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MOORPARK, Calif. — Phillips & King International and the National Association of Tobacco Outlets (NATO) have inked a partnership agreement linked to legislative issues.
Through the newly formed arrangement, all current Phillips & King licensed tobacco customers will be automatically enrolled as affiliate-level members of the NATO organization. As a result, the Phillips & King retailers will receive information and assets to help them actively participate in issues that directly affect their livelihood, according to the Moorpark-based distributor of specialty tobacco products and accessories.
The information includes:
- Alerts about tobacco-related legislative activities on local, state, and national levels
- Call-to-action instructions for business owners when a local issue is pending
- Local field staff to educate them on relevant topics
- Pre-drafted communications to customize and send to legislators
"This partnership with Phillips & King represents a major endeavor against restrictive local tobacco ordinances and state legislation across the country that threaten tens of thousands of family-owned businesses nationwide," says Tom Briant, executive director of NATO. "By leveraging Phillips & King's retail customer reach with NATO legislative efforts, we will work together to protect the right of retailers to sell legal tobacco products."
In business since 1906, Phillips & King's customer roster includes convenience stores, discount tobacco outlets, tobacconists, liquor stores, and vapor retailers. The company calls the agreement with NATO "a landmark moment, bringing together retailers in all tobacco-related categories, and providing them with tools to collectively make a positive impact for the industry as a whole."
As part of the arrangement, Briant will return as a speaker at the Tobacco Plus Expo (TPE), an annual tradeshow held by the Tobacco Media Group, owned by parent company Kretek International Inc. Kretek also owns Phillips & King.
For 2017, all current Phillips & King customers will be automatically enrolled as affiliate-level NATO members, with their registration fees covered for the calendar year, and renewals each year the customer remains active.
Membership information will be sent to Phillips & King customers via email, and each customer will also begin to receive regular NATO news bulletins with up-to-date information on local, state, and federal tobacco issues.
"We have been serving the tobacconist business for over 110 years," said Sergio Montolfo, general manager of Phillips & King. "There has never been a more important time for the tobacco retailer to get involved and take an active part in fighting the anti-tobacco legislation affecting all of our businesses. Phillips & King is known for offering quality products and exceptional customer service. We are pleased to also now provide our customers with information and a louder voice that enables them to make a positive difference for the industry."
Minneapolis-based NATO is a trade association that was created to further business interests of all tobacco retailers through education, information, and activation. It takes a proactive approach to inform members about pending legislation and regulations, and advises elected local, state, and national officials about the impacts of proposed legislation.