Westminster Health Board Ends Quest For All Tobacco Store Ban

On Nov. 19, the Westminster, Mass. Board Of Health reversed its position and ended a proposed plan that would have made the town the first in the nation to ban the sale of all tobacco products in stores.

The 2-1 health board vote came a week after a public hearing called to solicit input on a proposed ban ended abruptly when the health board chair felt the more than 500 member audience was too unruly. The board was due to vote on the issue on Dec. 1.

One convenience store owner said at the public hearing that he would have to close his business and added the ban would send business to a neighboring town. Westminster Selectman Wayne Walker said the “radical proposal” was not in the town’s best interests.

Steve Ryan, executive director of the New England Convenience Store Assn., (NECSA) said a few weeks ago more than 1,000 people signed petitions opposing the ban. On Nov 20 he commented on the latest action and said, “I'm very pleased to see the Westminster Board of Health has withdrawn this irrational proposal. NECSA was proud to help the local retailers in their efforts to oppose this measure. The 1,300 signatures they collected on the NECSA countertop petitions are testament to the community wide support for these retailers and the overwhelming opposition to a ban on legal products.”

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Snyder’s-Lance Commits $10 Million For Cape Cod Plant Improvements

Snyder's-Lance, a manufacturer and distributor of premium snacks, is completing a $10 million investment to improve operations and sustainability at its manufacturing facility in Hyannis, Mass., where the company makes Cape Cod Potato Chips.

Over the past three years, Snyder's-Lance has made numerous capital improvements to the Hyannis plant, which is one of the area's top tourist destinations with over 350,000 visitors annually. The company invested in new cooking kettles and made several energy-saving upgrades to its mechanical systems. These improvements have resulted in annual energy and greenhouse gas reductions that are equivalent to planting more than 85 acres of trees, or removing 22 cars from the road.

The Hyannis facility has also partnered with a local solar farm to purchase solar credits that support the community's initiative to reduce global-warming greenhouse gas emissions on Cape Cod. As part of the investment plan, construction on a new, state-of-the-art wastewater pretreatment plant will be completed by the end of the year. After the new plant is completed, the existing wastewater pre-treatment facility will be decommissioned, creating space for additional parking and allowing for future growth at the facility.

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Cumberland Farms Accepts Apple Pay At All Locations

Cumberland Farms is accepting mobile payments via Apple Pay at all of its nearly 600 retail locations across the Northeast and Florida. Apple Pay enables customers to pay for goods by tapping their iPhone 6, iPad Air 2 or iPad mini 3 on Cumberland's NFC-enabled pin pads. Apple Pay is accepted for in-store purchases, and Cumberland is working with its partners to make it available at the pump in the near future.

Cumberland Farms is no stranger to cashless or cardless payments. The brand launched its own mobile payment app - SmartPay Check-Link - back in February 2013. The app links directly to customers' checking accounts, and saves customers 10 cents on every gallon of gas.

"Prior to Apple Pay, we pioneered a pay-at-the-pump mobile payment app, which makes gas transactions as easy and convenient as possible for our customers - and also saves users 10 cents on every gallon of gas," said Ari Haseotes, chief executive officer of Cumberland Farms. "To date, our customers have purchased $600 million of our products using SmartPay, and have enjoyed savings of over $16 million on gas purchases. They love the savings and the convenience.

"Our 'first mover' position on mobile pay at the pump sets us up to continue to innovate on platforms like Apple Pay. We are working with our partners now to leverage the SmartPay platform and make Apple Pay available at the pump soon," said Cumberland Farms Chief Information Officer Dave Banks.

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Latest Word in C-Store News...

On Nov. 4, Berkeley, Calif., became the first U.S. city to pass a measure taxing soft drinks and other beverages with added sugar. The measure will impose a one-cent-per-ounce tax on non-diet sodas, energy drinks, iced teas and juices with added sugar. Across the bay in San Francisco, a similar ballot measure proposing a two-cent-per-ounce tax on sweetened drinks failed to win the two-thirds support required (54.5 percent of voters voted for the measure).

• Following an initial summer test, Coca-Cola has rolled out “Coca-Cola Life,” a reduced calorie carbonated soft drink sweetened with cane sugar and stevia leaf. It claims to have 35 percent fewer calories than its competitors.

• The New England Assn. of Convenience Stores (NECSA) has set March 18, 2015, at the DCU Center in Worcester as the site of its annual convention and trade show. On March 17 in the evening the Store Operators Awards will be held at the DCU Center.

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