We hope that your business is recovering following Hurricane Irma. If your business was impacted, below are some resources provided by the State of Florida that can assist you and your business. As always, FGA staff remain available to assist in any we can, so please don't hesitate to contact us at 888.FL.RETAIL (888.357.3824):

  • The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) has launched the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program to support businesses impacted by Hurricane Irma to provide short-term, interest-free loans to small businesses that experienced physical or economic damage during the storm. To complete an application by the Oct. 31, 2017, deadline, visit www.floridadisasterloan.org. For more information contact the Florida Small Business Development Center Network at 850-898-3489 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
  • DEO has launched the Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) Program to provide assistance to businesses and residents whose employment or self-employment was lost or interrupted as a result of Hurricane Irma. To file for DUA or for more information go to www.FloridaJobs.org or call 1-800-385-3920.
  • The Florida Virtual Business Emergency Operations Center business damage assessment surveying tool has been activated for businesses to report damages resulting from Hurricane Irma. Businesses are encouraged to visit flvbeoc.org. Click on Hurricane Irma.

State and Federal Disaster Loan Programs Now Available to Florida Businesses Impacted by Hurricane Irma
The Miami-Dade Beacon Council, the official economic development partnership, is working closely with public and private sector leaders to help Miami-Dade’s business community recover and get back to work as soon as possible. We are working with our partners including the Small Business Administration, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, Small Business Development Center and others to:

  1. Assess damage to businesses and evaluate needs;
  2. Provide information on available resources;
  3. Facilitate connections to service providers.

The Council is using its Banking & Finance Committee to provide coordinated resources and outreach to businesses seeking loans in the wake of Hurricane Irma. Also, the Small Business Committee is meeting next week to hear directly from community partners and bankers about next steps to ensure communication and resources continue to flow.

Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program
Governor Rick Scott has activated the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program to provide short-term, interest-free loans to businesses damaged by the storm.

Administered by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) in partnership with the Florida SBDC Network and Florida First Capital Finance Corporation (FFCFC), the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan helps businesses bridge the gap between the time damage is incurred and when a business secures other financial resources, including payment of insurance claims or longer-term Small Business Administration loans. Up to $10 million has been allocated for the program.

Under the program, eligible small businesses in all 67 Florida counties with two to 100 employees may apply for short-term, interest-free loans for $1,000 to $25,000 for 90 or 180-day terms. To be eligible, a business must have been established prior to September 4, 2017, and demonstrate economic injury or physical damage as a result of Hurricane Irma.

Apply for the Florida Emergency Bridge Loan program. The deadline to apply is October 31, 2017.

Business Damage Assessment Survey
DEO is assessing the damage caused by the storm. Small businesses that have incurred losses due to Hurricane Irma are asked to complete a Business Damage Assessment Survey. The survey will help the State Emergency Response Team determine the needs and level of assistance for impacted businesses. Take the survey.

Federal Assistance
Following President Trump's major disaster declaration, impacted businesses may now apply for low-interest loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Through the declaration, businesses and nonprofits in Broward, Charlotte, Clay, Collier, Duval, Flagler, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Palm Beach, Pinellas, Putnam, Sarasota and Saint Johns counties are eligible for both Physical and Economic Injury Disaster Loans from the SBA.

In adjacent counties, small businesses and most private non-profit organizations are eligible to apply only for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans: Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Desoto, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Marion, Martin, Nassau, Okeechobee, Pasco, Polk, and Volusia in Florida.

Business Physical Disaster Loan Program
Business Physical Disaster Loans are intended to help repair or replace disaster-damaged property. Businesses and nonprofit organizations may apply for up to $2 million to repair or replace property, including real estate, equipment, inventory, machinery, and other business assets.

Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program
Businesses in qualifying adjacent counties may apply for up to $2 million for working capital through the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. The Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides working capital loans to help small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture, and most private, nonprofit organizations meet financial obligations and operating expenses through the disaster recovery period.

Interest rates are as low as 3.305 percent for businesses and 2.5 percent for nonprofit organizations. The SBA customizes loan amounts and terms up to a maximum of 30 years for each applicant.

Applicants may also be eligible for a loan amount increase up to 20 percent of their physical damages to protect property from future damage, including adding a safe room or storm shelter.

To Apply for Physical and Economic Injury Loans
Businesses must first register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at www.disasterassistance.gov or call the toll-free helpline at 800-621-3362. Those who use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services should call 800-621-3362 (800-462-7585 TTY).

Upon registration with FEMA, businesses may apply for a disaster loan a number of ways:

  • Submit an online application at disasterloan.sba.gov
  • Download an application from www.sba.gov/disaster and submit to a SBA disaster recovery center or mail to U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155;
  • Visit a SBA recovery center for one-on-one assistance; or
  • Visit their local Florida SBDC for assistance.

The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is November 9, 2017. The deadline to return economic injury applications is June 11, 2018.

Florida SBDC Network Stands Ready to Assist
As a principal responder in the state's Emergency Support Function for Business and Industry, the Florida SBDC Network stands ready to assist businesses with disaster loan applications and with other post-disaster challenges.

"The recovery efforts from Hurricane Irma will take some time, however, the SBA’s implementation of disaster assistance in the impacted areas will help usher along the process,” said South Florida District Director Francisco “Pancho” Marrero. “As soon as it's clear to do so, I encourage everyone in the listed counties to complete their respective damage assessments and after completing FEMA disaster requirements, apply for assistance from the SBA's Disaster Assistance Center.”

The Florida SBDC Network supports disaster preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation through its Business Continuation Services. As part of the network's service offering, the Florida SBDC will also be deploying its Mobile Assistance Centers (MACs) into affected communities to deliver small business owners on-site assistance with loan applications and with other post-disaster challenges. The Florida SBDC is working with state and federal officials to determine the MACs' locations and will release that information soon.

For questions about the Emergency Bridge Loan Program, the U.S. SBA Physical and Economic Injury Loan Programs, and how the Florida SBDC can help, please contact the Florida SBDC Network at (850) 898-3489 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The phone line will be answered during regular business hours; all voice mails and emails will be responded to within 24 hours.

Thursday, 14 September 2017 15:55

The Checkout - September 14, 2017

Resources for Grocers Impacted by Hurricane Irma
Hurricane Irma has brought life-threatening storm surges, rainfall, and wind hazards to Florida and portions of Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Alabama, and Tennessee. To help supermarkets in the path of the hurricane, NGA has compiled federal and state resources below, and will continue to update the information. In addition, consumers can find food safety tips HERE.

USDA issued a compliance guideline for reducing E. coli and salmonella contamination
USDA issued a compliance guideline for reducing E. coli and salmonella contamination in beef products made by small and very small businesses. The guideline will assist small and very small beef and veal processing establishments understand and comply with the regulatory requirements associated with controlling the pathogens in raw non-intact beef products and beef products intended for non-intact use. read more

SNAP Retailer Notice
Generally, stores may not charge taxes at the point-of-sale on food purchased with SNAP benefits. Here are the four things you need to know if SNAP-eligible foods are subject to tax in your area. read more

Special Disaster Rules for Accepting Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) EBT Benefits for Hot Food Purchases
Due to the severe storms and flooding caused by Hurricane Irma, and effective immediately, retail food stores licensed by the Food and Nutrition Service to accept SNAP benefits in the State of Florida may accept SNAP benefits in exchange for HOT foods and foods intended to be consumed on retailer premises:
These special rules are in effect through September 30, 2017 read more

A federal court upheld the Seafood Import Monitoring Program rule
Starting Jan. 1, 2018, the rule will require U.S.-based importers of seafood to collect information about each stage of the supply chain for certain types of seafood imported into the U.S. Importers will need to identify the seafood species entering the country, and obtain a permit to continue importing seafood. read more

SAVE THE DATE - Join the Florida Grocers Association for their Fall Meeting on Wednesday, November 15th, 9:00 - 11:00 am
This is your opportunity to hear, and be heard, by providing input on what FGA is doing in the State’s Capital and beyond… Look for additional discussion items in the coming weeks. For more information or to make your hotel reservation, please CLICK HERE.

Member Spotlight
Bunzl Distribution USA, Inc. supplies a range of products including outsourced food packaging, disposable supplies, and cleaning and safety products to food processors, supermarkets, non-food retailers, convenience stores and other users. Based in St. Louis, Missouri, Bunzl Distribution is the largest division of Bunzl plc, an international distribution and outsourcing group headquartered in London.

Bunzl Distribution owns and operates more than 100 warehouses that serve all 50 states and Puerto Rico, as well as Canada, the Caribbean and parts of Mexico. With more than 5,000 employees and 400,000-plus supply items, Bunzl is regarded as a leading supplier in North America. Worldwide sales are in excess of $10 billion. Locally, Bunzl Florida & Caribbean has Tampa and Miramar Distribution Centers that service virtually the entire state of Florida.

Throughout its history, the company has maintained a strong commitment to productivity, delivering both quality service and competitive pricing. As it looks to the future, Bunzl Distribution is focused on increasing productivity, enhancing customer service and exploring new business opportunities.

Thursday, 09 March 2017 19:29

The Checkout - March 9, 2017

SB 1260/HB 593- SNAP Choice Bill
A proposal for restrictions on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is making its way through the Florida Legislature. FRF/FGA Opposes this bill. The 2000 federal law ensured that EBT transactions operated the same from state to state. Consistency throughout the country is important to Retailers who implement this program. Having the consistency of a federal law reduces the opportunity for error and abuse. Individual state restrictions would cause confusion in bordering communities as well as at the checkout counter. There are more than 650,000 SKUs in the grocery store with 12,000-15,000 more introduced every year. These items would have to be analyzed and categorized to determine what's in and what's out of the SNAP program, putting government in charge of determining "good foods" and "bad foods."

Furthermore, this kind of control over what Floridians buy won't save the SNAP program any money. Instead, it will just bring more bureaucracy to the very program many seek to reform and create a food code more complicated and arbitrary than the tax code. Policymakers should consider that more than 70 percent of SNAP benefits go to families with children, and 1.7 million beneficiaries are veterans. And the truth of the matter is there is almost no difference between the food purchases of families receiving SNAP benefits and families who don’t. In addition a ban will likely increase the administrative costs of the program to both the USDA and retailers. *Click HERE for additional data and stats on Restricting SNAP.

ADA Compliance Review
Last year FGA held a very successful workshop on ADA compliance. We know that this is an issue that continues to plague many of your stores so we are making available once again the notes that were taken at the workshop with some common sense information to help protect your store. Following are some defense strategies to help protect your stores:

  • Fix then Fight
  • Get out of the lawsuit quickly
  • Immediate compliance of the items in the lawsuit
  • Minimize repair time
  • Re-inspect your store to ensure compliance
  • Moot the case – Show that you have fixed all the items
  • Get the case dismissed
  • Do not mediate without the claimant being present
  • Place a handicap sign at your front door that says: We are happy to provide assistance… this is just a first line of defense for your store

*Click HERE for workshop notes.

Calling all Baggers!
FGA is hosting the first ever Florida Best Bagger Competition on Sunday July 23rd, 2017 in Kissimmee Florida. All stores are encouraged to do their own in-store competition, or have your Managers pick their best bagger, and send them to compete in the Florida competition. First Prize winner will take home $1,000, 2nd prize winner $500 and 3rd prize winner will take home $250. The winner of the Florida competition will then be sent to represent the state of Florida in the National Championship taking place at the NGA Show in February of 2018 in San Diego CA. Please click for rules and entry form.

Associate Memeber Spotlight
Unata is a 1-to-1 digital platform for grocers, powering eCommerce, eCircular, eLoyalty, eCoupons, and the digital in-store experience. We connect and integrate all digital grocery solutions with a retailer's ERP/POS/loyalty systems to ensure one seamless, 1-to-1 personalized shopping experiences across all customer touch points, resulting in increased customer loyalty and spending.

E. Coli 0157 Outbreak Linked to Soy Nut Butter Products
E.coli 0157 outbreak linked to Soy Nut Butter products. I.M. Healthy Brand SoyNut Butter products, this product was distributed at retail and also to daycare centers. Please access the following links for complete information on this issue:

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