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RILOC: A Fresh Face for Retailer Advocacy

Nick Fede, Jr., Director, Rhode Island Liquor Operators Collaborative.

By Nick Fede, Jr., Director, Rhode Island Liquor Operators Collaborative

Rhode Island Liquor Operators Collaborative (RILOC) fights for the interests of Rhode Island’s independent liquor retailers. While many of our concerns are legislative—and, believe me, there are plenty of legislative concerns—one area of focus is and will continue to be community.

Since our inception three years ago, our organization has strived to improve the sense of community for liquor retailers in our state. RILOC was formed with the full blessing of previous organizations including the United Independent Liquor Retailers Association of Rhode Island and Rhode Island Liquor Stores Association.

Our retail community is as diverse as ever—and the makeup of RILOC supporters reflects that. Our supporters come from all corners of the state and from a large variety of cultural backgrounds. We are supported by stores large and small, and advocate with everyone’s needs in mind. The culture and community we are creating is special and I would encourage any store owner to participate and help our cause.

Independent store owners and members of Rhode Island Liquor Operators Collaborative (RILOC) at the Rhode Island State House.

From a legislative standpoint, there have been many moving parts in recent years from both a local and a national perspective. RILOC has taken an active role in Anvar v. Dwyer, which challenges Rhode Island’s direct-to-consumer shipping laws.

Other challenges—such as talk of beer and wine in grocery stores, attempts to break down the three-tier system, cannabis reform and instituting a bottle deposit system—have been at the forefront of RILOC’s in-state legislative agenda. RILOC is an active participant in the political arena and advocates for the needs of stores of all shapes and sizes.

RILOC’s national agenda comes at the direction of American Beverage Licensees (ABL), of whom RILOC is an affiliate member. ABL currently has affiliates in 29 different states with more on the way! Upon RILOC joining ABL, I was asked to join the Board of Directors and I did so proudly. ABL is led by President Bobby Greenawalt, Executive Director John Bodnovich and Senior Director Susan Day Duffy. These individuals’ passion for independent liquor retail is infectious and interacting with them, as well as with the rest of the Board, is invigorating.

Currently, ABL is focusing on the Credit Card Competition Act, which would bring about credit card rate reform for retailers from all industries nationwide. In February, we were proud to have Sen. Jack Reed sign on as a co-sponsor for the legislation. Along with other ABL representatives, I have participated in numerous congressional fly-ins over the past six months and will continue to do so until much-needed relief is given to retailers in the credit card processing space.

ABL’s annual meeting and convention takes place this July 27-29 in San Antonio, Texas. This event coincides with the Texas Package Stores Association (TPSA) convention and trade show. ABL attendees will be invited to all TPSA events that weekend, which include the Cork Pull Wine Tasting featuring more than 350 selections, the trade show featuring over 300 vendors and the After Glow hosted at Devils River Distillery. ABL’s events include an honors luncheon, multiple industry-specific meetings and tutorials, and an additional ABL-specific brand showcase and tasting. We would love to see you in San Antonio; our friends in Texas can’t wait to host us. Visit ablusa.org under the Events tab to learn more and register.

As you can tell, RILOC is working on a lot of exciting things. I will be consistent with this column, keeping you in the loop about everything and anything beverage alcohol retail. Our next event is the second annual RILOC Golf Tournament, which will take place June 3 at Cranston Country Club. Details to follow.

Contact riliquoroperatorscollaborative@gmail.com to get involved.

 

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