Click here for COVID-19 crisis resources from the RSPA


We have good news. RetailNOW registration opened two months earlier than usual. Our team and our community are excited. Our members need alliances and partnerships. Our community needs education. We need each other.

The early returns in gauging the community’s enthusiasm for what we are planning for Nashville are strong. Exhibitor sales are on a good pace, and sponsorship counts have exceeded prior-year results. Vendors are inquiring about holding an event of their own alongside RetailNOW. Some are planning attendance of over 200 members of their partner community as they leverage the education and connections of our RetailNOW gathering.

Vaccines are available and being administered. One projection calls for all that fall into a greater risk category to be vaccinated by mid-year. We will continue to work with the Gaylord and our event partners to establish, reinforce, and execute a safety-first mentality as we focus on the details. Be on the lookout for consistent updates along the way. We want you to be informed and ready to go.

After all, we have an opportunity to lead. As it relates to leadership, why would this situation be any different than the many challenges faced since our founding in 1948? Leadership is what we do. Leadership is who we are. The timing of our event will provide us a “pole position” in demonstrating the right way to come together. At the same time, we will inspire others to do the same as we find a way to move forward as a community focused on safety. The RSPA community has never let the conditions defeat us. RetailNOW 2021 in Nashville will be another example of perseverance, creativity, and togetherness as we lead the way in our industry. If we determine it is not safe to gather in a RetailNOW setting, we will call an audible. In the meantime, we like the prospects for success.

As a former coach and mentor once said; we can get it done, we can get it done, what’s more, we gotta get it done. See you in Nashville!

RSPA President & CEO John Kirk and Team


Dear Members,

On March 13th we laid out a framework for decision making. Our priority is the health and safety of our team, our members, and our guests. That won’t change. Our second priority remains the long-term financial health of our Association as we focus on serving our members. That won’t change. Finally, we committed to focus on in-the-moment information as we formed our rationale for all decisions.

Although we are 99 days away, we have decided to cancel our 2020 RetailNOW event scheduled to take place in Las Vegas from August 2nd through August 5th. We are confident that we are making the right decision for the right reason. Although we are disappointed that we will not gather in one physical location, we have no regrets.

We will contact our exhibitors and our sponsors to establish the appropriate plan relating to your investment. Know this; we will do the right thing for you. We ask that you give us a few weeks as we work through the process. We are here to serve you just as you have served this community in special ways.

Thank you for your support. Thank you for your example. Most importantly, stay safe. We will get there together. All who have suffered losses will remain in our thoughts and prayers as we look forward to a brighter day.

RSPA President & CEO John Kirk and Team


Dear Members,

Focusing on Priorities as We Keep Moving Forward
During the week of May 4th, The RSPA will be hosting a webinar featuring our RSPA General Counsel Bob Goldberg with Jim Kahrs of Prosperity Plus. Bob and Jim will provide detailed coaching on maximizing loan forgiveness to include remedies built into the program. Details will be sent on this upcoming program by this week. It is expected that more than $484 billion of relief will be signed into law by President Trump by Friday. The initial CARES Act funds were exhausted. An estimated $321 billion of $484 billion in phase 3.5 of this coronavirus stimulus initiative will replenish the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Many of our members have already benefited from the PPP. We also have many that are dealing some delays.

In the interim, our best option is to trust the application process and see it through as you continue to work with your banker and accountants. I know it’s easier for me to say than it is for our members to do when there is an extended timeline. With additional funding, we have unique opportunity as we continue to move forward. Once loans are approved and executed, focus on maximizing forgiveness is critical. Bob and Jim will help you avoid surprises along the way.

Thank you for sharing your experiences. Our community has benefited from the collective motion in a powerful way (“Community IQ”). Our team at the RSPA continues to wish safety to your families, your teams, and your customers.

We will get there together.

RSPA President & CEO John Kirk and Team


Dear Members,

Finding a way to move forward
Yesterday, the RSPA hosted a community call. We conducted a second community call this morning. Our goal was to hear directly from you as you actively engage the processes involved in securing CARES Act benefits. This journey started less than three weeks ago when the bill was signed into law on March 27th. On April 1st, the RSPA conducted an educational call featuring our General Counsel, Bob Goldberg. Our team believed that checking-in with you two weeks from our April 1st call was in order.

What we heard
Many have successfully navigated the CARES Act process. The feedback relating to the CARES Act process was positive on yesterday’s call. One member shared that within a few days from applying for a loan under the Paycheck Protection program, $500,000 was received. This morning we heard some examples where the process has been challenging. For some, the wait has been longer than expected. We encouraged all to continue to leverage local bankers, accountants, and legal resources as we work to avoid discouragement. Overall, we heard a valuable sharing of perspectives, learnings, and ideas. We heard that the opportunity to engage and support customers has never been greater. We heard how a community has refused to contract to exclusively playing defense. You have continued to play offense as our nation and world deals with tragedy. We heard a community embrace practices that will fuel teams as they persevere and refine.

One reminder
Once you have your loan approved and distributed, it will be wise to turn your attention to forgiveness remedies. Your accountant and banker can provide the details you need to leverage every path to maximize forgiveness and avoid surprises. Be sure you understand the rules of the road and the options that exist outside of your traditional payroll benchmarks of headcount and payroll $ value.

Most importantly, stay safe. Here is a link to a general information page from The Center for Disease Control. Thanks for your efforts and example.

RSPA President & CEO John Kirk and Team


Dear Members,

At a time when our country and our world are suffering, we see action and teamwork. Plants are being repurposed to manufacture needed safety gear for our health care heroes on the frontlines. Companies that have never delivered ventilators are doing so now by the thousands. We see makeshift hospitals appear overnight in convention centers and hotels. We have seen facilities that have long since been closed brought back into service to save lives. All these projects brought to life at the hands of the Army Corps of Engineers. We see ovations for health workers as they finish one shift and ready emotionally and physically for their next bout with COVID-19 on the front. Encouragement matters.

The RSPA is a team. Our country is a team. When it comes to COVID-19, we are a global team.

On 3-27-20 the CARES Act was signed into law. On April 1st, the RSPA community came together to review the essence of this relief program. Our General Counsel, Bob Goldberg delivered a one-of-kind and from the heart, informative review designed to drive immediate action. If you missed the session, this webinar is available on-demand and on the RSPA YouTube Channel.

In addition to the benefits available to businesses with under 500 employees many of your team members will benefit from the Individual Aid Provisions of the CARES Act. Remember, payments via direct deposit whenever possible and by check as needed, will be made to those that qualify. Payments of $1,200 to individuals, $2400 to families, and $500 per child will be made. As one example, a qualifying family with three children will receive $3,900. Let’s keep spreading the word. These dollars will add valuable support to the professionals that make a difference every day for teams and customers.

Also, mid-size companies with 500 to 10,000 employees will have some attractive opportunities to secure loans with no payments due for 6 months.

More teamwork is on the way. More action is on the way. We will be scheduling a webinar next week. The session will serve as a community sounding board relating to member experience with the CARE Act application process. Our goal will be to get stronger together as we drive access to the benefits and maximize the member impact.

Stay-tuned and stay-together. We will find a way together.

RSPA President & CEO John Kirk and Team


Dear Members,

During these unprecedented times, we need to first keep our families and teams safe. We gain a deeper understanding of this reality with each passing hour. Nothing we do is more important. Be safe.

Today we will be announcing a webinar on the CARES Act as we work to provide guidance. This invitation will be sent out today. Our goal will be to provide enough information and guidance that will give you direction on actions to take today. Please be on the lookout for this notification. We will record the session for those that can’t participate live.

In the interim, please see this letter to The President. Our goal of the communication is threefold:

  1. Reinforce the vital service you provide to retailers
  2. Offer our help and support to the Administration as more programs will be constructed (I want to be sure leaders know who you are)
  3. Express what we need, now that the CARES Act has been signed into law

For our Canadian members, Paul Leduc, Chairperson of the RSPA’s Canadian Community and President of VAR Globe POS Systems in Brampton, Ont., has developed a comprehensive document listing resources related to Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan.

RSPA members bring a one-of-a-kind and complete perspective to retail.
We are not lobbyists. We can communicate. We will add value as we do our part. We will be breaking new ground in the process. If not us, then who? Your collective perspective is valuable. There is no Association like the one that the RSPA community has built. We look forward to our CARES Act webinar.

RSPA President & CEO John Kirk and Team