In the third Independent Achievers Academy visit of 2013, the IAA’s Ed Chadwick joined JTI’s Melanie Mills on a visit to Yogi Tatla’s Berkshire store to talk about how he protects his business, staff and customers.

Key tips

  • Don’t leave younger members of staff alone on the shop floor
  • Use resources such as www.tobaccoretailing.com to make sure that staff are regularly trained on latest regulation
  • Make sure you keep in contact with neighbourhood police officers to tell them about problems and share information

1.Yogi explains that there is a structured training system in place for new-starters and that they are paired with a ‘buddy’ when they initially go out onto the shop floor. More experienced staff members are also encouraged to support younger ones, says Yogi. “One might say to the other ‘I would definitely ask that customer for ID,’ and it helps colleagues to think about it.” Melanie comments that in addition to this, training refreshes are crucial.

2. With a 24-camera system covering every inch of the shop, the steps that Yogi has taken to protect staff and customers is evident. “CCTV gives reassurance to both staff and customers that this is a shop which clearly takes safety seriously,” says Melanie.

3.With his shop at the centre of a housing estate, Yogi understands the benefit of being part of his community and works with other businesses in the parade if there is ever an issue. “Martin’s next door is my biggest rival but we always share information of there’s a problem,” he explains. “It’s great that Yogi has built a network of support that enables him to speak to police and other businesses nearby if there is a problem,” says Melanie.

“It’s great to have a supplier confirm that that we are doing a good job of retailing responsibly,” says Yogi. “There is always room for improvement and after Melanie’s visit I am certainly looking to do what I can to help my staff brush up.”

To find about more about getting involved, visit iaacademy.co.uk. You can enter your business into the 2013 awards here; entries close 26 July.