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Home Features & interviews (Editorial) Let’s keep smiling: a tribute to a great retailer

(Editorial) Let’s keep smiling: a tribute to a great retailer

April 20, 2020


As we say goodbye to one of retail’s most cheerful men, let’s follow his lead and smile through these dark times

Independent retailing is a hard job which requires some pretty basic skills:

The ability to work out percentages. An eye for detail, whether for merchandising or in a tax return. A good memory.

Yet, more important than all of that is the ability to wake up everyday with a smile on your face. This might sound trite and it very possibly is. Yet it is also true.

It’s a smile that lets you keep your cool when an argumentative customer loses theirs. It’s the smile which gives you enthusiasm for any new opportunity – whether that’s vaping, food to go or any growth category. Keep a smile on your face all day and you will begin it with hope and end it with pride.

I bet – and this, I promise you, is more than baseless flattery – that those of you who spend most time contemplating the vaping opportunity with us are natural-born smilers. Why? You are the ones who prefer seeking out new profit opportunities while others grumble about a lost “good old days”.

A smile can make a retailer and one of the best smilers around was Raj Aggarwal. His Spar Wigston store was a regular award winner and he was one of the few retailers around that made the effort to be at any event going – always willing to learn and to share his experiences of life as a retailer.

The industry lost Raj – and his smile – last week as COVID-19 chose to take somebody who was so much more than a statistic. We grieve, of course, for his family – yet, the loss is to the industry also.

A quick look through his final tweets shows he was serving his customers through the lockdown with the same passion and enthusiasm as ever, an example to all of us.

Our advice at Vape Business often involves ranging and display advice – all of it important. This week however, let’s also remember that most fundamental of skills, the one Raj had mastered so well.

This week, let’s smile.