New Leamington shopping centre manager determined to carry on predecessor’s legacy

Sarah Jones the newly appointed centre manager of the Royal Priors Shopping Centre
Sarah Jones the newly appointed centre manager of the Royal Priors Shopping Centre

The newly-appointed manager of Leamington’s Royal Priors shopping centre is determined to carry on her predecessor’s legacy.

Sarah Jones has taken the reins after the sudden passing of the former manager Gerry McManus in September.

After being operations manager at the shopping centre for just under five years, Sarah hopes to carry on Gerry’s legacy in her new role.

She said: “I’m excited to be taking on this challenge. I was fortunate enough to work with Gerry for almost five years and I’ll always be forever grateful for what he taught me.

“As well as being a fantastic person to learn from, he was a friend and mentor and taught me a number of important life lessons that I’ll always take with me. Although I’ve become centre manager under sad circumstances, I’m reassured by the fact that Gerry very much believed in me as a person and my ability as operations manager. I hope that he’d be proud of me.”

Sarah was appointed operations manager in 2013 but her connection to the centre stretches further back.

While doing her A-levels, she worked part time in Druckers, now Patisserie Valerie. After her exams, she went full time and was later promoted to store manager. After a year in the role, the operations manager position became vacant.

She said: “I knew Gerry and the centre management team well as they would regularly visit what had then become Patisserie Valerie. When I found out about the opening for the position I had to go for it.”

Over the past five years, Sarah has become a part of the award-winning centre management team and she completed the BCSC Diploma in shopping centre management in 2015.

Recently Sarah balanced her role as operations manager with 11 months as acting centre manager at the Regent Court shopping area.

She said: “Everything I’ve done professionally to this point has prepared me to be able to take on this role. I’ve had two great teachers in Gerry and deputy centre manager Les Watkins and I’m excited about what comes next. Going forward I’m keen to carry on Gerry’s legacy and continue to provide customers with the best possible retail experience.

“I’ll also be working closely with town centre groups to ensure that both Royal Priors and Leamington thrive for years to come.”