The people who provide vending machine treats — micro-markets in trade parlance — and coffee around California break rooms descended on Sacramento for some good old-fashioned marketing two weeks ago.
One of their leaders was Jeff Leider, president of San Marcos-based Tri-R Coffee & Vending and first time legislative day participant. His dad, Norm Leider, founded the company in 1984, and created the intriguing Tri-R dog mascot, “a retro embodiment of the hardworking, dedicated spirit of man’s best canine friend.”
Jeff Leider, in any event, was featured recently as a key delegate in the California Automatic Vendors Council (CAVC) annual legislative day with policymakers. The 15-member delegation split into three different groups and spoke on three topics: Industry taxation, scheduling rules and the BPA sign requirements. BPA is bisphenol A, a chemical used to strengthen cans, but also found by state regulators to cause “harm to the female reproductive system.”
“I thought the legislation day was great because they [policymakers] were unaware of the taxes as well as how the scheduling will hurt our industry,” said Leider. “They didn’t know that vendors are taxed on items that are not taxed anyplace else. Basically we were just asking for equality in the tax code.”
For example, if someone buys candy at a convenience store, they don’t pay tax, but if they buy it out of a vending machine operators pay the tax for their purchase. “We don’t want the others taxed of course,” Leider said. “We want our tax abolished.”
Labor scheduling labor was another issue center stage with the vending business community.
“In a nutshell,” Leider said, “you would have to schedule your employees 28 days in advance with no changes. So, for example in our industry if a customer calls us on a Wednesday and says we are painting our break room and need the machines moved on Friday, we have to by law say ‘Sorry Mr. or Mrs. Customer due to the new scheduling labor law we cannot do that for another 28 days.’ This looks like it will not pass, but it is scary that they think of these things.”
CAVC members criticized Prop. 65, a BPA emergency initiative that states operators must put a 5-inch x 5-inch BPA warning sign on their beverage machines and coolers.
“If we don’t have them on and we get a call we have 24 hours to put the sticker on the machine or risk a $2,000 fine,” Leider said. “This is not something for them to vote on, but we wanted them to be aware that as of now it is in effect.”
Leider said he was glad to have participated in his first legislative day. “The trip was about educating the elected officials on issues that affect our industry and developing relationships,” he said. “They won’t help if they don’t know about something and how it affects us. They also won’t help if they don’t know who we are.”
Tri-R Coffee & Vending is at 120 N Pacific St. in San Marcos. for more information call (760) 753-1112 or visit http://trircoffee.com/index.html.