Texas Retailers Association

August 2020

In This Issue...

  1. Letter from the President COVID-19, Legislative Session, Joe Williams' Passing
  2. Update - Joe Williams
  3. Free Resources - Coronavirus Risk Mitigation from Marsh Wortham, Southwest Financial, Lifelock, Amerex
  4. Grocery Industry Update -  WIC/SNAP & Produce Trends

Letter From the President

Hello Texas Retailers!

It’s August, so that means back to school--whether virtually, in-person, or a mix of both, as well as the end of one of the most surreal summers many of us can remember. That said, we hope you enjoyed brisk back to school sales and are staying safe and healthy as we continue to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Since our last newsletter, one month ago, the Texas economy remains mostly open, but with restrictions. All Texas retailers can operate at a minimum of 50% occupancy, must require face covering of all individuals (per the Governor’s statewide face covering order issued in early July), and ensure social distancing. Given the significant spike in COVID-19 cases in Texas during late June and July, the state’s reopening was paused in place -- essentially where it was in mid to late June.

The TRA team continues to be a key resource for our members and industry, as well as for local, state, and federal authorities who are making critical decisions for the communities across our state during this time. We are keeping members as up to date as possible via the TRA website – www.txretailers.org and suggest you check it often for important updates, details, and resources. We believe our collective efforts have been effective throughout the pandemic and we are committed to continuing to be your trusted voice.

Although things are at a slower pace legislatively this month, TRA’s work on behalf of the Texas retail industry continues. We continue to prepare for the next session of the Texas Legislature, which will begin in January and focus significantly on issues related to the impacts of COVID-19 across our state. In an effort to have a better understanding as to what we may expect, TRA hosted Texas Comptroller, Glenn Hegar, on the July TRA Board Zoom meeting.  We will continue to engage with our state’s elected officials and look for opportunities to have them directly connect with TRA members between now and the end of the year.

On the federal level, the Congress is officially on their August recess, and left as negotiations on a Phase 4 COVID stimulus bill stalled. Looking ahead to when they return in September, coming to an agreement on the next COVID stimulus bill, as well as addressing the federal funding, which expires on Sept. 30th, will be their top priorities. TRA remains very engaged with our national retail association partners on ensuring that liability protection for retail workers is included in the next COVID relief bill.

That said, the 2020 election is quickly approaching, and it will be a hugely important election. NOW is the time to engage with your elected officials (state and federal) and find opportunities to discuss the state and federal issues that matter most to you and your business. We encourage you to start to get to know the candidates running for elective office in your areas as we approach the election. TRA will be facilitating several opportunities with both state and federal elected officials this fall. We are planning several Zoom meeting opportunities with key state legislators between September 1st and October 31st, and with our partners at the National Retail Federation (NRF), we will be hosting a Congressional Town Hall virtual meeting on September 22nd. More details regarding each of these opportunities will be forthcoming in the next few weeks, so make plans to participate.

We also encourage you to consider contributing to your industry Political Action Committee (PAC), the Texas Retailers Association PAC (TRAPAC), so we can continue to help support retail friendly elected officials. You can get the latest information on TRA’s advocacy efforts, as well as information on how you or your company can contribute to TRAPAC, by visiting the TRA website at: www.txretailers.org.

Lastly, as many of you know, our friend and colleague, Joe Williams, passed away in late July. Like many of you who knew and had the pleasure of working with Joe over the years, we have been deeply saddened by his death. Joe retired from TRA in the summer of 2018 and had been enjoying his retirement from a long and well-respected career in the grocery and food industry in which he contributed so much. However, even in retirement, he maintained his passion for our association’s educational foundation to which he dedicated much of his efforts over the years, serving as the Treasurer of TREF these past two years. Our collective thoughts and prayers are with the Williams family during this difficult time.

Joe’s family is finalizing plans for a celebration of his life in mid-September. As we receive details about the celebration, we will pass them along to the TRA family.

Thank you.

George Kelemen

TRA President/CEO

  Update on Joe Williams Passing

Grocers throughout Texas, the Southwest and nation are mourning the loss of longtime industry leader Joe Williams.

Williams was the former VP for regulatory and member services of the Texas Retailers Association. He later served as a consultant with the TRA’s Texas Food Council, as well as the Texas Retailers Education Foundation. According to a statement from the TRA, Williams died July 25, 2020. 

Click here to read the rest of the article by Shelby Report.

If you have questions, please email us.


Email [email protected] or visit www.txretailers.org to make a donation to TRAPAC!


Free Resources from Marsh Wortham


Marsh has excellent resources to assist clients with response and risk mitigation surrounding these and other Pandemic outbreaks.  Marsh is providing TRA members some free resources below: 

If you want to follow up with Marsh Wortham regarding their resources, please contact David Hebert using the contact information below. The Marsh Wortham Pandemic Risk team is the best in the business!

Texas Retailers Association is still exploring opportunities to source best-in-class benefits for members, including medical, vision, dental, life insurance, and more. But WE NEED YOUR HELP

Please click here to take this five-minute survey.
If you are not the right person to fill this out, please pass the message on to human resources or operations manager to assist us with gauging interest in the program.

More Information about Marsh Wortham: 

Marsh Wortham is a division of Marsh USA Inc. the largest insurance broker in the U.S., and provides insurance placement and employee benefits, and risk management consulting services. 

  • We are comprised of offices across Texas, and in Oklahoma and Louisiana. Our parent company is Marsh & McLennan Companies (NYSE: MMC), the leading global professional services firm in the areas of risk, strategy, and people. 
  • Marsh places more than $1 billion in premiums every year for our retail clients which comprise more than half of the top 100 retail companies in the U.S. and all of the top 10.

David J. Hebert, Vice President - Client Executive
Office 713.276.8012
Cell: 281.606.2247
[email protected]

Christina Scott, Vice President - Client Executive
Office 572.379.2698
Cell: 512.497.4626
[email protected]


We’re excited at the opportunity for you to join us!

Southwest Financial offers companies a Financial Wellness Partnership that’s available to their employees.  We provide a personalized experience from a solid financial institution by offering competitive products and services. 

Financial stress is increasing exponentially daily!  Southwest Financial invites you to participate in our free Financial Wellness Partnership. 

How does a Financial Wellness partnership benefit you and your employees?

  • Provides your employees with easy access to a banking partner like no other
  • Increases direct deposit penetration, which reduces overall payroll costs
  • Provides your employees with free financial education
  • Gives your employees access to credit they may not be able to get elsewhere
  • Enhances your employee benefits package at no additional cost to you
  • Include Southwest Financial as part of your health, wellness and benefit enrollment

 Credit union affiliation is a free way to improve your benefits package, improve employee engagement and provide added value to your employees.  Contact Venoka Daniels today at [email protected] or 214.580.9930 to give your employees access to a financial partner.


As a member, you receive 10% off LifeLock services and you can live freely knowing that LifeLock is searching over a trillion data points every minute of every day looking for potential threats to your identity. When LifeLock finds your personal information being used, they will alert you through their patented Identity Alert System. Click here to sign up today!


 A TRA-endorsed service provider since 2002, Amerex is the largest OTC (wholesale) natural gas, electricity and emissions trader in North America. Their real-time involvement in the wholesale energy market and their customized service has consistently yielded significant cost savings to TRA members. Save on your gas, or electricity! Click Here to Learn More

Email: [email protected]


 Grocery Industry Update


The SNAP program called P-EBT continues to provide additional Lone Star card benefits to families who have school aged children on free or reduced lunch programs.  Currently over $800 million has been loaded onto Lone Star cards.  About 90% has been spent and over $75 million is still available.  In addition, the State of Texas has requested waivers to allow the Texas SNAP agency to raise the September SNAP benefits to the maximum of family size.  More details to follow.  Texas Health and Human Services will continue to have daily calls at 1:30PM (Mon.-Fri.)

Recently TRA held a Zoom meeting of the Food Council.  Celeste Lunceford, WIC Director, was a featured guest.  She shared WIC stats plus announced the agency will be working with TRA to implement online payment capabilities similar to the SNAP online program.

One category of product has done fairly well during the COVID season:  Candy and other comfort type foods.  As we approach Halloween, the Trick or Treat tradition will certainly have some changes, but candy will still be popular.  Please seen below.

Consumers Finding Continued Comfort from Sweets & Treats 
Safety: New Gold Standard In Customer Loyalty

For questions on Grocery Industry Issues, please contact Gary Huddleston


Contact Information | 1250 S Capital of Texas Hwy 3-400 | (512) 472-8261