New Year's Resolution for C-Stores: Join NATO

Members receive personal response and news and exclusive focus

Published in Tobacco E-News

By
Thomas A. Briant, Executive Director

In just the past 18 months, major convenience store chains operating more than 20,000 stores have joined NATO, the premier national retail trade association that works exclusively on local, state and federal tobacco issues. These convenience store chains joined NATO to receive the most accurate, up-to-date information on tobacco legislation and FDA regulations -- as well as to have their questions answered about specific tobacco legislation or FDA regulations. For 2012, I urge convenience store chains to join NATO, and begin to realize the numerous benefits of membership.

Personal Response

As the executive director and legal counsel for NATO, association retail members have found that they can call or email me with a question, and I am able to provide them with an answer or find the information they need to operate their stores in compliance with state laws and federal regulations. This ability to contact NATO and receive a direct reply from me has proven to be invaluable to convenience store members.

News and Exclusive Focus

But being able to call or contact me with a question is only one of the numerous benefits of membership in NATO for convenience stores. Another valuable benefit includes receiving the members-only NATO News e-mail bulletins with news reports on tobacco legislation, FDA regulations and tobacco litigation.  Judging from members’ feedback, the NATO News is one of the best sources for information on current tobacco issues.

In addition, NATO is the only national retail association that works on local, state and federal tobacco issues. For example, during 2011, NATO has responded to (1) cigarette and tobacco tax proposals in Danville, Va., and Cook County, Ill., (2) graphic health warning image signs at retail in Philadelphia, Penn., (3) a ban on single cigar sales in Boston, Mass., and (4) an outdoor and in-store tobacco advertising ban in Worcester, Mass. Whether you operate stores in these localities or not, NATO's actions opposing these issues may prevent other local governments across the country from adopting similar taxes and restrictions.

Also during 2011, only two out of 19 states enacted cigarette and/or OTP tax increases. NATO assisted its retail members in each of these states to oppose these unfair tax increases. NATO has perfected grassroots strategies to respond to tobacco tax increases and these strategies benefit every member of the association.

NATO Show

Finally, the new NATO Show is an all tobacco trade show event for tobacco retailers, which is unlike any other tobacco-related show. Every major tobacco manufacturer across all segments of the tobacco industry exhibit at the NATO Show and convenience stores are encouraged to plan to attend the 2012 NATO Show. For more information, visit www.NATOShow.com.

Cost: $20 per Store or Less

The membership dues for convenience stores are $20 per store with a maximum dues amount of $1,500 for chains with 75 or more stores. This small investment per store pays big dividends in information and legislative advocacy that you will not find with any other national retail trade association.

With the New Year approaching, I urge convenience-store chains to take an important step and print this 2012 NATO Membership Form and join NATO. For additional information, please feel free to call me at 1-866-869-8888 (I answer my own phone) or email me at info@natocentral.org. Thank you for considering NATO membership and have a very Happy New Year!