The manager of Horsham’s Swan Walk shopping centre is marking her 25-year anniversary at the healm of ‘the most incredible team’.
Gill Buchanan, centre manager, has overseen countless projects and raised more than £210,000 for Cancer Research during her time at the shopping hub.
Gill’s passion for retail emerged at the age of 16, when she wanted a Saturday job to fuel her spending at Chelsea Girl, the brand that in 1988 merged with Concept Man to become River Island.
She worked a two-year stint at Browns of Chester, a department store owned by Debenhams, and then turned down her place at university to become a junior trainee in a Southampton store.
In her 11 years in retail, Gill became the youngest store director in a Richmond department store before joining Swan Walk in 1994.
Since then, Gill has witnessed the development of Wilko, BHS, New Look, H&M, Sports Direct and the customer toilet facilities, as well as the Living Room, a free community space where you can charge your phone or take part in a book swap in support of Cancer Research UK.
As manager, she is keen that Swan Walk supports the community. The centre sponsors a local police car and donates unit space to charities for fundraising activities.
Gill said: “Being new to the shopping centre industry all those years ago, I certainly had a lot to learn and very quickly realised that Swan Walk’s relationships with its retailers, town centre partners and community groups were critical to its success.
“No one day is the same and I am very lucky to have a job that delivers so much job satisfaction, even on the most challenging days.
“We are all only as good as our people, and I am very fortunate to work with the most incredible team.”