If you’re part of a small business, you’re likely aware that legislature can greatly influence the way you operate. The good news is that, as it turns out, small business can influence legislature right back.

Just a few weeks ago, 365 Retail Markets was trekking up to Lansing for a little political influence of our own. We were making our way to join the Michigan Distributors & Vendors Association Day at the CapitolMDVA is our industry’s state advocacy organization, working on our behalf to influence tax and regulatory legislature. 365 Sales Director, John Veit explains it well: “MDVA is an important and influential organization that represents small to large vending and food service operators and complimentary partners in the food and hospitality industry to our elected representatives and lawmakers, to ensure that we have a voice in Michigan.”

How do they accomplish this, you ask? They’ve got some tricks up their sleeve…

Okay not tricks, but techniques. MDVA Day at the Capitol is an annual event, where candy boxes are used to lure state representatives and senators to a networking luncheon with association members. With a group comprised entirely of food distributors and vendors, you know those boxes are chock-full of great treats!

It wasn’t all candy and handshakes though. Prior to hand-delivering luncheon invitations, our group was briefed on priority issues and bills in process that could impact our businesses. The hot topic of the day was MDVA’s support of SB 774, Senator Joe Hune’s bill to centralize the licensing and inspection of food and coffee vending machines under the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development (MDARD). Presently, this is managed by the 45 local public health departments across the state, making cost and regulation inconsistent and difficult to follow. Passing this bill would provide a coherent, statewide licensing and inspection program, saving the industry thousands of dollars. In a trade primarily assembled of small businesses, it’s understandable how such legislature attracted substantial involvement. Senate Bill 774 is currently still in process, but MDVA has an impressive track record of legislative successes.

So, what should you take away from this?

Your small (or not-so-small) company can have an impact too!

Advocacy organizations such as MDVA exist to represent a broad spectrum of industries and political views, providing a mouthpiece for citizens affected by governmental action (aka all of us!).