Flushing, NY, April 28, 2016
THE NATIONAL SUPERMARKET ASSOCIATION HOSTED A CITY COUNCIL ROUNDTABLE
National Supermarket Association President Rodolfo Fuertes, hosted a City Council roundtable with Councilmembers Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, Rory Lancman, Antonio Reynoso, Paul Vallone, and, not pictured, Eric Ulrich and Ydanis Rodriguez. About recent and future bills with direct impact on the borough’s grocery industry. The National Supermarket Association, based in Flushing, largely represents Hispanic-owned independent supermarkets in New York and major East Coast urban areas.
Its members discussed street vendors, worker retention policies, rising rents and overregulation in general at a dinner and roundtable meeting with Councilmembers Julissa Ferreras-Copeland (D-East Elmhurst), Rory Lancman (D-Fresh Meadows), Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park), Paul Vallone (D-Bayside), Antonio Reynoso (D-Brooklyn, Queens) and Ydanis Rodriguez (D-Manhattan).
Thomas Grech, executive director of the Queens Chamber of Commerce, served as the moderator.
In recent terms the Council has approved an expansion of streetcart vendor permits, particularly those selling fresh produce. It has also established a 90-day job protection mandate for workers, no matter how good or bad, following the sale of a supermarket.
Today, Thursday, the Council is expected to vote on a 5-cent per bag fee on most plastic and paper shopping bags. It also is working on a bill to consolidate commercial waste collection by territory rather than by business owner’s choice.
David Corona, a past president of the NSA and former Queens’s grocery store owner, hit Council members right out of the starting gate.
“What can you do about taxes and regulations?” he asked. “What about vendor reform?” Others asked about possible limits on rent increases, and in general more consultation with grocery store owners when bills come up that affect them.
The Council members addressed all items — except for taxes. The members said they as franchise owners with family-owned stores should not be confused with large national or regional grocery chains.
“We don’t have a real estate guy in the office checking out possible new locations,” one owner said.