That’s us on the front cover of C-Store. I know we’re a mean-looking bunch, but these are serious times. Sarah, Gaelle, Dave, Andy, Kate, Aidan, Toni and I may not agree on everything, but we all agree that Convenience Store has a big role to play in standing up and speaking up for your interests. So that’s what we are going to do. We’ve already made our voice heard on the proposals to ban tobacco displays, and we’ll keep up the fight. Introducing a law on proxy purchasing, making it illegal for adults to buy tobacco on behalf of children, is a much better way to achieve the same end, so we’ll fight for that, too. And as the ever-increasing rise in energy costs is threatening the viability of small stores, we’ll try our hardest to ease the burden here as well. Some of these issues will take us into conflict with powerful organisations. For example, Cancer Research’s submission to the recent tobacco consultation seeks to undermine yours truly and Convenience Store, claiming we do not represent retailers, and that any store owners appearing in print are most likely put forward by a tobacco company to trot out the corporate line. Many of you are in this magazine regularly, so you know that this assumption is, quite frankly, bollocks. It’s morally very difficult to be upset with a cancer charity, but they’ve got this one wrong. We’re speaking up on this subject because we know that thousands of you believe that retailers – and their customers – will suffer if the display ban proposals are just waved through without having all the costs and benefits properly tested first. There’s plenty of people speaking to independent retailers, but not enough speaking for them. So please get behind us, and let’s see what we can achieve together.

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