September 3, 2018
MnRA Board Chair Lonnie McQuirter recognizes Board members during Thursday's Retail+Policy Legislator Meet and Greet Dinner at Mall of America.
Happy Labor Day! Wondering How Labor Day Got Its Beginning?
"More than 100 years after the first Labor Day observance, there is still some doubt as to who first proposed the holiday for workers.

Some records show that Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a cofounder of the American Federation of Labor, was first in suggesting a day to honor those "who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold."

But Peter McGuire's place in Labor Day history has not gone unchallenged. Many believe that Matthew Maguire, a machinist, not Peter McGuire, founded the holiday. Recent research seems to support the contention that Matthew Maguire, later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, N.J., proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York. What is clear is that the Central Labor Union adopted a Labor Day proposal and appointed a committee to plan a demonstration and picnic."

How In-Car Tech Will Give New Meaning To 'Mobile Commerce'
From the Retail Dive, Robert Williams. August 28, 2018

In-car commerce technology that lets people pay for gas, order food and see offers from brands and retailers on the digital dashboards of connected vehicles is giving new meaning to the term "mobile commerce."

U.S. consumers spend a lot of time behind the wheel commuting to work, running errands or taking road trips to vacation spots, and interactive platforms increasingly will help them make the most of their travels. The average commute time has increased 20% since 1980, when the U.S. Census Bureau began asking people about their driving habits, as more traffic has congested roads and unaffordable housing near job centers has led many people to move further away from work.

About 135 million people, or 54% of the U.S. adult population, rely on a car to get to work, and they typically spend 15 to 30 minutes each way, according to a study this year from Visa and

Those drivers are responsible for $212 billion of spending during their commutes, including $59.6 billion on gasoline. Nearly three quarters of all commuters surveyed, and 82% of millennials with long commutes, said they would shop more if the ability to shop and pay were integrated into their car, the survey of 2,000 people found.
October 9, Retail Rally: Where Innovative Retailers And Their Partners Gather, Learn and Celebrate
Retailers Respond To Preliminary NAFTA Deal With Mexico
From the National Retail Federation, August 27, 2018

The National Retail Federation today issued the following statement from President and CEO Matthew Shay after the United States and Mexico announced a preliminary deal on the North American Free Trade Agreement.

“Coming to terms with Mexico is an encouraging sign, but threatening to pull out of the existing agreement is not. NAFTA supports millions of U.S. jobs and provides hardworking American families access to more products at lower prices. To preserve these benefits and protect complex, sophisticated and efficient supply chains, the administration must bring Canada, an essential trading partner, back to the bargaining table and deliver a trilateral deal. We hope all parties will resolve their remaining differences, and we will assess any final agreement based on whether it promotes U.S. economic growth and continues to improve the lives of American workers and consumers.”
Afton Set To Vote On Single-Use Plastics Ban
From the Star Tribune, Mara Kletcher, September 2, 2018

Commercial businesses in Afton soon may do away with plastic straws and utensils.

The City Council is expected to vote this month on a draft ordinance to ban noncompostable or nonrecycleable food service items after recently agreeing to develop such a measure.

The ordinance would also ban plastic bags in all commercial activities, including vendors who set up shop at Afton events.

Bill Palmquist, the council member behind the effort, hopes the city’s ordinance will inspire other Minnesota communities to follow suit.

“Afton is known for its beautiful location,” Palmquist said. “I think those who live here and come here are supportive of keeping it that way.”

The movement to eliminate single-use plastic drinking straws has ramped up in recent years. Several cities across the country have implemented bans, and companies big and small have committed to using more eco-friendly options.
City Council Member Bill Palmquist hopes the city’s ordinance will inspire other Minnesota communities to follow suit.

Afton’s ordinance would allow restaurants to offer bendable plastic straws to customers with disabilities. It would take effect one year after it passes, allowing time for businesses to find compostable and recyclable options.