NSA Global

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by Hernando Ramírez-Santos for Abasto Magazine

The National Supermarket Association is getting ready to launch the “Marca País” campaign in partnership with the government of the Dominican Republic, to promote Dominican products through supermarkets that are members of the NSA, on the East Coast of the United States.
In an interview with Abasto Magazine, José Geraldo, executive director of the National Supermarket Association, spoke about the trip to Santo Domingo by three NSA leaders, at the beginning of March, to attend the HUB Cámara Santo Domingo trade fair. They also had meetings with the Dominican authorities to work on the launch of the “Marca País” campaign.

More than 200 Dominican and international companies participated in the trade fair. The Centro de Exportación e Inversión de República Dominicana (Cei-RD) coordinated the participation of more than 80 international buyers in the business rounds and meetings with Dominican businessmen in order to know and acquire locally produced items.

Abasto Magazine: What was the reason for the trip to the Dominican Republic?

José Geraldo: In the Dominican Republic, an event called Hub was being organized by the Chamber of Commerce of Santo Domingo and the Cei-RD. They invited us to participate representing the Association, to give a little color to that event where the private sector encourages local companies to export.

AM: Why the trade interest of the members of the NSA with the Dominican Republic?

JG: The majority of independent store owners who are members of the NSA are of Dominican origin. Therefore, it is essential to create that business relationship between the owners of supermarkets, here in the US and the companies that produce Dominican goods, because there are approximately two million Dominicans in the United States. Most are located in the northeast and southeast of the country, in New York and Florida, so it is essential that products that are of Dominican origin are sold in our stores.

AM: What types of products are exported from the Dominican Republic and are found in your supermarkets?

JG: Day by day more Dominican products come to our markets. There are distribution companies, including large corporations such as Goya, which already manufacture products of Dominican origin, which are packaged under the name of Goya or other brands. The reality is that there are many agricultural products that the country is trying to export and that here in our stores sell very well, such as bananas, mango, avocado.

Nelson Eusebio, director of governmental affairs (left), José Geraldo, executive director (cen.) And William Rodríguez (right), national president of the NSA, during the meeting with representatives of Cei-RD. Photo courtesy of NSA.

AM: Who traveled to Santo Domingo?

JG: William Rodriguez, the national president of the NSA, Nelson Eusebio, who is the director of governmental affairs and I, as executive director, attended the trade fair.

AM: What was the NSA agenda during the fair?

JG: We had a well defined agenda, we met with several companies in the Hub but we also met with the Cei-RD, to whom we proposed our initiatives on the “Marca País” campaign, the partnership we will have with the Dominican State through the Dominican Consulate in New York.

AM: What does this association mean?

JG: The NSA supermarkets would support Dominican products that reach our stores. We would give them a specific space to support that product and in relation to that, the Dominican State would create an incentive through the Consulate in NY to promote Dominican brands. The CEI-RD will facilitate the processes to the Dominican companies so that they can export and at the same time have representation in our trade fair that we do in New York, which this year will be on August 21 at the Resort World Casino. The agreement is in the process of being finalized and it is expected that the President of the Dominican Republic, Danilo Medina, will sign it before the month of June.

NSA leaders met with the president of BHD Bank, engineer Luis Molina Achecar, and bank board members. Photo courtesy of NSA.

AM: What other meetings did you hold in Santo Domingo?

JG: We also met with the president of BHD Bank, engineer Luis Molina Achecar, we talked about several initiatives to promote Dominican culture abroad and using our business as a vehicle for promotion. At the same time, we talk about some projects in the banking industry that concerns our stores, where the Dominican community can make money transfers directly from our businesses, to their accounts and to their relatives in the Dominican Republic.

AM: What results did you achieve in this business trip?

JG: The main thing was to achieve the partnership with the Dominican State and with CEI-RD because that’s where the “Marca País” campaign came from. At the same time, the relationship we had with BHD Bank was very positive and we also met with Arroz Rico Company, which is one of the suppliers of Dominican products that we sell in our supermarkets, to strengthen commercial relationships. And we will be returning to the Dominican Republic to participate in the Agrifood Fair, which takes place from May 5 to 12. It is possible that during this trip we met with the Dominican president for the signing of the “Marca País” partnership.


Grocers with scanners shouldn’t need a price sticker on every item

Next time you wander the aisles of your local supermarket, take notice of the price stickers on every can of soup, box of cereal and bag of rice. Although prices are displayed on the shelves, itemized pricing on most items is required by an outdated city law. This redundant tagging is a colossal waste of time for workers, and grocers incur thousands of dollars in penalties because, inevitably, some items are missed or mislabeled.

The city's Department of Consumer Affairs makes routine inspections of small grocers and fines them up to $18 per improperly tagged item. The agency has issued more than 12,000 such violations in the past three years.

The law dates back to the 1990s, when there was concern that consumers wouldn't know an item's price until they reached the register. Advancements in price scanning and inventory-management systems now ensure that customers can feel confident that the item's price aligns with the shelf tag, which they typically can double-check with a scanner. The law has been rendered nothing but a burden on small businesses and their workers.

Small grocers in the city face a grim future with rising rents, over-regulation and competition from corporate chains and online retailers. Their regulation by the state Agriculture and Health departments and the city Health, Consumer Affairs, Environmental Protection and Sanitation departments leads to an enormous number of fines in an industry that operates on paper-thin margins.

The City Council must update its laws to reflect the new technology and provide much-needed relief to local grocery-store owners. Intro. 1145, sponsored by Brooklyn Councilman Rafael Espinal Jr., is a start. The bill would exempt grocers that have an electronic scanner available for customer use from the itemized pricing rule. Many stores already have scanners. By removing a burdensome and costly regulation, the bill would allow store employees to be more efficient in their daily routine and would spur more small grocers to add scanners, improving the customer experience.

To lessen the burden on businesses that have been cornerstones of their communities for decades, the City Council should tag the price-sticker law obsolete.


Swearing-In of Newly Elected NSA Board of Directors Performed During Ceremony


The National Supermarket Association celebrate the swearing-In of newly elected NSA Board of Directors

To Start of the ceremony, Father Erick Cruz from Catholic Charities Archdiocese of NY offered the invocation/blessing to the Newly Elected Board and the ceremony attendees. The event’s special guest, United States Congressman Adriano Espaillat, preceded by performing the NSA Swear-in to the newly elected Board of Directors.

The new NSA Board consist of; Mr. William Rodriguez President-elect, 
Samuel Collado Vice-President, Pedro Goico General Secretary, 
Frank Felix Zapata Treasurer, Jose Azcona, Ivan Bueno, Nallely de Jesus, Dionicio Liz, Angel Rafael Nuñez, Anthony Peña, and Frank Pimentel. This board will serve the NSA for a term of two years (2019 – 2020).

During the event the newly Elected National President, Mr. William Rodriguez, laid out the working platform that will be implemented with a focus on enhancement of the membership capabilities, strengthening the relationships with wholesalers, partnering up with DSD companies and building meaningful alliances with community-based organizations to support the communities they serve. In addition, Mr. Rodriguez will work closely with an external advisory board to combine diverse knowledge and experiences to guide the NSA into the next era. Furthermore, he urged everyone to work together on an aligned vision for a more prosperous and dynamic future for the NSA.

Attendance for this event, was over 250 people, from NSA members, company representatives, wholesalers, and elected officials.
The masters of ceremony were Mr. Nelson Eusebio former president of the NSA and Mr. Jose Geraldo, Executive Director of the NSA.

Founded in 1989 by a group of Hispanics entrepreneurs, the NSA is a trade association that represents the interest of independent supermarket owners in New York and Urban cities throughout the East Coast, Mid-Atlantic Region and the state of Florida.

This year the NSA is celebrating its 30th anniversary, continuing to provide its members with hands-on representation in both the private and public sectors while advocating issues that impact the entire supermarket industry.

A sizeable representation of its member base, mostly of Hispanic descent. Currently, NSA membership is over 400 independent supermarkets and growing in the aforementioned regions.

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