Day in the Life of a Shopping Centre Manager – Richard Kaye

Richard Kaye is currently the Centre Manager at Dalton Park, the largest outlet shopping centre in the Northeast.


Morning Routine:

So, every morning I wake up 20 minutes before I went to bed, do a full marathon then spend 30 minutes meditating in the ice bath. For breakfast I wander down my organic fruit orchard & pick the ripest fruits to make a smoothie with vegan chia seeds & drink it from a coconut shell that fell naturally from a fair-trade farm. Well, that’s what it looks like on Instagram anyway. The reality is something quite different! My entire morning routine revolves around getting my daughter Lola up, fed watered, dressed & out the door before 8am. Mid-week I rise around 6.30am & first thing I do is make a massive pot of coffee. I then spend the next 1.5 hours making breakfast, packed lunch, ironing uniform, shouting at the top of my voice, walking the dog, more shouting, go on YouTube to learn how to-do a French plait because at 7.59am that’s how Lola wants her hair (god bless YouTube!) then when I have dropped her off at the childminders, got over the guilt of not taking her to school myself, its then the most peaceful moment of the day – the 30 min drive to work, me time!! I listen to six music & the divine Lauren Laverne, 30 mins of pure bliss…


Workday Highlights:

It will have been said before, but the beauty of this role & any retail/hospitality role is that every day is different & that’s what keeps you coming back. I love retail as there is always something on the horizon. It sounds mad but when I worked for Lindt, I loved the fact that we would have Easter Eggs in the stockroom at Christmas, retail never stops – it can be all consuming & its relentless – but I love it. The absolute highlight of any day is the people of Dalton Park, my team, the store teams, Phil the window cleaner who, if he collars you on your pre-opening stroll, will talk to you about golf for the next 45 minutes – but I love that time. It’s the client, the landlord, the area managers, contractors – in this position you meet so many interesting characters – but ultimately everything we do is all about the customer. You must put the customer at the epicentre of everything you do. If you do this & you build meaningful relationships with the people around, you – you cannot fail. I count myself incredibly lucky to say that I genuinely love what I do – so the best part of my job is walking through the gates every day & seeing what that day will bring.


Lunchtime Escape:

My toxic trait is thinking I will do loads of interesting stuff at lunchtime, then feel disappointed with myself when I don’t do anything except sit at my desk watching Instagram reels. We are incredibly lucky at Dalton Park that we have 55 acres of landscaped parkland as part of our scheme – it’s one of my goals in 2024 to get out the office & walk the parkland every day when the weather is nice (its only nice 6 days of the year though!) If I do manage to drag myself away from my desk, then my go to lunch destination is Zapatista – a Mexican Burrito bar that recently opened – meal of choice is chicken quesadilla with a guava Jarrito. If it’s after work, then I may be tempted in having 8 or 9 coronas.


Post-Work Delights

I love the crack in the office when, just before we leave, everyone says ‘so what’s your plans for tonight’ then everyone reams off loads of really cool, fun & exciting things & I say ‘go home, sort Lola out, cook tea, watch TV/stare at phone, go to bed. That’s my mid-week life!! and if anyone with young kids says anything else they are lying. Me & my wife love art, music & markets so most weekends we will be found wandering round  the many amazing artisan markets we have in the North East, from Durham, Tynemouth, Newcastle & we especially love the Ouseburn district, the open studios is a must visit – we are lucky to be able to have a savings pot that we put aside for the open studios & twice a year we will visit & buy art direct from the artist – it’s a real highlight. I love going with a totally open mind, no style, space, or preconceptions in mind & then every now & again something just hits you & we buy it. It may be a sculpture, some street art, some pottery, furniture who knows! It then usually sits for 6 months while we figure out what we are going to do with it/where to hang it! But it’s a beautiful process. We also love a city break (we are not beach holiday folk) & absolutely love Belgium, especially Bruges, Ghent & Antwerp – they have all our favourite things, art, chocolate, beer & people watching. The dream is to move to Belgium when the girls get older & we can just sit in a brown café, sipping Trappist beer watching the world go by…


Closing Thoughts:

Don’t take notice of what other people think of you – carve your own path & find your own identity. Never compare yourself with others – focus on being the best version of yourself & just aim to be better than you were yesterday. Try to be your most authentic self at work (how many people have two versions of themselves? a work you & a home you – be honest!) I honestly believe that no matter what job you have – the closer you can be to your most authentic self at work – the more fulfilling your work will be. Then look to surround yourself with people that push you to be better. No drama or negativity. Just higher goals and higher motivation. Good times and positive energy. No jealousy or hate. Simply bringing out the absolute best in each other.


If you’re looking for new opportunities with Placemaking, or if you’re looking to boost your network within the sector, please reach out on alec.hemstead@foundationrecruitment.com and I’d be happy to have a discussion!

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