TUCSON, Ariz. -- After wrapping up its 37th annual convention and trade show, the National Coalition of Associations of 7-Eleven Franchisees (NCASEF) outlined its recent successes and future challenges.
In 2012, NCASEF joined in supporting the class-action lawsuit by NACS and other groups against the Federal Reserve for ignoring the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform & Consumer Protection Act (HR 4173), which restrains the interchange fees banks are allowed to charge retailers.
The NACS board in mid-July rejected a settlement proposed by large banks and credit-card companies, because transparency on interchange fees would not have been achieved. The coalition supports NACS' efforts, and it "like[s] retailers' chances in this lawsuit."
The next hearing on the suit is scheduled for October 3 in Washington.
NCASEF is healthy financially and continues to grow every year. Over the past three years, it has worked hard to expand its Affiliate Member Program, which now totals more than 150 vendors.
Legislative issues facing franchisees continue to be a concern. Coalition representatives made several trips to Washington to meet with Senator Benjamin Quail (R-Ariz.) and others concerning roll-your-own (RYO) cigarette legislation to put an end to the business of renting rolling machines to consumers for the purpose of avoiding cigarette excise taxes; 11 states have since adopted legislation towards this end, and on July 6, President Obama signed a bill that included a provision that defines commercial RYO machine operators as tobacco manufacturers.
Online lotteries continue to threaten the traditional store lottery business, the group said.
Sugar taxes on soda, energy and fruit drinks have been proposed (but defeated) in many municipalities, and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has received much publicity for proposing a ban on all sugary drinks over 16 ounces in restaurants and movie theatres.
To test the limits of 7-Eleven's control over the new digital video recorders currently being installed in stores throughout the country, five franchisees have filed for mediation in regard to 7-Eleven's intent to have remote access to all stores through the new system. These franchisees will test the parameters of the store agreement with the intent of holding 7-Eleven to the terms of the security amendment not just now, but in the future. Protecting franchisees' rights is a focus of the coalition board.
Low-volume stores, encroachment, the new contract, gasoline commission, maintenance changes, the CDC flat fee, LONs and breaches, BT, eroding gross profit, credit-card fees, goodwill, accounting policies, Project E, gasoline surveys, cleanliness are among the many issues the board is working on that affecting franchisees, the group said.
NCASEF has also been busy with charitable work, raising more than $340,000 for Hire Heroes USA in a cause equity program involving 7-Eleven, franchisees and 12 vendors, and $70,000 in silent and live auctions at its convention for Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
The coalition over the last three years is approaching $1 million dollars in total charitable donations to Hire Heroes, the Muscular Dystrophy Association and Susan G. Komen For The Cure.
Support from the vendor community "has never been better," it said.
Tucson, Ariz.-based NCASEF has a membership of almost 4,000 stores and 40 franchise owners' associations around the country in the 30 states in which 7-Eleven operates. The coalition currently represents about 80% of the 7-Eleven franchisee community.