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Happy Lucky’s Utilizes an Omni-Channel Experience with RCS

Happy Lucky’s Utilizes an Omni-Channel Experience with RCS

Featured, Gift Stores

Happy Lucky’s Teahouse has been part of the RCS family since 2013 when they became our first Fort Collins, CO customer after establishing an office location there. RCS is pleased to announce Happy Lucky’s as our May Customer Spotlight!

Happy Lucky’s Teahouse is a retail store offering over 200 loose leaf teas and tea brewing accessories. Their mission is to “Nourish Your Happy”—through community, connection and the experience of great tea.

Since 2009, owners George and Kari Grossman, along with their dedicated team of Leafsters, have been sharing how culture, lifestyle, health and happiness boil down to just three elements: Water, Tea, and Time.

With a commitment to quality, selection, and community, Happy Lucky’s has created a highly interactive, informative and immersive tea experience. Whether you are already a tea lover or new to the brew, you’ll find the flavor, aroma, and feeling that speaks to you. You can choose your tea from over 200 loose leaf options on their Great Wall of Tea. With the largest tea selection in the state of Colorado, you can’t go wrong!

Happy Lucky’s switched their Point of Sale System to NCR Counterpoint with RCS’ help back in 2013. RCS and NCR Counterpoint has enabled them to grow, opening a second teahouse in November 2016, in Front Range Village, south of the original Old Town, Fort Collins location.

Man using Point Of Sale System

“With RCS’ help in implementing Counterpoint, we have been able to achieve both our financial and operational goals. And throughout our growth, RCS has been there to help us achieve our goals.”

-George Grossman, Chief Leafster

 

 

 

 

Integrated into Counterpoint is Customer Connect, an email marketing program which allows Happy Lucky’s to directly reach our customers and reach members of their loyalty program—the Tea Lover’s Club. Customer Connect also allows the shop to track customers’ preferences and purchases. They can then send them an notifications about new teas or retail items they may be interested in.

Happy Lucky’s also utilizes NCR’s Smart Alerts. This application allows the Leafsters to receive text messages on their phone with store alerts, daily reports, excessive void alerts, and much more! George utilizes Smart Alerts to judge how busy his stores are and, if needed, head to the store to offer an extra hand.

Lastly, Happy Lucky’s recently switched their e-commerce platform to NCR Retail Online (NRO). NRO is directly integrated into Counterpoint which will allow them to control inventory between two inventory locations and online. Happy Lucky’s is one of RCS’ only customers that utilizes all of the NCR applications: Customer Connect, NRO and Smart Alerts. This allows Happy Lucky’s to have a true omni-channel point of sale system.

RCS is thrilled to have Happy Lucky’s as part of the RCS family! We are excited that we could assist them with reaching their goals and we can’t wait to see where they go next!

The NCR XR7 Water Test

The NCR XR7 Water Test

Just for Fun, Technical Tip

Is your hardware showing it’s age or have you been thinking about updating your registers for your store? ? NCR has just released some sleek new Hardware that will work as hard as you do. Look no further than the new NCR XR7!

Brains and brawn meet beauty to give you one impressive point-of-sale They say beauty is only skin deep, but not true with the NCR RealPOS™ XR7—Sure it has a sleek, modern appearance with its slim profile, zero-bezel design and elegant styling that sets it apart from other point-of-sale solutions, but that’s only part of the story. It’s powered by 4th generation Intel® Core™ processor technology—an energy efficient powerhouse—to deliver amazing performance and future-proof your investment. To top it off, it’s smart too. On-board “odometers” capture vital health and usage statistics so we can keep you up and running and keep your customers coming back for more.
Including:

  • Stylish and compact all-in-one retail solution with a sleek zero-bezel design
  • Extreme performance with 4th generation Intel Core Processor Family
  • Customer facing displays. Make sure that transactions are accurate, show rich graphics and encourage up-sells with these sleek new displays.
  • Secure, powered USB and serial peripheral connectivity

Watch the video below to see its durability and the new sleek design. This video features an environmental test conducted by spraying the NCR XR7 with water from the top down and from all sides to demonstrate its durability in the retail environment.

Or read the full brochure on the XR7 here.

Contact Retail Control Systems today for more information on the XR7!

retailcontrolsystems.com

800-417-3030

sales@retailcontrolsystems.com

RCS Assists Red Sox Team Store with Opening Day

RCS Assists Red Sox Team Store with Opening Day

Just for Fun, Sporting Goods

The light glared off of the ice as the sun rose over Mascoma Lake on Monday April 3rd- season opener for the 2017 Boston Red Sox. One by one we arrived at the RCS headquarters and started getting the van loaded and our gear together. While we were far from a professional sports team like the Red Sox, we certainly did feel like it. After we all arrived and started our drive to the Red Sox Team store our team consisted of:

  • Matthew: The promising rookie playing the position of hardware support
  • Geff: The proven networking master
  • Molly: The sales/customer service all star
  • Jason (myself): The software/database guru

We arrived at the Team Store that morning thanks to Geff’s expert knowledge of Boston streets and unloaded our van of supplies. The crowd at the store and the street outside were busy but mostly with stragglers killing time before the game. We met up with Lindsey, Store Manager, and were quickly split up and put to work. While others went to the satellite stores in the stadium I worked at checking and updating the additional registers that were brought back in for the start of the season.RCS helping at register

Once the checklist at the store was completed, Geff and I had our chance to go with Lindsey into the stadium to support a possible issue at one of the many kiosks. We followed closely as Lindsey masterly navigated through the stadium while pointing out each store location in case we needed to be called there later.

As we made our way back to the main store, we took a quick break to go into the stands to take in it all. I will always remember the quietness of the anticipation in the empty stadium knowing there are thousands of people outside just waiting to get in. We arrived at the store to a much different scene as all customers were moved out from the store and street to get ready for them to open the gates. Once the gates were open it felt like nearly all the true fans were heading straight to the store. Lindsey and her team of seasoned experts were more than prepared and RCS was as well.

The pregame sales went very smooth with Molly helping at the cash registers and Matt, Geff and me assisting and monitoring for support issues. The issues we had to resolve mostly straightforward, answering questions, checking if devices were plugged in the correct way and making sure all setting were correct.
As the game started and the store emptied we were all feeling relieved that things were going smooth. We were put into on-call mode where Lindsey had our cell phone numbers and we were able to walk the stadium and watch several innings of the game. We were able to support the satellite stores as well as check in at the main location to answer any NCR Counterpoint questions that they had throughout the game. After being able to see Andrew Benintendi’s amazing home run hit, we all made our way back to the store to prepare and watch the rest of the game from the store.

Red Sox Team StoreThe game ended with a win for the Red Sox! After the announcement we could all feel the excitement of the store staff and got ready. While close games with wins are great for everyone, it does mean that all the fans leave at once and many want a last minute souvenir from the store. It was a scary thought for the RCS staff as the store became full with excited fans, but the Team Store was more than prepared to handle the demands with professionalism. We did what we could to help as needed while staying out of the way as the staff did what they do best, serve the Red Sox fans of the Boston area. We stood behind the registers as customers came and went, helping with stocking and bagging and any NCR Counterpoint questions that came up.

As we packed up, said our goodbyes and left we all felt like we helped to ensure that the store and even the fans had a smooth and successful day. While there was many take always and experiences the feeling we were left with is this: The only greater feeling than being on a team is being on a winning team! I would like to thank the RCS team as well as Lindsey and the Team Store staff for the opportunity and working together to guarantee one of many winning days.

Read about our past experiences with the Red Sox Team Store here:

We helped the Red Sox , Boston Red Sox Opening Day – 2013

Happy Lucky’s Expands Teahouse in Fort Collins, CO with RCS

Happy Lucky’s Expands Teahouse in Fort Collins, CO with RCS

Awards & Recognition, News, Specialty Retail

(ENFIELD, NH | FORT COLLINS, CO) – Retail Control Systems (RCS), a leading point-of-sale solutions provider, is pleased to share that longtime client, Happy Lucky’s Teahouse (Happy Lucky’s), has opened a second location in Front Range Village, a popular southeast Fort Collins shopping center. RCS helped equip the store’s point-of-sale system, which included a NCR Counterpoint 1530 terminal and two (2) CP Mobile units – Counterpoint’s mobile POS platform. The second location officially opened in November 2016.

Happy Lucky’s is a unique specialty shop and teahouse, “serving up world change,” alongside a delicious array of baked goods and treats. Owned by Kari and George Grossman, the teahouse was originally established to provide a venue for promoting their charitable organization, Sustainable Schools International (SSI). While SSI still remains a central focus, Happy Lucky’s success has exceeded the Grossmans’ initial vision, offering the largest tea selection in Colorado and a place for people to connect.

Happy Lucky's Teahouse - Fort Collins, CO
George Grossman Owner of Happy Lucky’s Teahouse – Fort Collins, CO

When RCS first expanded its business to Colorado, Happy Lucky’s was the first retailer in Fort Collins to partner with RCS for a retail management solution. RCS customized an NCR Counterpoint POS system for Happy Lucky’s, including a Donation Round-up feature, which gives customers the option of rounding-up their ticket and donating the difference to help SSI establish sustainable education and further economic development in Cambodia.

“RCS has been with us from what seems like the very beginning,” states George Grossman, Co-owner of Happy Lucky’s Teahouse. “We know RCS understands our business, and we trust that their POS solutions will continue to deliver the capabilities we need to grow and succeed.”

“Happy Lucky’s is a part of our Fort Collins family and we are very proud of their success,” states Dave Albert, President of Retail Control Systems. “With NCR Counterpoint, we are able to give them a POS solution that is also capable of simultaneously managing donations – simplifying the process and allowing them to focus on growth opportunities.”

About Retail Control Systems

Founded in 1987, Retail Control Systems specializes in retail and restaurant management software and hardware solutions. RCS has built a reputation for finding specialized business management solutions that help businesses gain complete control over their operations and finances. From inventory control to daily sales management, RCS has the experience and expertise across the full-range of retail and restaurant industries to meet the unique needs of any business. RCS has been providing superior customer service, exceptional quality, and innovation to the retail and restaurant community for nearly 30 years.

To learn more about RCS, visit www.retailcontrolsystems.com or call 1-800-417-3030.

For more information about Happy Lucky’s Teahouse, or their products and services, visit www.happyluckys.com.

Retail Control Systems and Hickory & Tweed are Long Time Friends

Retail Control Systems and Hickory & Tweed are Long Time Friends

Clothing & Apparel, Sporting Goods

(ENFIELD, NH | FORT COLLINS, CO) – Retail Control Systems (RCS) is pleased to announce our customer spotlight for the month of April, Hickory & Tweed. Hickory & Tweed has been an RCS customer since 1987, the year RCS was founded.

Hickory & Tweed began as a ski shop, founded in 1961 by Jim Ross, in Armonk, NY. The stores current owner, Skip Beitzel, purchased the store from Jim in 1985 after working there throughout high school and while he attended school at the University of Vermont. After which, a bicycle shop was added to the well-established ski business.

The store’s name pays homage to the origins of the sport itself, with hickory being the wood of choice for first generation skis and tweed wool being the most common layering insulation at the time – hence the name, Hickory & Tweed. From its early beginnings, Hickory & Tweed has established itself, not only as one of the premier ski and bike shops in the country, but an iconic brand in the ski business. The store has won numerous industry awards over the years, including “Ski Shop of the Year” from Ski Magazine and “Top 150 Bike Shops” from the National Bicycle Dealers Association. Their hallmark offering is a family ski and snowboard leasing program, which serves nearly 2,500 families.

Hickory & Tweed is a family business, just like RCS. Skip’s son, Mac Beitzel, manages their recently introduced e-commerce site. Mac created the store’s e-commerce site utilizing NCR’s retail online (NRO) application. Mac also manages the store’s social media and private label branding business.

Hickory & Tweed is also staffed by many long-time sales and management associates who are passionate about winter sports and cycling. The staff can often be found on the slopes or out riding the local trails. Based on the knowledge of their passionate staff, Hickory & Tweed’s service and atmosphere has always provided a unique shopping experience for their customers.

Almost 30 years ago, Hickory & Tweed was frustrated with several attempts to implement a point of sale system that not only worked for their business, but was easy for staff to understand and use. In early 1987, Dave Albert was preparing to start a new venture in the point of sale industry after working for many years in the bicycle industry. Skip had a chance encounter with Dave at a bicycle tradeshow. Skip and Dave kept in touch and once Retail Control Systems opened its doors, Hickory & Tweed was the very first customer! Hickory & Tweed also ended up hiring Dave to consult for them when they were first opening the bike shop portion of the store.

Since then, RCS has become intimately involved in all of Hickory & Tweed’s operations. RCS has successfully upgraded the store’s entire Counterpoint Point of Sale system several times and it’s always been a relatively easy process for Hickory & Tweed. Skip and Mac regularly attend RCS’ Envision Conferences, in order to stay up to date with RCS’ latest offerings.

“In the end, I tell all who’ll listen, that when you buy-in to RCS, it’s not so much really about the hardware and software, but rather it’s about Dave, his staff and their support. I’ve always experienced them being there for us through thick and thin. And these days in retail, there’s a lot of thick and thin.” –Skip Beitzel

RCS is so proud to have Hickory & Tweed as such a loyal part of the RCS family for so many years. We can’t wait to see where they go in the future and how RCS can help them reach their goals!

Why you need to start thinking about Two Factor Authentication

Why you need to start thinking about Two Factor Authentication

Technical Tip

Two Factor Authentication, what is it? Many organizations protect local and remote logins with a simple username and password. Entering these two pieces of information will grant access to company databases, email accounts, and other sensitive information. But passwords are notoriously insecure. Many users choose weak passwords which can be easily guessed or cracked. Phishing attacks trick people daily into revealing their passwords, and users on unsecured networks (e.g. at coffee shops) can have their passwords sniffed. Malicious viruses and spyware can capture passwords and send them over the network to attackers.

Two Factor is the practice of combining something you know (like your password) with something you have (like a hardware token) to secure access to a system. Even if your password is compromised, that’s only half of the piece of the puzzle needed to gain access to a system.

Protecting your Remote Users

For many corporate networks, the Remote Access and VPNs required for employees to work off-site represent a significant exposure and vulnerability of the network. It is essential for network security to protect any method of Remote Access or VPNs with additional security without impacting authorized users.

RCS recommends deploying a solution by Yubico that offers keys that simply plugs into a USB port. By deploying a YubiKey, Remote Access and VPNs are protected with two-factor authentication with the security and ease of use of the YubiKey.

The innovative USB/NFC-keys offer strong two-factor authentication – with a simple touch of a button. YubiKeys are built strong enough for the largest enterprises, while remaining simple enough to use for consumers.

For information or pricing for this service, contact your RCS Sales Representative at 800-417-3030, Option 1.

Yubikey connected to computer
Retail Control Systems and Westchester Road Runner: Solemates Since 2014

Retail Control Systems and Westchester Road Runner: Solemates Since 2014

Awards & Recognition, Specialty Retail, Sporting Goods

(ENFIELD, NH | FORT COLLINS, CO) – Retail Control Systems (RCS) is pleased to announce our customer spotlight for the Month of March, Westchester Road Runner.

Westchester Road Runner is a specialty running store, located in downtown White Plains, NY since 1980. They cater to the serious runner, people on the go, busy moms, and anyone who enjoys running, walking or jogging. For 37 years they have been new product pioneers in the running community. For example, they carried women’s technical apparel before other stores would even take a chance on these new products. The staff has always been comprised of avid runners, cyclists, triathletes and swimmers who continue to participate in and live for their sport, even as they age. The staff’s firsthand knowledge of product, training and competing is a huge asset to their customers. Westchester Road Runner has the largest selection of running shoes, spikes, apparel and accessories in the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut tri-state area! “Westchester Road Runner, We Fit Your Style.”

RCS has had the pleasure of working with Westchester Road Runner for a couple years now, they joined the RCS family in February of 2014 as an adoptee. Karen Greenfeld, Network Administrator at Westchester Road Runner states, “We needed to find a new Counterpoint partner and RCS was suggested. After moving forward with RCS, they have enhanced our use and understanding of Counterpoint, and how it benefits our store. RCS is always available with knowledgeable and courteous staff to assist us with everything from purchases and minor fixes to major software installations.”

Prior to working at Westchester Road Runner, Karen was a network administrator for 25 years in the non-profit sector. She had never worked in retail. Prior to working with RCS, she was given 2 days of training on Counterpoint, before entering orders in the system in a way that was not an efficient or effective use of time. When RCS partnered with Westchester Road Runner, they consulted with Karen and developed new workflows for entering purchase orders for future buying, saving valuable time and helping to put products on the shelves quickly. With this knowledge, she was able to enter orders months in advance of their arrival. RCS also worked with Karen on how to operate and maintain a Microsoft SQL Server (the database system Counterpoint runs on). This gives Westchester Road Runner a better insight into what’s happening in their system.

“RCS cares about their clients! They make you feel that you are always a priority.” – Karen Greenfeld, Westchester Road Runner

 

About Retail Control Systems

Founded in 1987, Retail Control Systems specializes in retail and restaurant management software and hardware solutions. RCS has built a reputation for finding specialized business management solutions that help businesses gain complete control over their operations and finances. From inventory control to daily sales management, RCS has the experience and expertise across the full-range of retail and restaurant industries to meet the unique needs of any business. RCS has been providing superior customer service, exceptional quality, and innovation to the retail and restaurant community for nearly 30 years.

To learn more about RCS, visit www.retailcontrolsystems.com or call 1-800-417-3030.

For more information about Westchester Road Runner, their products, and services, visit www.westchesterroadrunner.com.

Use Social Media to Engage Customers and Drive Traffic to Your Store

Use Social Media to Engage Customers and Drive Traffic to Your Store

Wine & Liquor

Darlene McQueen, Retail Control Systems

Jack Frost cocktail drink in martini glass

Last year around the holidays, I drove all over town trying to find Blue Curacao. Finally, at my fourth liquor store, I successfully purchased the last bottle on the shelf. As I was checking out the owner asked, “Why is Blue Curacao so popular right now?” I pulled out my cell phone and showed him a mouthwatering picture of a drink circulating on social media called “Jack Frost”. The main ingredient in this viral drink was Blue Curacao.

How can your liquor store capitalize on a viral drink? Begin by creating a campaign strategy to engage current customers, which will help sell product and extend your reach. We want to help, so we’ve outlined some tips & tricks.

Start a “Drink of the Month” campaign

  • First, create a drink.
    • Involve employees by encouraging them to create or share recipes.
    • Give the drink a catchy name like “Jack Frost”.
  • Publish a Facebook-worthy photo or a video that will catch the eye of your followers.
    • Include the recipe and use that opportunity to promote certain brands you carry like CIROC instead of just Vodka.
    • Be sure to include your store’s logo on the photo/video.
  • Make it fun for all!
    • Encourage customers to rate the drink, or share photos of themselves enjoying the cocktail on your social media channels.

Get Ready to Sell

  • Create in-store displays that make it easy to find all the ingredients.
  • Use your inventory management solution to ensure you have and maintain ample stock of your “Drink of the Month” ingredients.
  • Create “Drink of the Month” sales kits and use your point of sale solution to assemble and sell these kits easily.
  • Use your point of sale solution to automatically create special pricing on the ingredients in the “Drink of the Month”.

Get Results

  • Pull sales reports to determine the success of your campaign.
  • Use an integrated email marketing solution, like NCR’s Customer Connect, to target customers who have purchased kits and send emails encouraging them to rate their experience online.

Commit

Before you begin this campaign make sure you are committed, the last thing you want is to promote a “Drink of the Month” campaign and have it fizzle after a couple weeks.

Having a Point of Sale System, like NCR Counterpoint, that can help you easily and quickly create these campaigns to drive customers to your store is important to the success of your business. Retail Control Systems (RCS) values ourselves as trusted advisors and helps to provide you with a POS that will not only fit your store needs, but will also allow you to sell more.

Having a standard e-​commerce store is so 1995

Having a standard e-​commerce store is so 1995

E-commerce

When the d​ot-com era started back in 1995, having an online store was an expensive venture. It was reserved for dreamers, visionaries and business owners that wanted to be a part of the next big thing. Many people tried cutting corners to gain ground, ​but only those who understood the true vision of the e-commerce flourished. Those who pushed through back in ‘95 created what we now know as e​-commerce.

That was all 22 years ago! Today, there are over 100,000 online stores in the U.​S.​ alone. Internet giants like Amazon, e​bay and the like have changed the way that the world buys products. It is easier than ever for retailers of all shapes and sizes to offer their inventory online. It is no longer a question as to whether or not you should have an e​-commerce store. The question is, what do you need to be doing now to prepare your online store for the future?

Man sitting at apple computer

Today’s customers are highly educated about the product they are looking for. They want a seamless interaction with your brand, no matter what platform they are on. If they pull up your website they want to see what inventory you have, in real time. They want to be able to buy on your website and pick up the item in store. They also want to be able to return their online purchase in store. They even want to be able to ask questions and get quick, accurate information on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. The piece to this equation is that according to recent statistics 50% of these customers do all of these things from their mobile phone.

Today, 30 million people use the amazon.com application on their cell phone every month. The interesting take away from that number is not how big Amazon is, but that there is another major shift happening in the way that customers expect to interact with you and your store. You can either plan for your future or be left in the dust wondering why customers are no longer shopping with you. All of this ties back to your brand and how it can manage these interactions.

Did you know that $0.36 of every dollar spent in stores is influenced by a digital interaction that a customer has with your brand? That’s estimated to be 1.1 Trillion dollars per year of retail spending in the U.S. alone.

So what do you need to get started in this digital era?

  • A mobile optimized online store.
  • Regularly updated social media accounts
  • Employees managing customer interactions within your social media accounts.
  • Real time inventory control from your Point of Sale system to your online store.
  • The capability to manage customers in one central location.

Does this sound like a lot for you to manage? If you said yes, it’s nothing to be ashamed of, even large retailers rely on technology partners. They trust them to provide up to date information about trends, new technology and products that make it all happen.

Retail Control Systems (RCS) is an industry leader that helps small to medium sized businesses navigate these challenges. RCS can provide everything from basic store management solutions all the way to completely integrated Omni-channel solutions.

If you are interested in learning more about e​-commerce and how it can unite your online and in store experience you can join us for one (or all!) of our e​-commerce webinars:

  • SESSION 1:  Why E-Commerce – February 7th – 2:00 pm EST
    • Trends taking place and an introduction to getting a store online.
    • Leverage your physical store (pickup in store, ship to/from store, returns, etc.).
    • Leverage your investment in NCR CounterPoint (order/inventory/purchasing).
  • SESSION 2:  E-commerce Strategy – February 13th – 2:00 pm EST  
    • First steps in getting an e-Commerce solution online.
    • Platform choices based on needs (NRO, Commerce5, and others).
    • NCR CounterPoint integration considerations.
  • SESSION 3:  E-commerce Success – February 21st – 2:00 pm EST
    • Traffic Generation / SEO
    • Traffic Conversion
    • Fulfillment / Resource needs (people)
    • Budgeting for success
  • SESSION 4:  Ongoing Expectations – March 7th – 2:00pm EST
    • Future considerations (marketplaces, mobile, and social media).
    • Maintenance and upgrades.
    • Branding / Marketing Strategy.

2017 Sales Tax Changes

Technical Tip

2017 sales tax changes took effect Jan. 1

Sales tax doesn’t often make headlines, but with changes in multiple states, sales tax is making waves and reshaping the way companies in the direct selling industry manage their business. That trend is likely to continue into 2017. The New Year brings new taxes, new exemptions, and renewed efforts by states to implement internet sales taxes. It will also bring plenty of the usual suspects, like sales and use tax rate changes.

State sales tax

  • The state sales and use tax rate in California will drop from 7.5% to 7.25% under Proposition 30, which temporarily increased the rate by 0.25% through December 1, 2016. The state rate decrease also affects certain partial state tax exemptions.
  • To offset a recent gas tax hike, the state sales and use tax rate in New Jersey will decrease from 7% to 6.875% on January 1, 2017. It will drop further in 2018.
  • North Carolina use tax will apply to businesses storing tangible personal property or digital property in the state for any period of time. This expansion of use tax is due to the enactment of Senate Bill 729.
  • However, Missouri sales and use tax will not be expanded to any currently exempt services in 2017. On November 8, voters approved prohibiting the expansion of sales tax to any services not taxed as of January 1, 2015. It will be interesting to see if Missouri legislators attempt to capture additional sales tax revenue another way.

Local sales tax

The following states have announced local sales and use tax rate changes, that went into effect January 1:

  • Arkansas
  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • Kansas
  • Minnesota
  • Nebraska (also boundary changes, which can impact rates)
  • Oklahoma
  • Utah
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin

Learn more about these changes and how they affect your business.