The Importance Of Engaging In Legislative Matters
By Joe Rossi, NCASEF Executive Vice Chair
Managing a convenience store is about more than ensuring shelves are stocked and customers are served. It’s also about actively participating in the legislative landscape at both the local and national levels. Our operations can be significantly affected by changes in legislation, such as tobacco flavor bans, credit card swipe fees, minimum wage increases, and modifications to labor laws. Therefore, it is crucial for us as franchisees to voice our concerns and advocate for our interests.
Tobacco sales form a substantial part of our revenue, so the implementation of tobacco flavor bans could impact our financial health. Many customers visit our stores looking for tobacco products, and losing them would also affect secondary sales because these customers usually buy other items along with their packs of cigarettes, like gum, energy drinks, or coffee. So it’s in our interest to oppose such legislation, not by denying the health impacts of tobacco, but by advocating for balanced regulations that consider the potential economic fallout.
Credit card swipe fees are another critical area where we must take a stance. As convenience stores, we often process numerous small transactions daily, each subject to a swipe fee. These fees can accumulate to a significant cost, eating into our margins, so we must advocate for lower fees or at least a reevaluation of the fee structures to better align with the realities of our stores.
The debate around minimum wage increases is multifaceted. While we all want our employees to earn a livable wage, steep increases can place an enormous burden on small businesses like ours. We should campaign for sensible, incremental increases that balance the need for fair wages with the economic realities of operating a small business.
The same applies to labor laws. Legislative changes, such as those related to overtime or sick leave, could significantly increase our operational costs. Again, while we want fair treatment for our employees, it’s essential that these laws consider the viability of small businesses.
So, how do we, as franchisees, make our voices heard? A significant part of this battle is fought through our local FOAs and the National Coalition. These organizations serve as our collective voice, advocating on behalf of all 7-Eleven franchisees.
We need to be active participants in these bodies, understanding proposed legislation, discussing potential impacts, and agreeing on a collective response. It is through these organizations that we can lobby local and national lawmakers, submit testimonials, and work with industry groups to influence legislative outcomes.
Another powerful tool at our disposal is the relationships we build within our communities. As local business owners, we can engage with local stakeholders, including customers, other businesses, and community leaders. We can leverage these relationships to rally support for our cause, reminding them that the success of our stores contributes to the health of the local economy.
Changes in legislation can significantly impact our operations, profitability, and even our ability to serve our communities. So we need to stand up, voice our concerns, and fight for our interests. By doing so, we can help shape a regulatory environment that considers our needs, ensuring the continued success of our stores and the entire 7-Eleven network.