Anita Nye’s star hasn’t stopped rising since she won Sales Assistant of the Year 2014. Now it’s time to find a new sparkler
Anita Nye admits to feeling more than a little daunted when she scooped the Sales Assistant of the Year 2014 Award for her outstanding work at Eldred Drive Stores (Premier) in Kent. However, you’d never have known it to see her smiling confidently into the camera – trophy and prize money in hand as the flashbulbs popped and crowd cheered.
It’s a good thing really as Anita’s star has risen even higher since claiming the coveted prize last year – in fact, she’s becoming quite accustomed to being in the spotlight.
“Winning the award was not only great on a personal level, it also been fantastic professionally,” she explains. “The day after I won, Booker sales director for retail Steve Fox, who was on holiday at the time, called to say congratulations and I had a lovely email from Martin Swadling who heads up Premier.”
The team at Booker were so impressed by Anita that shortly after the awards they invited her to speak at an event for Booker depot managers. “It was quite nerve-wracking at first, but I was honoured to have been asked, and it probably wouldn’t have happened if my profile hadn’t been raised by the Sales Assistant of the Year Awards,” she says.
Since winning, Anita has also been promoted from sales assistant to store manager. “I am really enjoying the new role,” she says. “There’s quite a bit more paperwork, but it’s rewarding and a great feeling to be recognised for your hard work,” she adds.
And with the framed awards prominently displayed above the counter, Anita’s win has also had a positive impact on the store by re-enforcing its high standards and community credentials to local shoppers – after all, not many stores can claim that they have the UK’s best sales assistant working for them.
And let’s not forget the £1,000 prize money that Anita claimed along with her win. “The prize money was also a huge bonus. I went to New York with my sister and spent lots of it on outfits for my first grandson who was born a few weeks ago,” Anita adds. Store owner Raju Patel, who has supported Anita over the 25 years she has worked for him, encouraged her to enter and was also rewarded with a £250 prize.
Unsurprisingly, Anita encourages other retailers to enter their sales assistants or supervisors. “There aren’t any other awards in the convenience industry that reward frontline staff – and the benefits of winning are more than clear. Even if they don’t win, entering alone is good for boosting morale as it shows you recognise the hard work your staff do. Staff are the cornerstones of your business – your store wouldn’t stand up without them.”
Anita’s impressive balance of commercial initiative and first-rate customer service wowed the judging panel and made her the worthiest of winners. Not only does she regularly carry out home deliveries in her own time, but in bad weather she’s been known to venture out with a sledge and deliver essential groceries to the homes of her elderly and infirm customers.
She also works closely with the area’s local schools to reduce litter and antisocial behaviour and introduced a policy of not serving school children after 8.30am, which led to improved attendance rates and punctuality.
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 to give shoppers a personal point of difference.
Do you have a gem like Anita working in your store? Enter the Sales Assistant of The Year awards 2015 for the chance to win big like Anita.
How to enter
Shop floor staff, checkout operators and supervisors are all eligible to enter. We’re looking for the best in the following categories:
Independent Sales Assistant of the Year supported by JTI Multiple Symbol Sales Assistant of the Year supported by Mars Chocolate Forecourt Sales Assistant of the Year Co-operative Sector Sales Assistant of the Year supported by Coca-Cola Enterprises Multiple Sector Sales Assistant of the Year supported by The Post Office
Four simple ways to enter: Fill in the entry form on p29 Download an entry form from www.salesassistantawards.co.uk Email us for an entry form at firstname.lastname@example.org Call us for an entry form on 01293 610439
The deadline for entries is 21 August, after which a judging panel will compile a shortlist. Our on-the-road judges will then visit shortlisted sales assistants at their stores, before choosing one winner from each category. Awards supporters JTI, Mars Chocolate UK, Coca-Cola Enterprises and the Post Office will welcome the winners to an unforgettable awards ceremony at London’s Dorchester Hotel on Tuesday 10 November. On the day, each category winner will be interviewed to select the overall Sales Assistant of the Year and the Community Hero.