The Illinois Food Retailers Association (IFRA) will charge two cents to attend the educational seminars, expo and bagging competition at its upcoming annual IFRA-GMA (Grocery Merchandisers Association) Conference, which is set for Sept. 29 at the Drury Lane Conference Center in Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois.
The two-cent fee is a tangible representation of the small profit margin that food retailers realize on every dollar spent in their stores.
The two-cents promotion piggybacks onto a program hosted by the Illinois Retail Merchants Association earlier this year, when Illinois lawmakers were treated to a box lunch for $0.02 during the annual retail day at the state capitol. The box lunch served to remind them that this minuscule net profit of two cents is stretched even further with the passage of each mandate, regulatory burden and proposed tax increase from the state of Illinois and Chicago.
“We need to continue to drive that message to state lawmakers,” said IFRA President Brian Jordan. “And we encourage food retailers to attend the educational sessions at our annual conference to help them increase that two-cent margin.”
Educational sessions at this year’s IFRA-GMA Conference will include an in-depth look at online shopping and how retailers can integrate it into their businesses. Quincy, Illinois-based Niemann Foods, which operates more than 100 retail outlets, will lead the session. There also will be a special session on boosting grocers’ bottom lines through social media that will be led by food wholesaler Central Grocers and its subsidiary Strack & Van Til, which operates approximately 40 stores. Sessions also will cover legislative and regulatory issues that directly impact retailers’ profit margins.
The afternoon expo, statewide bagging championship and awards banquet will follow the education program. The annual IFRA-GMA Golf Outing is planned for Sept. 28. To register, visit ilfood.org.
IFRA is a nonprofit trade association dedicated to the growth and profitability of locally-owned and owner-operated retail food stores and the suppliers that service them. GMA is made up of executives from a wide range of consumer product companies that support the food retail industry through marketing, advertising, sales promotion and distribution.