They might not don a cape or have super-human strength, but the c-store sector is full of heroes who rise to the challenges of retailing every day, serving the public and saving the day. For our 2013 Sales Assistant of the Year Awards we want to hear about these valiant staff members.

Last year’s winners show just how valuable such employees are to a business. When a chiller broke down at Chelmsford Star Co-op in Essex, supervisor and winner of the Co-op and Multiple Sales Assistant category in 2012, Simon Sims, wasted no time. He moved the stock to a temporary location and transformed the broken chiller into an eye-catching cinema-themed display to avoid dead space and add sales.

When Spar Lambeg in Northern Ireland was failing on health and safety, last year’s overall Sales Assistant of Year Daniel Hill sprung in to action, conducting a series of audits and implementing improvements until the store achieved a 100% pass rate.

If you employ someone who is taking the initiative with bright ideas and a head for business, as well as top-notch customer service skills, then we want to hear about them. Even if the person you have in mind is a little shy, what better way to boost their confidence by encouraging them to enter?

It took his managers putting him forward for the award to make Daniel realise his true potential. “Being in with a chance of winning the Sales Assistant Award was something I would never have thought of, but my managers said to go for it, and they were right,” he says. “I now feel like all my hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed. It makes me feel that everything I do is appreciated.”

Not only can winning our award boost morale, it can also lead to great results for your business. “Customers are still coming up to congratulate me, and the press coverage following the event has given people a better idea of what our business is about,” he says.

It’s easy to enter. Just email us at with the entrant’s answers to the questions below, or post them to:

Sales Assistant of the Year Awards, William Reed Business Media, FREEPOST (RCC1797), Broadfield Park, Crawley, West Sussex RH11 9RT.

Or look out for a bespoke entry form mailed to every reader with the July 19 issue of C-Store.

The deadline is August 23, following which a judging panel will compile a shortlist. Our on-the-road judges will then visit those shortlisted at their stores, before picking the best from the following categories: Independent; Multiple Symbol; Forecourt; and Co-operative and Multiple.
Convenience Store and the Awards supporters - JTI, Mars Chocolate UK and Müller - will welcome the finalists to an unforgettable awards ceremony at the Dorchester Hotel in Mayfair, London, on November 12.

On the day of the event, finalists will once more be interviewed to select the Sales Assistant of the Year, as well as an additional award for Community Hero.

All finalists will receive a £500 prize, with the winner going on to receive an additional £500 prize, and an award of £250 going to the Community Hero.

How to enter

Ask your candidate to answer the following six questions, and send their replies 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 bespoke entry form will be mailed to every reader with the July 19 issue of C-Store.

1. What are your top responsibilities in the store, and how have these changed over time?

2. Describe your store’s customer base and how the business has adapted to meet different customer groups’ needs in terms of product range and store layout.

3. Describe an idea you have introduced recently to improve efficiency, customer service and/or sales.

4. What community engagement activities have you initiated and what impact have these had on the community and on the business?

5. 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?

6. What aspect of your work in the store are you most proud of, and why?

Post your entries to:

Sales Assistant of the Year Awards, William Reed Business Media, FREEPOST (RCC1797), Broadfield Park, Crawley, West Sussex RH11 9RT, or email:

What you can win

Shop floor staff, checkout operators and supervisors will all be considered for this award.

We’re looking for entries by August 23, 2013 in the following categories:

• Independent supported by JTI £500
• Multiple Symbol supported by Mars Chocolate UK £500
• Forecourt £500
• Co-operative and Multiple supported by Müller £500

From these judges will select:

• Sales Assistant of the Year £500

With additional awards for:

• Community Hero £250
• Winner’s store manager £250