Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the victims of this weekend’s senseless shootings in Nova Scotia. As the Premier said this morning, this unbelievably sad and horrific event will not define Nova Scotia. Nova Scotia and the region are defined by kindness and compassion. The ACSA and our member sites are here for residents during this time of profound sadness.
We are now more than one month into dealing with COVID-19 and the unprecedented impacts it has had on our health and businesses. From an overall health perspective, while Atlantic Canada has not been spared, the emergency measures instituted and the social distancing by all does appear to be flattening the curve. Our region is fairing much better than many other parts of the country and continent.
There is no sugar coating that this is a stressful time for all ACSA members. As we continue to work the telephone and Zoom conferences, the message is clear, member business has been impacted negatively. Gas is down significantly in every province. The cost of operating is higher, with fewer customers permitted in stores at one time. Implementing sneeze guards, sanitizing stations, and other employee protections has increased the costs of operations. Stress and worry are on the faces and voices of owners, managers, staff and customers.
As I write this, there are signals that better times are in the near future and the worst may be behind us. Federal, provincial and in some cases even municipal governments have and continue to announce assistance packages for small business. While the first rounds of relief were primarily for staff, there have been and need to be more for small businesses and our members.
To help make it easier for our members, we have built a new website https://www.theacsa.ca/covid19/ (same address) and have added a special COVID19 members information portal for:
- One click access to federal and provincial assistance programs and applications
- A series of free small business information videos on advice for retail operations in COVID19 from businessman Marc Gordon
- Other useful tips, suggestions, and information to help convenience members during these uncertain times.
As always, if you have a question or don’t understand a program, please feel free to reach out to me personally, Mike Hammoud, at [email protected] and I will respond. If I do not have the answer, I will get it for you.
ACSA advocates for subsidies on gasoline sales losses
The double whammy in March of rapid reductions in regulated gasoline selling prices and big declines in pump traffic cost retailers a lot of money until older inventory could be cleared.
These losses can’t be made up through pent up or deferred demand, so the ACSA in collaboration with the Convenience Industry Council of Canada and CIPMA, are advocating with the Atlantic provinces for subsidies to offset these losses.
“We’ve made submissions to each provincial government and proposed some subsidy options,” says Mike Hammoud, president of the ACSA. “The best option is likely a situation where retailers would retain some portion of a province’s gas tax on a temporary basis until the March losses are recovered.”
Hammoud says that Nova Scotia’s Utility and Review Board has always had a process where individual retailers can apply for a temporary margin adjustment to recover losses under certain economic conditions, but it’s not geared to an industry of some 400 retailers each making an application.
“We’re proposing an industry-wide solution that is easy to implement and monitor.”
The ACSA is in the process of setting up virtual meetings with key government officials in each province to follow-up on the submissions.
Education to take advantage of new opportunities
Now is the time to analyze your business with a practical process, think about and plan for new opportunities when the pandemic ends.
Free for ACSA members!
Tools for Successful Business Growth
Starting on May 12, 2020
The course will run virtually “on-line” 2 days a week (Tuesdays & Thursdays from 1 pm - 4 pm) until June 25th
Facilitated by Marc Zirka, founder and CEO of Strategy Up. With 20 years of experience building corporate and commercial strategies and in running his own business from Dartmouth, NS, Marc will be highlighting all the positive aspects of running a business in a competitive market.
You will learn how to lead every aspect of your business: Strategic Positioning, Identifying your Strengths, Weaknesses Opportunities and Threats, Fundamentals of Marketing, Competitive Landscape, Pricing for Profit, Developing and Strengthening your Distribution Channel, Identifying your Priorities and Developing a two year action plan for business growth.
Moreover, you will learn about how to build a successful team and cultivate a safety culture throughout your business. At the end of this course you will have tools and techniques which you can implement immediately to run a stronger and more profitable business.
Marc is bringing an international and local experience to help your businesses grow and become more efficient. He has been assisting businesses to thrive for excellence and to improve their operational efficiency. Marc is a seasoned trainer, facilitator, and public speaker.
Sign up today by clicking here.
Maritime Golf Tournament update
Due to the current circumstances regarding COVID-19, we have decided to postpone our Maritime Golf Tournament from June 18 to September 24. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide more information in the coming weeks.
Atlantic Convenience Expo update
The past few weeks have been truly unlike any we have experienced before and we wanted to assure you that while our ACE 2020 show is still many months away we are monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic as information evolves and will adjust as needed.
While we are committed and planning to be able to continue with our show as planned we will provide additional information over the next coming weeks. The health and safety of our attendees, staff, partners and our community is our number one priority.
We wish to thank you for your continued support over the past few years and are committed to working together again to continue to build our unique and special community that makes up the Atlantic Convenience Expo.
Message from our friends at Atlantic Lottery
Play Safe retail incentive program
The safety and well-being of Atlantic Canadians is our top priority. We are taking the lead of public health officials as part of the ongoing efforts to prevent and contain the spread of COVID-19.
Atlantic Lottery has been encouraging players to purchase lottery tickets or play interactive games at alc.ca as a way of keeping both them and their fellow Atlantic Canadians safe and healthy.
As of April 17th, we will be introducing a temporary program where retailers can earn an incentive when encouraging customers to play lottery at alc.ca.
- This program is designed for retailers who refer players to alc.ca as a safe way to play lottery at this time.
- When a player registers to play at alc.ca, they can select the retail store that referred them, and that retailer will receive an incentive.
- Retailers that are identified by players during registration will receive 3.75% incentive from ALC on the value of alc.ca lottery draw and sports product sales purchased by that customer for a period of 6 months (from the day of registering on alc.ca).
- Digital Instants is a new product that retailers will earn an incentive on during this temporary Play Safe Retail Incentive Program in addition to iBingo. For alc.ca-exclusive iGaming products, retailers will earn 3.75% on Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR = sales – prize expense).
- Retailers currently receive a 5% commission on Webcash sales, and this will continue. In addition, retailers that are identified by players during registration who chose to fund their alc.ca account with Webcash will also receive 3.75% incentive on alc.ca lottery draw and sports product sales from that customer for a period of 6 months.
- Any incentive for alc.ca will show as an adjustment on the retailer invoice and will be paid out quarterly.
- Retailers are not required to encourage players to buy lottery products on alc.ca, although ALC encourages retailers to do so.
- Atlantic Lottery will assess the program regularly and decide to change or enhance the program at that time.
For more details, retailers can visit the Retailer Zone on their lottery terminal.
Stay safe and we will communicate again soon.
Mike Hammoud, President, ACSA