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By National Retail Solutions
August 24, 2022

Interviewee: Elie Y. Katz, President & CEO of National Retail Solutions (www.nrsplus.com

In response to the rise in convenience store-related crimes throughout the country, National Retail Solutions (NRS) has intensified its positioning on the need for better worker safety and security measures.  National Retail Solutions (NRS), the operator of a leading USA point of sale (POS) network and payment processing service for independent retailers, debuts the patented NRS POS Panic Alarm Button for all New York and Jersey retailers, including independent grocery, convenience stores, and bodegas, and announces its patented panic button feature as a complementary point of sale add-on for all NRS customers, free for one full year. The pilot program will begin in New York and New Jersey and will expand throughout the United States in later 2022 and 2023. 

NRS is a leading provider of intuitive point-of-sale (POS) systems, custom-built for independent retailers across the USA. The NRS POS system is a powerful retail ecosystem that helps small business owners organize their stores, attract customers, and increase revenue. The new NRS POS Panic Alarm is the latest feature in the state-of-the-art technology of the NRS Point of Sale system, which includes a variety of hardware and software features that help small business owners be more efficient. 

Elie Y. Katz, President & CEO of National  Retail Solutions (www.nrsplus.com), understands the needs of urban-based small businesses, and their customers’ success and safety are always the number one focus.  

Q. This is a great extra layer of security, given the uptick in crime on bodegas and store owners in metropolitan areas like New York City. Does it incorporate Enhanced 911 call routing? 

The NRS Panic Alarm Button is a patented silent alert button located on the POS merchant touchscreen. When the button is pressed and held, the POS interfaces with the security company to route the alert to the local police. The cash drawer will simultaneously open so that the perpetrator is unaware that the Panic Alarm Button has been pressed. The store owner is contacted immediately as well. 

Q. You mentioned Junior’s Law — Alyssa’s Law also addresses this and the issue of response times in life-threatening emergencies. It has been passed into law in New Jersey, with pending legislation in New York. Is the system compliant with such state mandates?

Alyssa's Law requires that all New Jersey public schools install silent panic alarms that will alert law enforcement during emergencies such as an active shooter or to employ an alternative emergency mechanism approved by the Department of Education. NRS serves independent retailers, many of whom run lean operations and may not have the option to install a similar safety and security option. The Panic Alarm button feature available through their NRS POS seeks to accomplish similar objectives: to increase safety and emergency response times for our partners and customers when they need it most. 

Q. Can you tell us a little more about the subscription, what it entails, and what customers can expect to pay after their one-year free pilot program?

The NRS Panic Alarm Button is a monthly subscription Premium Feature add-on that costs $12.95/month (and only $9.95/month if the business accepts credit cards with NRS Pay processing). The retailer can submit a request to activate the Panic Alarm capability through their NRS POS, via the NRS merchant web portal, or by calling (888) 755-9838. Details are available at nrsplus.com/panicalarm.

Q. What is something you would communicate to store owners and proprietors who may be on the fence about investing in this kind of system?

No capability can eliminate unexpected emergencies, but better communication with law enforcement and responders during an emergency improves outcomes for those in a crisis. Early threat identification can save lives and property, whether a violent crime or a medical emergency occurs. We offer this feature for less than 50 cents a day to provide a discreet, safe and affordable option for our independent store owners to add to their in-store safety measures. Above all, we encourage community store operators to have a safety and emergency preparedness plan.

Q. What are some recommendations and practical steps that bodega/convenience store workers can take to protect their safety?

Like improving the speed of communication in an emergency with a silent panic alert button, there are several things store owners find effective for reducing and deterring emergencies:

  • Establish, train, and practice an emergency protocol that includes emergency notification, lockdown, and evacuation procedures.
  • Keep a first-aid kit on hand, and check it routinely to ensure critical supplies are well-stocked.
  • Consider posting in-store signs communicating safety monitoring. Neighborly shoppers will appreciate it, and others will take notice.
  • Invest in a multi-camera surveillance system that monitors the store from many angles.
  • Avoid keeping large cash bills in the register after hours.
  • Empty the cash drawer discreetly when the store is less busy.
  • Visit the bank during daylight hours and consider taking someone with you so you’re not carrying your cash alone.

Most importantly, we encourage them to build relationships. Get to know your business neighbors, talk to your customers, communicate and stay informed about incidents in your neighborhood so that you can work together to keep an eye on one another. Seek out and get to know your local police and local responders. No one wants you to be safe and prosperous together more than your community. For NRS, our store operators and their staff are our community.

For more information, visit nrsplus.com/panicalarm or call 833-289-2767.