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April 27, 2022
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 Inside this issue
  Executive Directors Message  









Next week is the start of the statewide plastic bag ban, and given the significance of this change and how it affects every retail business in this state, you want to be prepared, particularly with the supply chain issues we've all seen the last two years. 

As part of legislation that was passed and signed into law in November 2020, on May 4th (a week from today) a variety of restrictions will come into effect dealing with bags and Styrofoam products. All single-use plastic carryout bags will be banned at all retail stores in the state. Single-use paper bags will still be allowed, but only for convenience stores under 2,500 square feet and businesses that do not sell food. Paper bags are generally more expensive than plastic bags, and c-stores under 2,500 sq. ft. are free to choose not to provide them at all and instead ask customers to either go bagless or purchase a reusable carryout bag. Stores could also charge a small fee for a paper bag if they wished to. Reusable carryout bags are defined as a bag that "(1) is made of polypropylene, PET nonwoven fabric, nylon, cloth, hemp product, or other machine washable fabric; (2) has stitched handles; and (3) is designed and manufactured for multiple reuse." We encourage you to stock some of these bags for sale to customers.

There are several small exemptions to the plastic bag ban: a bag used solely to contain uncooked meat or fish, a bag used to package loose items like fruit, nuts, coffee, candy, flowers, small hardware items, etc., a bag used to contain food sliced or prepared to order including soup or hot food, a newspaper bag. 

Also banned are most food packaging products made of expanded polystyrene foam, commonly known as Styrofoam. This includes drink cups and food containers. There are several exceptions: disposable long-handled foam soda spoons used for thick drinks, portion cups 2oz or less, trays for raw meat or fish, and food that was prepackaged by the manufacturer with Styrofoam.

One benefit of this law is that once it goes into effect next week it totally overrides all local rules and ordinances covering these items, so if your local government had either prohibited paper bags or required your store to charge a fee for them, they will no longer be required to do so. Also, the penalty for violating any provision of this law is a warning for the first offense. The State has also set up a dedicated webpage for business owners covering these rules, which includes a list of vendors and distributors who sell approved reusable bags. 



It has come to our attention that there has been an increase in crime on a few fronts that we need to warn you to be on the lookout for. First is a new method of fuel pump tampering similar to credit card skimming using pulsar manipulation devices. By installing this device inside gas pumps, criminals gain the ability to change the price of gas to as low as a penny a gallon using a remote. They then fill up their tanks and change the price back. Between credit card skimmers and now the emergence of this device, we again urge you to check your pumps every day. In the past, we have recommended using security tape to determine if gas dispensers have been tampered with. The tape can be placed on access hatches and doors to indicate if credit card skimming equipment has been inserted inside the gas dispenser. This tape can also be applied to the dispenser credit card reader or inside POS terminals to provide visual authentication that a 'skimmer overlay' is not present. There are several different types of this tape that can be used, some have serial numbers on them (to cut down on the possibility that someone will show up with the exact type of sticker and place over the one they've broken); while others have unique verbiage on them. If any equipment is tampered with, the sticker will show the verbiage or the serial number, indicating that a skimmer may have been installed. If you are not utilizing tape or some other mechanism to find skimmers you should be. If you inspect your pumps every day, then the most you will go is a 24 hour period with the skimmer undetected. This is an especially important precautionary measure if you have not upgraded your credit card readers to EMV at the pumps.

Here are some links to different types of security tapes:





In addition to this, we have seen reports from other states that there has been an increase in shoplifting in convenience stores, especially in urban areas. The police are not investigating them, and people are able to sell stolen products on Amazon and in flea markets. We have also heard of a major increase in car thefts across the state. People often leave key fobs in their vehicles, making them vulnerable to theft. Repair shop owners should be especially mindful of this. If you have experienced any of the above issues, please notify us right away so we can warn members. To get ahead of the issue, if you do not have a video security system in place, I urge you to contact our MBP Dan Goff at Able-Tech to go over options on upgrading your businesses security system. 


Rate increases for Visa and MasterCard went into effect Friday. Visa and MasterCard say the fees help cover costs related to innovation and preventing fraud, though most of the interchange fee, goes to banks issuing the cards. A much smaller slice goes to Visa and MasterCard solely for the use of their network to process the transaction. A judiciary hearing discussing credit card fees was just scheduled to address the issue of increasing fees, which we may need you to contact your legislators for in the future. You can read the letter sent from Congress to the credit card companies HERE. As you may recall, several years ago NJGCA, along with several of our allied retail groups, worked hard on legislation in Trenton that would have forced competition into the way credit card fees are set, ultimately lowering them across the board. Unfortunately, we were not successful as big banks came out of the woodwork to scare legislators away from acting on what would have been first in the nation model legislation. We remain hopeful, especially if there is movement elsewhere, to be able to take up this issue again. 


Our scholarship application is now live and we are accepting both mailed and online applications. Last year, NJGCA awarded four scholarships to children of NJGCA members and the children of employees of NJGCA members. A total of $10,000 was awarded with $5000 being contributed thanks to the generosity of Utica Insurance. Utica Insurance is the insurance company that insures many NJGCA members. The contribution was arranged by NJGCA MBP Amato Agency. Once again Utica has contributed $5000 towards a scholarship that is to be awarded to a student attending an automotive technical school or studying automotive technology. The NJGCA Board of Directors has also approved additional awards. Each NJGCA member will be entitled to submit ONE application that will be reviewed by the scholarship committee. Applicants may be either the child of a member, or an employee, or the child of an employee that works for the NJGCA member. You can find both the mail-in application and the online application HERE. Do not forget to include the other documentation required (transcripts, essays, etc) to be considered.


There isn't a lot to say on the current state of the marketplace, though I thought it may be important to update those of you who do not necessarily follow the trends. For those of you who may only be getting one load a week, you may be noticing giant differences in price from one load to the next. Its important for you to recognize that rack prices have been going up. They go up and down overnight and the differences we have seen have been anywhere from 5 to 25 cents every day. As always, we will continue to keep you updated on any big changes or disruptors that may be coming down the pike.            

Be Well -  

Sal Risalvato
Executive Director




  Training Class Schedule  

All classes held at NJGCA HQ -- 4900 Route 33 West, Wall Township, NJ 07753


ASE Training Course - Reach Out Today!

Are you (or an employee) getting ready to take your A6, A8, or L1 in preparation to recertifying your Emission Repair Technician (ERT) credentials through the State's Emission Technician Education Program (ETEP)?  

We can help --- but we need to hear from you, first! 
NJGCA wants to hear from students interested in our ASE-prep training program, so we can gauge demand and schedule our next session series. 

As you know, the NJ Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) has always maintained a "dual-track" system to allow technicians to earn their Emission Repair Technician (ERT) credentials through New Jersey's Emission Technician Education Program (ETEP). In doing so, technicians were allowed to certify as ERTs through either an ASE-test track or an ETEP-educational class track. Starting on January 1, 2020, NJDEP amended the ETEP criteria, and the ETEP-educational class track was abolished.  

Today, only the ASE-test track remains, and all ERTs must certify or re-certify their credentials though ASE to remain in the Program. 

NJGCA has recently offered an ASE-prep class to help you get ready for the A6, A8, and L1. In doing so, students were welcome to participate in a ten-session preparatory class that covered material for all three ASE exams. We also had a handful of students who joined us only for the A8 or L1 sections.  

Once completed, students took their ASE exams with a local ASE-approved test proctor (NJGCA can train you to prepare for the ASE exams, but are not permitted to offer the actual exam - students must make these arrangements individually themselves). 

Building on that success, we are now seeking student participation in our next training series session. To make arrangements and organize a session, we need to hear from you! 

If you are interested, please email us at training@njgca.org ASAP. 

We'll record your interest, inquire on your availability, and schedule a class once we have a full complement of students.   

Only with your feedback can we gauge student headcount and participation.  

Please reach out to us today, and thank you for your interest! 

Contact Nick De Palma at Nick@njgca.org to inquire about potential trainings and class dates



  News Around The State  


Illinois Gas Stations Required to Post Gas Tax Relief Sign

Illinois gas stations will have to display a sign with specific language about a six-month gas tax suspension in the state, reports NewsChannel 20. From July 1 until December 31, 2022, gas station owners will have to post a sign by the gas pump that reads "As of July 1, 2022, the State of Illinois has suspended the inflation adjustment to the motor fuel tax through December 31, 2022. The price on this pump should reflect the suspension of the tax increase." If gas station owners do not post the message, they could face fines of $500 per day. There are 3,708 convenience stores that sell gas in the state of Illinois.


Swipe Fees Continue to Hurt Merchants, Consumers

Credit card swipe fees are still a battle between retailers and the credit card company that impose billions in fees, reports USA Today. On average, the American family spends approximately $700 a year because of swipe fees. Since credit card swipe fees are levied as percentage of the total transaction cost, they serve as an inflation multiplier as prices rise. These fees "get factored into the cost of everything consumers buy," Doug Kantor, NACS' general counsel, told USA Today. "This is bad for merchants, bad for consumers and bad for inflation."


NJ Plastic Bag Ban: Small Businesses Stuck With Leftover Bags They Can't Use

The upcoming plastic bag ban in New Jersey is leaving many small businesses with a ton of bags and few options for what can be done with them. Lawmakers gave businesses from when the law was signed in November 2020 to when it takes effect on May 4 to get rid of old inventory and search for alternatives. Small businesses, whose profit margins are often small to begin with, have already had to deal with the pandemic and rising inflation. The bag ban is another challenge. "It is unfortunate," said John Holub, president and chief executive officer of the New Jersey Retail Merchants Association. "This definitely has some impacts that I don't think were considered along the way."


Brazen Auto Theft In Monmouth County, NJ Didn't Have To Happen (Opinion)
High-end cars are being stolen and in a bold fashion, according to police. It's happening at all times of day and sometimes in broad daylight. Auto theft has already been an increasing problem across the country and here in New Jersey. But law enforcement says in Monmouth County, thieves have kicked it up a notch in the past week. Being vigilant means not only being aware of your surroundings, because some of these audacious thefts have happened with the car owner standing just a few feet away. It also means locking your cars, because in most cases they're hitting the unlocked ones. Also, these car thieves have been known to be carrying weapons, according to police.



  Energy Information Agency Weekly Retail Gasoline Prices  

Each week, the Energy Information Administration publishes a list of average gasoline prices for the previous three weeks. NJGCA will begin including this list with the Weekly Road Warrior. Remember, these prices are reflective of self-serve everywhere except NJ.




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  Classifieds: For Sale and Help Wanted Ads  

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