Longton Exchange Shopping Centre welcomes a new Centre Manager.
Chris Ward has joined as Centre Manager following on from his previous role at The Woolshops Shopping Centre in Halifax.
Chris previously held roles across the North West including New Mersey Shopping Park and Belle Vale Shopping Centre before moving to Woolshops Shopping Centre in the heart of Halifax, West Yorkshire. Having started his career in the industry as a security guard in 2005 and working on the ‘shop floor’, his dedication and customer centric approach has given him the drive to embrace the challenges faced by the retail industry at present.
Holding management positions in retail, such as Boots the Chemist gave him the chance to learn the importance of the customer experience which he hopes to pass on to Longton Exchange and Chris was thrilled at being given the opportunity to work at a community shopping centre, in which he hopes to add social value for the local residents and the wider community.
Chris affirmed: “I try and split my time evenly between all areas of the centre and I really enjoy visiting the retailers and getting their feedback. A big part of my role will be to engage with the wider city. Longton Exchange is a big part of Stoke on Trent and it is important that we have a voice”.
There has been considerable investment by the owners in recent years to help make the centre more inviting for both shoppers and retailers.
Longton Exchange is an integral part of the wider retail offer in Stoke on Trent and has a credible and relevant retail offering for the local population including a mix of national retailers such as Superdrug, Specsavers, BonMarché and Boots along with its burgeoning independent retailers such as Potteries Potions, Steve’s Butchers, Lotus Garden Collections, Butterflies Wonderland, and Cannonball Records, not to mention multiple food outlets and a thriving health and beauty offering.
Chris said: “We have lots of independent retailers which give the centre a unique offering which suits the local community. Service delivery is as important to our shoppers as it is to our core customer care team. Over the coming months our cleaning and security staff will be undergoing lots of training to ensure we can offer the same levels of service to every type of shopper visiting Longton Exchange”. He added that “in creating a destination that really reflects the needs of shoppers in the area it will meet those needs whilst offering industry leading customer service, I want the centre to represent the city and embrace the community it supports”.
“My role will cover all aspects of centre management; through my team I will ensure the centre is clean, secure and customer centric. An important focus for me is on building retailer relationships, developing community links and ensuring the centre is an asset to the area”.
Chris has been pleasantly surprised by the town’s close-knit community, adding that “this is my sixth week working in Longton and it’s been brilliant. My focus is to encourage customers old and new to visit the centre and wider town along with ensuring we fill the vacant units to create an offering that draws visitors to the area”.
Over the next 12 months, a key part of the vision includes continually showcasing the range of retailer products available at the centre, putting on an exciting programme of free, family events and
providing a safe and clean environment that ultimately people prefer to shop, which can only help keep attracting regular and new visitors.
The general feedback being received is that the centre is a real part of the community and the public want to see it flourish and evolve. Chris said that he was looking forward to exploring opportunities within the local community and is excited to see what the future holds for both Longton Exchange and the town.