What they can win
We're looking for entries by August 19, 2011 in the following categories: 

Independent  £500 supported by Mars Chocolate UK 
Independent Symbol  £500 supported by JTI 
Multiple Symbol  £500 supported by P&G 
Forecourt  £500 supported by Coca-Cola Enterprises 
Co-operative and Multiple  £500 

From these the judges will select: 
Sales Assistant of the Year  £500 

With additional awards for: Community Hero  £250 Overall winner's store manager  £250
Every convenience store is hiding a great sales assistant. Let’s take the opportunity to celebrate them

Every C-Store has a special ingredient that makes their business brilliant. It could be the chatty cashier who can double a customer's basket spend by recommending a good deal; or the knowledgeable shop-floor worker who tells a customer the best way to prepare an exotic vegetable. You may not have time to praise all the good work they do on a daily basis, but take that person out of the equation and your shop would be missing a vital component.

So instead of letting your best sales assistant go unnoticed, give them some credit for the amazing job they do: nominate them for the Sales Assistant of the Year Awards. It couldn't be easier as you'll find an entry form sent to you as the carriage sheet in this issue.

Along with our supplier supporters JTI, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Mars and P&G, C-Store is looking to celebrate the top sales assistant in the convenience sector.

How to enter
Ask your candidate to answer the following six questions, and send them to us by post or email. Please include a letter of endorsement (350 words max) from the store owner or manager summing up the great work the candidate does, and a recent photo of them. And don't forget to include their name, store name and address, and which category they are entering. A simple, bespoke entry form can be found with this issue of C-Store. 

1. List your five most important responsibilities in your store (e.g deputising for manager, banking, ordering, supervising a section etc) 

2. What aspects of your work in the store are you most proud of and why? 

3. Describe a crisis or challenging incident that occurred in your store recently, and how you helped to resolve it. 

4. When you are asked for cigarettes or alcohol by someone you believe to be under the legal age to purchase these goods, what do you do? 

5. Describe an idea you have introduced recently to improve customer service in your store. 

6. Which was the most successful new product in your store in the past year. In your opinion, why was it so popular? 

Post your entries to Sales Assistant of the Year Awards 2011, William Reed Business Media, FREEPOST (RCC1797), Broadfield Park, Crawley, West Sussex, RH11 9RT. Entries can also be emailed to cstevents@wrbm.com. The deadline is August 19, 2011.
In the autumn judges will be hitting the road to interview those put forward for this highly prestigious award. We'll be selecting one winner from each of the categories (see panel below) to attend our awards ceremony at the Dorchester Hotel in London on November 15.

Each of the five finalists attending the awards will receive a £500 prize, plus there's a £250 award for a Community Hero. The overall winner will receive an additional £500, and there's a £250 reward for the manager who nominated them.

So take a few minutes to consider the person who really is making a difference to your customers and your sales. After all, if that person is keeping your business sweet, they surely deserve a thank you.

" CCE is delighted to be sponsoring the forecourt category, which celebrates outstanding customer service in this sector. In Forecourts, fast, friendly and efficient service is key to success and we wish all entrants the best of luck "
Selena Taylor, Coca-Cola Enterprises

" A retailer's success depends on the level of service its customers receive and it's thanks to the outstanding work and attention to detail that sales assistants deliver every single day that the convenience channel continues to perform so well "
Bep Dhaliwal, Mars Chocolate

" C-stores are the hub of many local communities and the service given by staff is often invaluable. Every year, we hear amazing stories of the commitment staff show to customers and that is why we continue to support these awards so wholeheartedly "
Paul Lettice, P&G

" JTI is delighted to be involved for the 12th year running as these awards recognise and reward hard-working and dedicated shop staff and highlight the important role they play in the retail trade "
Melanie Mills, JTI