Anita Nye from Eldred Drive Stores (Premier) in Orpington, Kent, has won the Sales Assistant of the Year Awards 2014.
Anita, who had already been announced as the UK’s best sales assistant in the independent retail category, beat off stiff competition to claim the overall prize in the prestigious national competition organised by Convenience Store magazine.
Anita’s impressive balance of commercial initiative and first rate customer service wowed the judging panel.
Her dedication to the local community and the store, where she has worked for more than 27 years, was equally inspiring.
She regularly carries out home deliveries in her own time, and when heavy snow rendered local roads treacherous earlier this year she took it upon herself to go out with a sledge and deliver essential groceries to the homes of her elderly and infirm customers.
Anita also displays an impressive array of responsible retailing initiatives which include working closely with local schools to reduce litter and antisocial behaviour. A policy of not serving school children after 8.30am is also helping to improve attendance rates and punctuality.
However, Anita also seeks to make the store a fun and engaging place for local teenagers, decorating it for all seasonal events, dreaming up engaging competitions and even making her own range of greetings cards.
Store owner Raju said he would have been “lost without” Anita’s support over the years and especially during the store’s recent extension, and transition to a Premier, when she often worked past midnight to help prepare for opening.
Winning the overall prize was “simply overwhelming” Anita said. “At first I was chuffed just to be nominated. The entire process, from the judging visit to the posh hotel stay, lunch at the Dorchester, the award ceremony and of course the prize money, has just been a dream come true. To be recognised and rewarded so richly just for doing something you love is simply incredible.”
Convenience Store’s editor David Rees congratulated Anita on her win: “Anita’s tremendous commitment to her community and her dedication to constantly improving the business is truly inspiring and highlights the critical role that sales assistants play in business success.
“I would also like to congratulate the other four category winners on their fantastic achievements,” he added.
Multiple symbol sector winner Stewart Harkin claimed the Community Hero prize for his outstanding commitment to Eurospar Cullybackey’s local community.
Each of the category winners was awarded £500 at the grand awards lunch at London’s Dorchester hotel earlier this week. Anita was presented with a further £500 for being the overall winner and Stuart a further £250.
FULL LIST OF CATEGORY WINNERS
- Sales Assistant of the Year and Independent sector winner - ANITA NYE – ELDRED DRIVE STORES (PREMIER) ORPINGTON
- Community Hero and Multiple symbol sector winner - STEWART HARKIN – EUROSPAR CULLYBACKEY
- Forecourt sector winner - IRENE HUNTER – EUROSPAR DROMARA
- Co-operative sector winner - SARAH HAYTON - LAKES AND DALES CO-OPERATIVE, KESWICK
- Multiple sector winner - AMY CARR – MCCOLLS MEOLS, HOYLAKE
Sales Assistant of the Year is supported by JTI, Mars Chocolate, Procter & Gamble, Coca Cola Enterprises and The Post Office.