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NRF wants free speech for merchants on credit card fees

BY Marianne Wilson

The National Retail Federation on Tuesday called on the U.S. Supreme Court to allow merchants to freely and accurately show customers the added costs that come with paying by credit card rather than cash.

“Retailers have no interest in surcharging their customers for using credit cards,” NRF senior VP and general counsel Mallory Duncan said. “That would be the opposite of our goal to bring credit card swipe fees under control. But merchants do want to be able to show customers the cost of using a credit card without running afoul of the law.”

The case isn’t about surcharging, Duncan added. Instead, it’s about “giving retailers freedom of speech when they try to give their customers a break for paying by cash.”

“Some states allow cash discounts but prohibit credit card surcharges,” he explained. “A gas station owner shouldn’t be hauled into court for saying gas is $2.90 a gallon cash and $3 credit rather than saying $3 credit and $2.90 cash.”

Justices heard arguments Tuesday in a case challenging laws in 10 states that prohibit merchants from imposing a surcharge when customers use a credit card. The laws, which were passed at the urging of the card industry, can be traps for merchants who give a cash discount, NRF said. The lawsuit before the court argues that the laws violate merchants’ free speech rights under the First Amendment and are unconstitutionally vague under the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment.

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Masonite’s new brand

BY HBSDealer Staff

Masonite has unveiled a new brand for the new year, complete with logo, tagline and visual identity.

The tagline, “Open to Extraordinary,” is meant to challenge the status quo of the door's potential.

"From opening the door to extraordinary everyday moments, to finding the moments that are extraordinary, Masonite’s new tagline captures the endless possibilities for the experiences that make life memorable while showcasing its importance in creating a whole-home solution," explained the company in a statement.

Masonite also announced the formation of a new Trend Council with a mission to provide customers with insights on popular and emerging design trends.

“The launch of our new brand embodies the spirit of our personality and represents the transformation of our company,” said Fred Lynch, president and CEO of Masonite. “It depicts the ongoing partnership between Masonite and our customers to continually create a better experience.”

The new logo hinges on simple aesthetics with bold, uppercase letters to signify continued strength and leadership. The strong, stylized ‘M’ symbol utilizes intersecting doors to reinforce the partnership with customers. The modified crossbars of the ‘A’ and ‘E’ in Masonite’s name demonstrates the openness and innovation it brings to the industry.

“We believe a door is more than just a door, and we never stop pushing the boundaries in helping customers elevate the role a door can play in the built environment. We are committed to researching, uncovering and sharing our own trend and industry insights, leading the conversation for the category,” said Lynch.

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Industry embraces philanthropy, and City of Hope

BY Ken Clark

The hardware and home building industry gathered in Orlando on the eve of the International Builders' Show to support City of Hope.

"Our goal tonight is to celebrate and inform," said Kevin Courtney, associate VP of Corporate Philanthropy for the California-based disease research and treatment facility as he kicked off the 2017 Spirit of Life reception. 

Special recognition for the night fell on the family ownership of the Atlanta-based Quikrete Cos., including Custom Building Products and Pavestone, collectively the 2017 Spirit of Life honorees. In their acceptance speech, the Winchester brothers Jack, Dennis and Jim shared their vision of good corporate citizenship.

"We are truly humbled to be recognized as the Spirit of Life honorees," said Jim Winchester. "Giving back has been part of the Quikrete DNA since our founding 75 years ago."

Added Jack Winchester: "There's an unquestioned need to find treatments and cures for cancer diabetes and other diseases. We are happy to support City of Hope because it will save the lives of our friends and our loved ones."

Retired Home Depot executive Bruce Merino introduced the three Winchester brothers as one of the premier trios of the home improvement industry. 

"They are number one in the world at putting stuff in a bag and selling it," Merino quipped.

The phrases "accelerating therapies" and "precision medicine" were used to describe the kind of work being done at City of Hope, in fighting cancer as well as diabetes and other life-threatening diseases.

"City of Hope is not just a hospital in California," said Courtney. Rather, it's a world-leading institution fighting and treating diseases.

The Spirit of Life Reception, along with a golf outing earlier in the day,  raised just shy of $1 million for City of Hope. In the past 35 years, the industry has raised some $155 million.

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