November 2, 2023

Election Day Approaches!

This coming Tuesday, November 7th is Election Day in New Jersey. All 120 seats in our state Legislature are on the ballot, and there are several very competitive races across the state. Unlike many previous years, Republicans are seen as having a strong chance to make gains and perhaps even fight their way to a tie in the state Senate and a one seat majority in the Assembly, though that would require a sweep of every competitive race. At the end of the sixth year of Gov. Murphy's tenure, and the twentieth year of Democratic control of the Legislature, Democratic candidates are mostly playing defense and trying to hold on to their seats this year. 

By now you should have received our annual Voter Guide in the mail, with details about which district you live in, how your current representatives have voted on the issues that matter to our industries, and how they and their opponents weighed in our candidate survey. If you haven't received it yet, or prefer to read it online, CLICK HERE to download a pdf copy of the magazine and take a look.

With only legislative, county, and local races on the ballot, turnout is expected to be very low. In a typical presidential election more than 70% of registered voters in the state will cast a ballot. When it's an election for governor it's a little under 50%, but this year it's expected to be just around 25%. While that's not a good sign overall, it does mean that your individual ballot can genuinely make a difference. Polls are open at your regular local polling station on Tuesday from 6am until 8pm. NJ now also has early, in-person voting, which can be a great option if you think you might be busy on Tuesday. There are never lines, and you use the same machine as would on election day. You can visit any of the early voting sites in your county, and can find the list here. Early voting runs through Sunday. 

NJGCA's Political Action Committee (PAC) has donated over $26,000 this year to worthy candidates on the ballot, including over $11,000 just in the last two months. Unlike some other groups, we don't just mail a check and hope for the best, we attend every event and speak to every candidate to advocate for our industries and build relationships. Thanks to everyone who responded to our recent mailing with a donation. Unfortunately, this being an election year we have spent more than we have taken in, so if you are able and haven't already we would appreciate a contribution to NJGCA PAC by mailing a check and this form to our office.

Oregon Pushback Against Self-Serve:

As you likely know, Oregon legalized a self-serve option across the entire state earlier this year. Their law still requires all stations to offer full-serve at at least half of their pumps, at the same price as self-serve. Unlike in New Jersey, many of the gas attendants in OR are apparently unionized, and now that union has announced that they are planning to push a voter referendum that would completely repeal all forms of self-serve in that state. One union official said “Getting self-serve gas hasn’t helped anyone [...] it has, however, put people out of work, made [getting gas] less accessible and made stations more dangerous. The only pro side is if you’re an oil company.” If they do get enough signatures, it would be on the ballot next November. 

Some have asked if we could launch a referendum here in New Jersey to try and legalize self-serve. Unlike most states, New Jersey has no way for members of the public to put an issue on the ballot to vote on. The only way an issue makes it to the ballot is if it is a proposed amendment to our state constitution, and those can only get on the ballot if both houses of the state Legislature choose to put it on the ballot. If we were able to get the leadership of both houses of the Legislature, and a majority of the members of both houses, to support a form of self-serve we would just have them pass a bill rather than add the step of sending it to the public, who could very well vote against any proposal. 

Final Week! Annual Turkey Charity Drive:

In order to ensure that our donations are received early enough to make a difference for Thanksgiving itself, we are asking everyone to make their contribution by the end of the day next Wednesday, November 8th. So far we are running behind our collections from the last two years! Thank you to those who have contributed. If you are able, please consider donating HERE

NJGCA at NACS Misc. Notes: 

We've already talked about some insights from the annual National Association of Convenience Stores convention regarding labor and the future of fuels. Here are some other interesting miscellaneous ideas/tips from their education sessions:  

  • If the bathroom wasn’t clean, the customer may not come back, that's hard to quantify--doesn’t necessarily show up in the stats.
  • A slow-moving item on the shelf may be costing you money because it adds to the complexity for the employee to track and restock. 
  • Self-Checkout tips
    • Increasingly the industry isn’t calling it ‘self-checkout’ but something like ‘employee assisted checkout’ because there still needs to be an employee around for tobacco sales and because it’s better branding in the eyes of a lot of customers. Also doesn’t lead to your employees thinking they’re getting eliminated.
    • One store owner found that in order for people to use the self-checkout it needed to be right in the middle of the store to draw the eye. Sticking it near the door led to many customers not even noticing it. Many customers come in to the store on ‘autopilot’, they grab what they want and just walk toward where they see a cashier. 
    • Having two self-checkout machines led to 70% greater usage than just having one, it gave a stronger stage presence and wasn’t seen as some side gimmick. 
  • One use of AI technology that’s rolling out involves putting up a camera facing the wall of tobacco products behind the counter and having an AI program track everything. Every time a product is taken off the shelf it's noted, if something runs out it can send an alert and track how long it took for the employee to restock. 
  • One store owner shared that they made a big investment in redoing the inside of the store and adding a nice new hot food selection, but no one realized so they had to upgrade the outside of the store just to get people curious enough to walk in and see the improvements.
  • Bundles are very effective in encouraging people to buy two of something they otherwise would have bought zero of.
  • Offer a sale of something like 25¢ off each, 40¢ off for two. People are attracted by the bigger number, but you actually save 10¢ because otherwise 25¢ off for two would be 50¢ in total.
  • C-stores are community stores, closer to the customer than anyone. Physically they’re all over the place, but also closer in terms of the role they play in many customers’ lives. 

Member Benefit Partner Spotlight: Ewing Oil & Liberty Petroleum

Liberty Petroleum was founded in 2000 by three veteran mid-Atlantic distributors with a straightforward goal: to level the playing field for independent retailers. Today, distributors are flying the Liberty banner at more than 400 distinctly-branded Liberty retail locations across the country from New Jersey and Louisiana to Kansas and Idaho. 

They're constantly monitoring market developments, strengthening their supplier relationships in key areas of the country, and using Liberty's collective buying power to negotiate from a position of strength. This is especially true to lock in credit card rates that are substantially better than those offered by the major oil companies.

Their favorable formula pricing is tied to market indexes and their goal is to give you the insight to make better decisions and increase profitability. They offer one of the lowest prices on premium in the industry, and they're here to support your business so that you enjoy the freedom to compete. 

In addition to their own-branded Liberty Fuel, they also distribute Citgo branded products as well as commercial buying capability. 

You can contact Tom Gennari at 908-938-1110 or Wayne Hummel for more info


DateRack AverageShiftAvg w taxesLow RackAvg RetailAvg MarginDiesel Avg Rack

Top Industry News:

Available Real Estate

Cape Harbor Shell

795 Route 109

Unit B

Lower Township, NJ, 08204

CLICK HERE to view the listing

Our Road Warrior newsletter is brought to you by the following Member Benefit Partners:

New Jersey Gasoline-Convenience-Automotive Association
615 Hope Road, Bldg. 2, 1st Floor
Eatontown, NJ 07724


Phone: 732-256-9646