Texas Retailers Association - October 2021 Newsletter

This Month's Organization Update


Happy Fall everyone! I want to thank this opportunity to thank George Kelemen for his leadership for the past 6 years. Soon the organization will begin a new chapter in its 95 year history, currently our organization’s search committee led by Christy Lara is working to find the next leader for TRA.


Our 2021 Forum is around the corner.  For all of those attending the Forum, the Hyatt Lost Pines Resort in Bastrop Texas is excited to welcome the TRA.  All of the COVID protocols will be observed.  The COVID cases in Bastrop County have been dropping and on several days the cases recorded have been 0.  The City of Austin is going forward with it’s huge event ACL (Austin City Limits).  If you have not registered and want to attend, Diana will make every effort to put you in.


We have an excellent program which includes panels on cybercrime prevention, retail industry update and trends, a State policy panel and a food safety panel.  Also the TRA awards luncheon to recognize excellence in retailing and charitable work.  A number of elected officials will attend including Senator Charles Perry, Representative John Raney, Representative Shine, and Senator Eckhardt.


Also for Board members and invited guests TRA will have a special dinner on Monday evening 10/25 in appreciation for all the TRA supporters. Hope to see you there!

Theresa Flores
Texas Retailers Association


Legislative Update - Special Session Alert

The House and Senate adjourned the third special session Sine Die early Tuesday morning.  Six out of ten of the Governor’s priority items were passed, including bills which set new districts for the Texas House, Texas Senate, the State Board of Education and Congress.  Legislation related to putting restrictions on COVID-19 vaccine mandates, bail reform, and increasing criminal penalties for illegal voting did not pass.  The Governor’s Executive Orders banning vaccine mandates for local governments and businesses are still in effect.


The Legislature was able to pass legislation which allocates $16.3 billion in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). $7.2 billion will be used to refill the state’s unemployment compensation fund, $2 billion will go to the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) to be used for nurse staffing shortages due to the pandemic and for the purchasing and infusing of therapeutic drugs to treat COVID-19.  The legislature also allocated $500 million for broadband infrastructure and $3.3 billion to improve capital construction projects at our institutes of higher education.  $180 million will also be used for grants for the tourism, travel and hospitality industry that were harmed by the pandemic. 


The Texas House and Senate are also sending a constitutional amendment to the voters which will increase the state’s homestead exemption for school district property taxes from $25,000 to $40,000.  The bill author noted that if Texas voter approve this change in May 2022, they could see approximately $176 in saving on their property tax bill beginning January 2022. 


Texas Retailers Forum

Texas Retailers Forum is less than 1 week away! Please be sure to check out the schedule for the event. We look forward to seeing you in person at Hyatt Lost Pines Resort & Spa. Dress Code: Business Casual

Remember that you can still register to play golf and help support TREF!

Tee off is at 8:00am on 10/27 at the Hyatt Lost Pines Golf Course.


Hyatt Lost Pines Resort & Spa - Room Block expired!

If you still need a room for the Forum, please contact Diana Cardona at the TRA Office to make special arrangements. We cannot guarantee pricing at this point or availability but we will communicate directly with the hotel to get you accommodations if possible.


TRAPAC is in need of your support!

One of the most important actions you can take to help influence the policy making in Austin is to invest in TRAPAC or RAF, TRA’s political accounts. TRAPAC and RAF help amplify your voice at the Texas Capitol, protecting your business and our industry from legislation and regulation that could harm your bottom line. TRAPAC Support goes to: Reducing and ELIMINATING TAX BURDENS like inventory tax on property Fighting the one size fits all WAGE & LABOR ORDINANCES Fighting PAID SICK LEAVE and PREDICTIVE SCHEDULING PUSHING BACK AGAINST other anti-business regulatory burdens.  Without your support, TRA will not be making the necessary contributions this upcoming elections. Please consider making a PAC contribution via personal money or PAC to PAC.


Grocery Industry Update

Recently a group of retailers in the North Texas Area met with representative from the Dallas Police Department, US Homeland Security, US Postal Security and US Department of Justice to develop an Organized Retail Crime task force.  This group would work on large booster operations, obtain arrest warrants to present to the District Attorney for prosecution.  This model could be used in other area of the State to tackle Organized Retail Crime.  A Organized Retail Crime/Cybersecurity panel will be held at the TRA Forum on Oct. 25.


WIC Update

Recently Texas WIC administrated the re-authorization process for many food retailers in Texas.  The contracts renewed on Oct. 1.  Texas WIC required invoices to show the amount of WIC eligible product each retailer had ordered for their store and in some cases the retailers distribution center.  This required some time consuming research.


Texas WIC has a webinar scheduled Nov. 9 at 1:30PM.  Please make plans to have some one participate if your store is WIC eligible.  (put link here).

Also the Cash Value Voucher which allows the WIC customer to purchase fresh, frozen and canned fruits and vegetables has been renewed.  (put link here).  It is important for each WIC retailer to submit the UPC’s and/or PLU codes for these products.  This will ensure the retail is reimbursed properly for the sale and the customer receives the product.


The Sumer P-EBT plan has been approved.  Thus additional funds for children who were on free or reduced lunch will be loaded on Lone Star Cards beginning Nov. 29.  The estimated total amount will be $ 1 billion.  Also the State continues to apply to award the maximum benefit for family size each month.  October was approved and November will be submitted.  This is approximately an additional 15% in benefits.  Currently about 3.2 million SNAP clients are eligible.


Date: Tuesday, November 9, 2021
Time: 1:30pm - 3:00pm

Agenda Topics: Updates to Increased CVBs for Fruits and Vegetables• Vendor Training Reminders and Tips • Changes to Contract Renewals for FY23 • New Peer Grouping Methodology Implementation



And just in time for Halloween....a new Snickers bar!


Mystery Shoppers Show Opportunities For Private Brands in E-Commerce

By FMI (Food Marketing Institute)


FMI – the Food Industry Association has released its Power of Private Brands 2021: Accelerating Private Brands in Grocery Ecommerce report, revealing insights on the state of private brand promotion on digital channels.

The report includes data from consultancy FitForCommerce, which mystery shopped 25 food retailers’ e-commerce sites and identified 10 opportunities for food retailers to effectively target consumers with private brand offerings.

“Despite the shift to online grocery shopping brought on by the pandemic, grocery sales nearly doubled in the first month of the pandemic and are still nearly 50 percent higher than pre-pandemic levels.” said Doug Baker, VP of industry relations for FMI. “Therefore, it’s no surprise that 61 percent of survey respondents said e-commerce, home delivery and click and collect internet sales offer significant opportunities for private brands."


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Media Payments Group

Media Payments Group provides safe, secure, and dependable payment processing, as well as cost-effective point of sale (POS) solutions that help you run and manage your everyday business functions efficiently. The increased popularity of the virtual world has caused a greater need for credit card payment processing services and point of sale solutions . But when it comes to choosing the right provider, here’s what sets us apart from the rest:

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Max Linden | VP of Business Development

O: 844-MPGTALK | C: 713-855-9336

[email protected]


Exclusive Benefits for TRA Members

The Texas Retailers Association (TRA) has been working to help solve a problem affecting our members and every business in the US—access to affordable healthcare. COVID-19 has made that need more apparent than ever.

We are proud to bring you TRA Healthcare Solutions, available at the TRA Benefits Center website. With this solution, we can finally provide our members with access to high-quality, cost-effective health solutions that are flexible enough to meet your specific needs.


We fought to make sure that you would have access to medical, dental and vision plans from national carriers, but we didn’t stop there. This program will also provide access to cloud-based HR services, comprehensive business insurance, and new features to respond to COVID-19 like affordable telemedicine and virtual doctor visits.


Be on the lookout for more information from the TRA Benefits Center highlighting the benefits exclusive to TRA members. I encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity to support your employees.

Member Benefits Center Info | Recruiter Benefit Info

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]



A Free Benefit for Your Employees

Does your benefits package offer a financial partnership?  Having an attractive benefits package is key to attaining engaged and productive employees.  Southwest Financial understands that the financial wellness of your employees impacts your bottom line.


While Southwest Financial offers traditional banking products, we aren’t like other financial institutions.  We want everyone to Experience Better Banking!  Since 2015, we have rewarded our members almost $4 million in cash just for using our products and services.


These are just a few of the great employee benefits you can appreciate:

·         Enhance your benefits package at no cost to you

·         Increase direct deposit penetration

·         Lower overall payroll costs

·        Create more financially secure employees

·        Increase employee engagement and productivity


This is a free benefit! Learn more about this free benefit here.

Contact Venoka Daniels at [email protected] or 214.580.9930 to begin your financial partnership.

*Gallup, Workplace June 15, 2021, “7 Things We Learned About U.S. and Canadian Employees in 2020”.


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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 hereto sign up today!


Amerex - Your Energy Solutions partner!

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!


Contact: Phyllis Anzalone

(281) 340-5273 (o)

(713) 705-0006 (c)


Contact Info:

Texas Retailers Association

13706 Research Blvd


[email protected]