Neil Ashcroft, 32, from Rainhill – I’m the centre’s General Manager
What do you do?
I give the centre the look and feel and the personality that we want our shoppers to experience. I work the hours the centre needs me to whether that’s early in the morning to check we look great for opening at 8am or selling the centre to the wider business community at a networking event at 9pm. It all links back to the same aim of ‘how do we make the centre great?’
I am at St Johns almost every day and invariably I’m on the shop floor because I want to be listening to what customers are saying, looking at standards, and checking the customer service we’re giving. I do have a wider management team that deliver the operation for me but that first-hand interaction is so important because it gives me a feel for everything. It’s all about seeing it through the shoppers’ eyes.
How long have you worked at St Johns?
Since September 2017 but it feels like longer, definitely in a good way, because we’ve done so much in that time. I feel like I’m part of the furniture of St Johns now.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
The variety and freedom to think outside the box and deliver what I think is best for customers. I like the fact that we can express our personality through the shopping centre so that might be on our social media, being a bit cheeky, or certain graphics we use in the centre. I could go from having a meeting about the shape of the bins to an awards ceremony to planning Christmas lights, it’s so diverse.
What is your personal favourite place there?
I really like the bottom of the escalators, as you enter the food court, because that convergence is the area that the majority of shoppers will either see or cross at some point. If I want to get a real feel for how busy the centre is on a particular day, whether there’s a buzz to it, that’s a great viewpoint to see so much.
What’s the funniest thing that’s happened at work?
I did the Radio City Cash For Kids Superhero Skyfall down St Johns Beacon dressed as Bananaman and I was wandering round the centre before and nobody batted an eyelid. Shoppers didn’t look twice and tenants were talking to me like I was just in my regular suit!
Have you ever had a celebrity customer?
Danny Boyle, Richard Curtis and Sarah Lancashire were filming in here recently, and obviously all of our presenter friends at Radio City.
Who would be your dream workmate & why?
Lord Alan Sugar – he’s made business entertaining and accessible through The Apprentice and I think he’d soften my management style!