owned farms and small businesses typically are most opposed the tax and cite concerns that it could require businesses to be broken up to afford the obligation.
Click here to read the entire report.
Safety tip of the week
How to spot alcohol, drug use in the workplace
According to SAMHSA, a federal agency tracking substance abuse, for 2015, there were about 139 million users of alcohol in the USA. Another 24.6 million Americans were illicit drug users, according to estimates.
When you combine those numbers, as well as the new Washington law permitting limited marijuana use, there is a great chance that one of your co-workers could be under the influence of some type.
Alcohol is the most common abuse issue in the workplace, with marijuana second and then misuse of prescription drugs.
Often people under the influence do not adhere to safe practices in the workplace.
To recognize warning signs of substance abuse, look for:
- Frequent disappearances
- Excessive sick or personal days
- Uncharacteristic behavior
- Rollercoaster work performance
- Difficulty with relationships.
Substance abuse in the workplace can be devastating. It can impact an employee’s health and working relationships but also can reduce productivity, increase absences and increase the risk of accidents.
Employers should update their substance abuse policies regularly, making sure that alcohol, marijuana, illegal drugs and abuse of prescription drugs are addressed. For information on how a small business can set a policy, click here.
Here is a good web link with tips for dealing with substance abuse problems in the workplace and here is a SAMHSA report for Washington State. The RASI Safety Library has a section on Alcohol and Drug abuse for more information.
WRA employs Rick Means as a Safety Specialist who is available to members to help draw up safety plans and suggest topics for safety meetings. Contact him at 360-943-9198, Ext. 18 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Seattle-based foundation offer mattress disposal guide
The Seattle-based Tuck Sleep Foundation thinks too many uninformed people throw their old mattresses out the wrong way, maybe on the sidewalk or at the landfill.
The Mattress Recycling Council estimates that Americans disposed of up to 20 million mattresses every year that occupy more than 132,000 square miles of landfill space. To cut down on waste and preserve landfill space, the council urges consumers to use alternative means to dispose of old, lumpy mattresses.
The foundation’s disposal guide is here. It includes a list of organizations willing to accept mattress donations.
Save the date for a free business fair
Anyone interested in learning how to start and run a business should consider attended a free business fair set for September 30 at Renton Technical College.
WRA has been a regular attendee at the fair, now in its 20th year.
The fair is a collection of helpful seminars and information booths to help entrepreneurs learn how to start and grow a business while remaining mindful of the potential pitfalls and regulatory requirements to operate legally and successfully.
WRA diversity statement
It’s essential to have a holistic strategic plan for diversity and inclusion. We encourage everyone to consider having a plan that connects with diverse people, creates a diverse workforce, fosters an inclusive work environment where different perspectives are valued, partners to share time, talent, and resources with our staff and with communities, and communicates these values with others.
In principle and in practice, we value access to leadership opportunity regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, sexual orientation, nationality, disability, appearance, geographic location, or professional level. The association strives to accomplish this by serving as a model where we are working to help our staff, our volunteer leaders, our members, and our community embrace these principles.