Close search
5 minutes with 26th February 2024

Here we meet Steve Andrews, Centre Manager at The Hildreds Shopping Centre, Skegness, owned by NewRiver REIT.

Joined Workman: 2003

What three words describe Workman?

Warm, Open, Welcoming

How are you putting your skills to their best use at Workman?

I have worked at The Hildreds, Skegness for 35 years. I started as a part time cleaner after leaving university. The Centre Manager at the time then offered me a full-time job on security (84 and a 1/2 hours per week!).

I quickly became Head of Security, then Centre Supervisor, Operations Manager, Deputy Manger, then Centre Manager 10 years ago. Throughout that time, I have learned lots of skills across the board, which enables me to wear many hats. It means my job is never boring.

Tell us about your role, and why this is important to the firm and its clients?

The Hildreds is only a small centre (86,685 sq. ft) but it has a combined annual footfall of more than 10 million, because we are situated in one of the busiest seaside towns in the country. I love the town, although it has many challenges, mainly because it is seasonal.

Trying to attract visitors to the town on a wet, windy Wednesday in January can be a bit of a struggle, but I have an amazing team which supports me and the centre by making sure we are the number one shopping destination in Skegness.

As a bit of a side-line, you will also see most of us taking part, organising and dressing up in many of the centre’s events throughout the year. We believe it’s important to not always take yourself too seriously.

How do you hope to develop your role in the coming months and years?

Even though I have been at the centre for 35 years, every day is a school day, and I never get tired of learning a new skill.

I am proud that my team all share the same ethos with me as they all like to get involved with community events and unusual projects, for example, we design, hand carve, paint, and install all of the centre seasonal displays and decorations each year for which we have become quite famous for helping to attract thousands of visitors each year to the centre.

Building a 30ft tall ice castle in the middle of August is a sight to be seen.

What has been your standout moment at Workman so far?

One of the proudest moments of my career so far was in 2010 when I was conferred as “An Honoured Citizen of Skegness” and being awarded the key to the town, an honour only awarded to 12 other people throughout the history of Skegness. (Yes, I am allowed to march my sheep through the town on market day (if I had any), and claim a free pint of beer on my birthday from any pub in the town on production of the Honoured Citizen badge – not that I have, yet!).

What change would you make to the wider property sector? And why?

I have always thought how unfair it is for tenants to have to pay a service charge as well as business rates. If I had my way, I would like to see councils recognise the services managing agents provide in shopping centres and reduce the rates accordingly, off-setting the amount of business rates they pay, which would help encourage more shops into shopping centres who may otherwise be put off by having to pay both a service charge and business rates.

What first led you into the property industry?

By accident. I moved to Skegness to open a pottery at the age of 22. My father-in-law was the cleaning supervisor at the centre, and he needed another cleaner to help during the busy summer months, so he asked me if I was interested?

My wife and I were expecting our first child at the time, and I thought it would be a good opportunity to get some money to buy a pushchair, so I agreed saying, “But it’s not something I want to be doing for long” – 35 years later and I’m still here and loving it.

What are your spare time pursuits and how do they feed into your role at Workman?

I make things, I am a maker. I am always building or creating something whether it is a carnival float, or an Iron Man costume (yep, done that) or a Steam Punk Deep Sea Diver complete with a life-size Nautilus submarine (yep, that one too!).

Recently, I’ve just started writing and I am proud to say I have had my first children’s book published on Amazon – The Goblin Baker’s Dozen & The Gourmet Goblin. I don’t like having nothing to do.

What is your favourite building worldwide, and why?

I have many favourite buildings, but one of them has to be La Sagrada Familia – The cathedral of Barcelona, with its dripping concrete and cement towers designed and built by Antonio Gaudi, which was started in 1882 and is still under construction today.  A masterpiece of Art Nouveau architecture.

What three dinner party guests would you choose and why?

This is an easy one for me. The three dinner guests I would have loved to have even been in the same room with would be: Walt Disney, Gene Kelly and Doris Day.

I admire all of them for very different reasons – Walt was by far the most imaginative and inspirational person, who had visions years ahead of his time and has brought happiness to millions, upon millions of families across the world and is still doing so years after his death.

Likewise, Gene Kelly and Doris Day both evoke a timeless romanticism, whether through dance or through the power and gentleness of their voice, whenever I hear or see them perform, I am transported back to sitting on my grandparents’ sofa with a crackling fire in the hearth and the smell of cake baking in the oven, I wish I could bottle that feeling.

Read more about how The Hildreds builds social value.