October 19, 2023

Top Stories This Week:

Annual Turkey Charity Drive:

NJGCA is thrilled to announce we will be participating in another turkey drive ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday! Groceries are more expensive than ever, so let’s make sure everyone in New Jersey can celebrate the holiday with a turkey on their table.   

This year we will again accept monetary donations and write a check to the Fulfill NJ food bank, which is based near our office. Thanks to the generosity of our members, we were able to donate $2,700 and 63 pounds of turkey last year, which in total is about 8,153 thanksgiving meals donated by our membership! We always hope to be able to exceed the previous year’s goal. If you are able, please consider donating HERE. We will be accepting donations through Wednesday November 8th.  

State Fuel Facility Compliance Seminar and Notice Pump Breakaways: 

Last week NJGCA attended a compliance seminar on fuel facility compliance. The event was hosted by NJDEP, Weights & Measures, and the state fire code officials.  

The event was incredibly informative, and very well attended. There were industry contractors, compliance professionals, LSRPs, station owners, distributors, and others in attendance. This is a yearly event. If you were unable to attend this year, we strongly suggest that station operators attend next year to hear directly from state authorities on a range of issues.  

We took a lot of notes during the various presentations. As much as we'd like to, we cannot concisely convey it all in a single message. That said, we did want to touch on one "new" issue that station owners need to be aware of.  

We have recently heard from a few members who received violations for "old" pump breakaways. These products are made by companies like OPW, Fill-Rite, Franklin, Catlow, Husky, Emco, and others.   

Fire officials are interpreting the state's Fire Code to implicate the "date of manufacture" when issuing citations. That is to say, if the "date of manufacture" appears on the breakaway, and that date is five years old or older, the Fire Code official may write the station operator a fine for "violating" the code. This is obviously troubling, especially since common sense would indicate that even if the breakaway was produced years ago, that part may have been placed in inventory storage for years before being unboxed and attached to a pump hose. It is not a perishable item. What's more, unless a station is pushing very high volume, breakaways can last for a very long time if properly maintained.   

We brought our concerns to the state Fire Code official at the seminar. Logically they agreed with our concerns but said they would adhere to the code as written and gives deference to the manufacturers' written specs. We're currently attempting to find a "work around" for this obstacle, but one obvious solution (that the state's representative begrudgingly agreed with), was to purchase breakaways that do not have a date of manufacture stamped on the product. That might seem silly and nonsensical; but as the Fire Code looks to the manufacturers' specs, if no date is stamped on the specs or product, there is no violation that can be issued.   

We will continue to work on this matter. If you have been cited or have any questions on the above, please feel free to contact Nick at nick@njgca.org 


Two weeks ago, Eric from our staff was among the 25,000 attendees in Atlanta for the annual National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) convention. In addition to meeting with staff from other state trade associations, there were numerous beneficial education sessions. Since we know it’s a burden for small businesses to take the time to fly out to a convention, we thought to sum up some of the insights from the industry that should be of most interest to you. This week we’ll focus on the labor shortage, which was was one of the main topics discussed, and below you’ll find some insights collected from a few sessions: 

  • C-stores have a 134% store level turnover 
  • Don’t characterize the job as being a “cashier” if it’s not, in a grocery store a cashier is literally just that, someone who stands at a register for the entire shift. “Customer service representative” is a better reflection of the job. 
  • Value of paying employees more 
    • If you or a store manager is spending a lot of time on hiring, that’s time they’re not spending on anything else. That doesn’t show up in a P&L. 
    • Some employees prefer perks that are ultimately less costly than a higher wage. For example, offering 20¢ off a gallon of gas is like a $6 a month benefit, but may be more valued than a slightly higher salary. 
    • The gap between the minimum wage and a “living wage” is a bigger gap than you might think. Many working families need a second job, so it should be no wonder they’re unhappy and willing to leave for a small salary boost at another business. 
      • In NJ, 1 adult 0 children needs nearly $19 an hour, 2 working adults with two children need over $28 an hour each. 
    • A lot of successful businesses like Costco pay above market rates, $26 an hour vs typical retail rate of $16 hour. 
    • Consider also raising pay for tenure, creates an incentive for them to stick around, think of it as paying for the value of them not leaving and having to be replaced. 
  • People are generally not working at Uber/DoorDash as a last resort, they like the flexibility. 
    • Making the effort to be more flexible with scheduling shifts could pay off in keeping employees longer, attracting more people to apply. 
    • Archetypes: single parent, locked out of the traditional work schedule because they can’t adhere to eight hours straight on a school day. College workers with classes at different times. Retirees looking to work a few hours a week to keep busy, and some people who just prefer flexibility.  
  • There are some people who just don’t want to talk to anyone as part of a job, they’d be more content with inventory management and cleaning. For others chatting up customers is their favorite thing. Is there a way to split up the tasks to accommodate that, different filters for different people and different types of people. 
  • Don’t lose them when you finally get them, in the experience of an exec from Circle K, it seems to rarely be about a small salary dispute, it’s stuff like not enough flexibility for changing life circumstance. He thinks the old model of ‘be here on time or find someplace else to work’ is dead, most people are going to feel insulted by that attitude and say “ok I will find somewhere else”, and in this economy can they can get it. Don’t put yourself through the effort of hiring another new person and training them all for want of spending some time and shifting a schedule around. 
  • Employees are your brand, value them, they’re creating a result that has an impact on the customer. 
  • Zeynep Ton, author of a book called “The Good Jobs Strategy” talked about how successful companies will design job duties for high productivity, and cross train employees in part to prevent boredom. 
  • Leaving employees some slack in their job duties is ultimately a good investment because workers use that slack for other things that come up. Without some slack, it can lead to employee overload, burnout, and ultimately turnover. The work that frontline employees are doing may often be determined by people who never do it all, and therefore may not realize the total impact of it. 
  • Think if the time saving from not having to retrain as often. 
  • Think of labor as our biggest cost so we must manage it carefully and get the most out of it, don’t think of it as our biggest cost so we must eternally cut it. It’s not about charity, it’s an investment in the health of the business.

New Upcoming NJGCA Webinar: Franchise Law Updates You Need To Know: 

If your gas station and/or c-store is a franchisee of a national brand, odds are that you haven’t thought about your franchise agreement for some time. Or maybe you’re thinking about opening a new location. Either way, this webinar is for you.   

There are franchise laws that specifically protect gas station owners in disputes with franchisors. JoinMarisa Rauchway and Mauro TucciofCSG Law on Wednesday, November 1st at 12 PM for a practical discussion about what these protections mean for your business. CSG is one of the state’s top law firms and they have been great supporters of NJGCA for several years.  

Register for the webinar at HERE or find more information at NJGCA.org.  

Member Benefit Partner Spotlight: Consumers Oil

Consumers Oil Corporation has been exceeding expectations in gas delivery for more than 85 years and we’d like to discuss how we can partner with you to reach your goals. We distribute ExxonMobil and Shell fuels. Third generation family owned and operated, we take pride in doing business the “old fashioned way,” with a personal touch. Our strategy throughout the years has been to align ourselves with branded dealers who see the value of a quality brand. In fact, Consumers Oil Corporation proudly boasts more than 40 years as an ExxonMobil branded marketer and nearly as long with Shell. Looking to sell or lease your location? Feel free to contact us. Consumers Oil Corporation is happy to work with you. Based in Trenton, New Jersey, we own and supply stations throughout the state and in Eastern Pennsylvania markets. Our philosophy is simple: We believe in straight-forward, honest business dealings, offering competitive supply contracts and providing personal hands-on service.

Top Industry News:

Available Real Estate

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Phone: 732-256-9646
eMail: info@njgca.org