Retail Register No. 361, September 2015

 

IRMA’s VP and General Counsel Tanya Triche tapped for 2015 Edgar Fellows Program

IRMA is TanyaTricheproud to announce that our very own Tanya Triche, IRMA’s VP and general counsel, was chosen to be part of the 2015 Edgar Fellows Program. Being selected as an Edgar Fellow is a highly regarded honor granted to as many as 40 leaders each year who have distinguished careers in public service. Triche attended a five day executive leadership training program in early August at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

“The Edgar Fellowship Program was a very beneficial experience,” said Triche. “Professionally, it was an opportunity to think critically about the many challenges that the state is experiencing.  We all have a role to play in finding solutions that are impactful and long-term.”

Former Illinois Governor Jim Edgar started this program and teaches during the leadership training to share lessons from his distinguished career in public service. Triche says they heard from leaders, practitioners and scholars who don’t just theorize on what could be done, but are actively involved in finding solutions.

“It was great to network with these leaders and discuss their various approaches to resolving conflict and getting results,” said Triche. “As I spend my days interacting with elected officials to advocate in support or in opposition of various policies, I can take much of what I learned from these leaders in their respective fields and apply them to how I approach my work in Springfield, Chicago and Cook County.”

IRMA President and CEO Rob Karr says it is no surprise to see Triche chosen for the Edgar Fellowship Program as she has long demonstrated great leadership traits. “Tanya’s openness, forthrightness and collaborative approach are her best attributes as a leader,” said Karr. “We are very proud of her accomplishments and look forward to her future at IRMA.”

Triche says a lot was accomplished during the leadership training at U of I. “I made a point to have an engaging conversation with all of the elected officials,” said Triche. “It’s important to get to know each other as people and not just as legislator/advocate. That’s often hard to do when I’m in the throes of legislative session and I’m trying to convince them not to vote for a bill.  It’s good to know who they are, where they come from and what they are passionate about and why.  The nuances of those things are things that aren’t found in a bio or resume.  It was a real treat to talk to them outside of the confines of the Capitol.”

Triche says while the Edgar Fellows would like to say they solved all of Illinois’ problems during this summit, that wasn’t necessarily the goal. “It was to get us thinking about how we could influence and shape solutions in our current and potential future roles,” said Triche. “Everyone has a role to play if we are ever going to get Illinois moving in the right direction on job creation, business retention, pension reform, ensuring that every child has access to a quality education and diversifying the economy.  This experience clarified my role and responsibility in being a part of the next generation of leaders that can offer new insight into dealing with old problems.”

 

Triche is appreciative of the Edgar Fellowship Program and what it is doing to advance Illinois leaders. “Now I am part of a growing alumni base that I can tap to collaborate on professional and personal projects in the future,” said Triche. “One of the best things about this group is that we are all committed to making Illinois a better place to live and work for ourselves and future generations.”

 

Chris Clark joins IRMA to enhance membership

 Chris Clark, an Arlington Heights native and a graduate of Northern Illinois University, joined the IRMA team in early August to serve as the manager of membership development.

Clark begaChris Clarkn his sales career in 2003 with First Data, the world’s largest merchant services company, where he earned several awards including Sales Select Club and Top Volume Producer.  Most recently he was a managing member of Video Terminals of Chicago, LLC, a video gaming company positioned to install and service video poker and slot machines in bars and restaurants throughout the state.

“We’re thrilled to have a position dedicated to expanding IRMA’s membership,” said IRMA President and CEO Rob Karr. “Chris is an excellent fit to take on this new role. His combination of technical sales expertise and business development skills will be very valuable. With more than 12 years of sales experience, I’m confident Chris will bring IRMA’s membership development to the next level.”

“I’m very happy to be at IRMA,” said Clark. “I’m already executing many ideas to grow the membership base.  My years of sales experience, working together with the team’s years of experience and expertise, make me very excited about what the future holds.”

 

Warning from IRMA: Big problems could be ahead with your new credit card

credit card

Currently, U.S. consumers’ personal and financial information is protected by a credit card system that was instituted in the late 1960s.  The magnetic stripe on the back of the credit card contains all of the consumer’s information.  If the information is stolen, it can be replicated on a counterfeit card and used until the consumer or bank notices the fraudulent activity. Due to the unsecure nature of these credit cards, American consumers have been targeted by thieves more than any other country in the world. In fact, the U.S. processes only about one-quarter of the world’s credit card transactions, yet accounts for roughly 50 percent of all credit card fraud.

While the U.S. uses this unsecure payment method to protect consumers, every other G-20 nation has replaced the magnetic stripe cards with “chip-and-PIN” cards within the last 12 years. Chip-and-PIN cards are credit or debit cards with an embedded microcomputer chip that holds a cardholder’s personal identification number (PIN) data. To use a card, a customer must enter a PIN number instead of a signature to complete a transaction. Each transaction generates a new code, making the information difficult to intercept and cards almost impossible to counterfeit.  Requiring a PIN number for every transaction eliminates fraud based on forgery and renders a stolen credit card useless to a thief who attempts to make a purchase at a local store.

Chip-and-PIN technology was first implemented in the United Kingdom in 2003. After it was introduced, credit card fraud in the U.K. plummeted 67 percent within six years due to banks and merchants using chip-and-PIN cards. During a similar period in France, fraud from in-person card use fell 35 percent. Since it has been more difficult to compromise the chip-and-PIN cards, criminal elements have focused their attention on the only developed country in the world that does not use chip-and-PIN technology. During this same period as fraud decreased in Europe, data breaches that included credit card fraud in the U.S. increased.  In 2012, U.S. consumers accounted for 47.3 percent of worldwide payment card fraud losses.

On October 1, 2015, consumers will be issued new credit and debit cards. Instead of issuing the more secure chip-and-PIN cards, many card issuers and financial institutions are replacing the old legacy system with a “chip-and-signature” card. The chip-and-signature cards require a signature like the old legacy system, but therefore, face the same issues as the old legacy cards such as forgery and replication. According to the Federal Reserve, chip-and-PIN cards are 700 percent more secure than chip-and-signature. Despite these concerns, card issuers and financial institutions have chosen the less secure chip-and-signature cards that put U.S. consumers at continued risk.

In response to consumer safety concerns, retailers nationwide have spent billions to replace point of sale machines with new chip-and-PIN terminals. Retailers are not the only industry who has recognized that a shift to a chip-and-PIN system is imperative to consumer safety. The U.S. federal government has implemented chip-and-PIN for all new and existing government credit and debit cards. As the government and retailers invest in new and more secure terminals at registers, so too must the card issuers and financial institutions provide more safety for consumers.

Card issuers and financial institutions have made conflicting statements as to why they are issuing more fraud-prone credit cards to their American customers.  In a recent Wall Street Journal article, a senior executive at MasterCard said many consumers find it difficult to remember a four-digit PIN number. Anecdotally, this argument seems hard to swallow given that millions of Americans regularly enter a four-digit code to use an ATM machine or to unlock their smartphone.

Chip-and-signature cards do not go far enough to protect American consumers and will continue to make the U.S. an attractive target for criminals who can no longer be successful in compromising credit card data elsewhere. Card issuers and financial institutions need to join the U.S. government and retailers in adopting the chip-and-PIN model to better protect U.S. consumers.

Alec Laird is IRMA’s manager of government affairs.

 

Retail Minded Magazine: Bad business habits small business owners should avoid

A recent survey conducted by Wakefield Research for Brother International finds that the majority of small business owners are ready to invest in their businesses and let go of bad habits.  500 small business owners with 100 employees or less were surveyed in this sixth annual Small Business Survey.

The findings show that 54 percent of small business owners prefer to invest in their businesses rather than stockpiling their profits, an 18 percent swing in preference since 2010.

The survey also sheds light on how small business owners feel about the economic climate – 42 percent of respondents reported a high level of stress because of the economy. This figure is flat compared to last year and down 16 percent from a 58 percent high‐water mark recorded by the survey in 2013.

Meanwhile, 41 percent of respondents said they’re interested in investing their money on tech purchases or upgrades only if their revenues increase by 5 percent or more this year.

Maximizing technology to help maximize business success is an understandable goal. Keeping this in mind, the survey also aimed to reveal what other goals small business owners had. Among them included eliminating bad habits. Dr. Geoffrey Alan Gray, president of Heeluxe, a private science center for footwear research and member of the Brother Small Business Advisory Panel, suggests that having a mentor to help navigate weaknesses or bad habits is a good idea for small business owners.

“I used to have a bad habit of taking on too many tasks and not spending enough time on nurturing new business,” said Dr. Gray. “It wasn’t until a mentor suggested I log my time that I realized how much I was spending on administrative tasks. Learning to delegate by letting employees loose on tasks they’re good at helped me refocus on growing the business while also improving office morale, so it turned out to be a win-win.”

Dr. Gray isn’t alone in having bad business habits; however, Dr. Gray was able to address and overcome them as small business owners are also encouraged to do. The 2015 Small Business Survey offered insight to some of the top bad habits among small businesses, noting the below four as popular habits that small business owners want to break:

  • Taking on too many roles and responsibilities;
  • Not taking enough time off;
  • Not separating work and personal life;
  • Micromanaging.

 

With respondents reporting that time off is a priority and finding work/life balance is important, it seems like a natural fit that technology is an investment small businesses are looking to make. After all, isn’t the point of technology to increase productivity, improve workflow, and enhance organizational efficiency?

Yes. The answer is yes. Technology and small businesses need to go hand in hand to keep up with the increasing work load of today’s businesses – as well as the realistic competition that big box competitors give our small businesses nowadays.

The article was condensed from its original version by Nicole Leinbach-Reyhle. She is the founder of Retail Minded Magazine, the only trade publication dedicated to the entire lifestyle of owning your own, small retail business.

 

Make your reservations for IRMA’S 58th Annual Meeting Luncheon

AldiPlease join us for IRMA’s 58th Annual Meeting Luncheon on Thursday, October 1, 2015. The event will be in the Empire Room at the Palmer House located at 17 East Monroe Street in Chicago. The reception begins at 11:30 a.m., and the luncheon starts at noon.

We look forward to recognizing and honoring IRMA’s 2015 Retailer of the Year at this event, ALDI! You’ll learn more at the event about why ALDI is the 2015 winner.

Sponsorships are available for $1,250. Tickets are $85 per person. The deadline to make your reservations is September 21. Email Dale Basowski at dbasowski@irma.org to reserve your spot. We hope to see you October 1!

 

Consumers want access to cold and allergy medicines

Over the years, many proposals have been introduced in the Illinois legislature as our state has fought a war against methamphetamine production. Some of those proposals have passed, most prominently the National Precursor Log Exchange (NPLEx), the electronic, stop-sale technology that automatically blocks the illegal sale of pseudoephedrine (PSE) products.

IRMA has helped co-sponsored training for law enforcement personnel in Springfield, Collinsville, Moline and the Chicago area on how to most effectively utilize the NPLEx system. “This year alone, Illinois is on track to block more than 100,000 boxes of pseudoephedrine from buyers who are attempting to purchase more than the legal limit,” said IRMA President and CEO Rob Karr. “NPLEX is an effective tool with many options. These trainings ensure law enforcement agencies are aware of and have the ability to use every aspect of this effective law enforcement tool.”

Other proposals such as a prescription requirement for any consumer to use PSE have not passed the legislature. Due to our role on the front lines in the fight against meth, IRMA has stood up for the rights of honest consumers and has opposed a prescription requirement for PSE, instead focusing on pursuing policies that only punish those who knowingly break the law.

Consistently, retail customers across Illinois have spoken to our members about their opposition to restrictions on PSE. Now, a recent consumer study from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America in Illinois and four other states, confirms what our members have repeatedly heard – there is strong consumer opposition to a prescription requirement for PSE.

According to the survey, 99 percent of cold, cough and flu sufferers in Illinois purchase non-prescription medication to treat their conditions. Additionally, 96 percent of Illinoisans want access to all medication legally available to them at their full-service pharmacy and 68 percent would unfavorably view their pharmacy if certain products were removed from their shelves.

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