Dear All,

Welcome to the summer 2019 newsletter. I do hope you are having a busy summer and that the tills are ringing with good Cigar and Tobacco sales and of course all the other specialist goods you sell. Who would have thought that the opening lines of a Tobacco newsletter would not start with Cigarettes and HRT.

For our seventh article we have a contribution from  Farrents of Cobham.

Farrants has been a familiar sight in Cobham, Surrey since 1896 when it was a small rural village. We supplied the villagers from our small shop with everyday goods such as newspapers, confectionery, tobacco and stationery. As the village slowly grew, we expanded our range to meet increased customer expectations and by 1912 we had secured new premises at 15 High Street. In 1938, our increasing range encouraged us to expand into next door, number 17.

In the 1970’s Cobham became widely known as a leafy stock broker town and increased in size dramatically bringing in prosperity hitherto unknown. Over the following 3 decades, our newly affluent clientele led to us expanding into a chain of six shops. Our flagship newsagents with a small walk-in humidor, a toy shop, a dedicated stationers, two convenience stores and a computer shop.

In 2013 we set wheels in motion for our most ambitious project yet: to open Cobham’s first department store. Comprised of the best parts of all of our shops but in one premises, it would offer the most exceptional shopping experience in Cobham. Over the years our customers were expecting a finer selection of Havanas which we were unable to previously offer due to the limited space available. We concluded that we had to go above and beyond the precedent we had set and the concept of our tobacco room was born.

We designed the tobacco room to have areas of interest other than the products on offer. We included empty cigar boxes and other historical items in the design to encourage natural dialogue and engage with our customers. This influenced the design process of the rest of the store, which is decorated with unique flourishes that celebrate both our history and special connection to Cobham.

We proudly opened the doors to our new store in November 2015 – a little late and a little over budget! The jewel in our crown is the self-contained tobacco room and gold standard walk-in humidor which contains the finest selection of cigars from Havanas to Guatemala and Nicaragua.

Building on our success and looking to the future we are in the early stages of conceptualising a sampling lounge for our cigar customers and a COSA with artisan coffee facilities. These services will provide a memorable and relaxing experience that will encourage return visits and are just some of the ways we plan to continue serving Cobham with the very best shopping experience.

Update on Track & Trace First reports from some members who are involved in Track & Trace are as follows, For smaller businesses Trace & Trace  has demonstrated that it has had a particularly severe impact in terms of time, resources and funding. The disproportionate burden of implementing the highly complex system is extreme, thoroughly disadvantageous, and unreasonable and threatens the very future of a number of these businesses.   I would like to ask for input from any of our Members. It may be that you have comments about your own direct experiences or, if not yet directly involved, have heard about experiences in the trade. Additionally, if you have any comments on the above points do please let me know. I know it is early days, and T&T compliant product is only just beginning to enter the market, but meetings w are ongoing so I would be very grateful for any comments as soon as possible. It goes without saying that any of the problems experienced in Phase 1 may well support our case for some relief for OTPs as Phase 2 approaches.   There is also the change in the regulations regarding the sale of Menthol Cigarettes in the UK. As from May 20th 2020 you will not be able to sell menthol Cigarettes or HRT.     A few pictures from the AITS Lunch held at Lords in June.

General Information     As you will see we have changed the website address to www.aits.co.uk. You will be able to read this on the website once you  have received the information regarding your members password. Also please note  my e-mail address has changed to [email protected]. Could you please use my new address for all future correspondence as I will pick this email address first so it will save me time and will allow me to reply sooner?     We are still looking at the Worldpay situation and hopefully will have some other companies you may want to look at to discuss at the meeting in November or even before that at the Exhibition.

IMPORTANT FORTH COMING DATE     5th & 6th OCTOBER. THE NTGF AT TRENT BRIDGE CRICKET GROUND AND THE AITS DINNER ON THE EVENING OF THE 5th. Tickets for the Dinner are available from Helen Green.   13TH NOVEMBER AGM & GENERAM MEETING AT COPT HEATH GOLF CLUB   Please if you have any stories, activity at your shop, any tobacco product promotions or anything else  that could be of interest to all our members just let me know and we can add it to the next newsletter or put it directly on to the website.   Cheers, Robin.   Robin A Page Secretary.