Ohio’s retail economy has not been immune to the higher food prices being felt nationwide, according to Kristin Mullins, president and CEO of the Ohio Grocers Association.
“While our retailers always look to provide the best prices for our customers, costs and supply chain challenges force our prices up while trying to remain competitive,” she said, adding that labor also is an issue.
Ohio has a year-round legislative body. As a result, the OGA is watching any bills that could help retailers. Two of the more prominent proposals involve changes to commercial driver licenses and positive child care initiatives, according to Mullins.
“The CDL and child care laws are perfect examples of us trying to boost the labor market here in Ohio,” she said. “We pride ourselves on being here for our members for whatever their needs are.”
The association also is guarding against any proposed tax increases or regulation changes. In addition, it is advocating for allocated funding toward the Healthy Food for Ohio program. The project’s main priority is addressing the state’s food deserts.
Mullins, alongside with state lawmakers, founded the HFFO in 2016, according to the association’s website.
“HFFO will provide loans and grants to food retailers developing new or renovating existing fresh food retail in low-income underserved communities throughout Ohio,” the website states.
Ohio has been dealing with a couple of recent high-profile train derailments, according to Mullins. She noted two instances where retailers aided their communities in the aftermath. “One member reported giving free water to anyone in need. Others have extended hours,” she said.
At the time of this publication, the OGA was preparing for its largest fundraiser of the year – the Brown Bag Celebration on April 29 at the Station 67 event center in Columbus. The event was scheduled to feature networking opportunities, awards presentations, “Best Of” competitions and the state’s Best Bagger competition.
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