Penticton mall changes managers

Things have changed a lot since Gary Leaman first walked through the doors of Cherry Lane Shopping Centre more than two decades ago.

Judy Richards (right) will be taking over from Gary Leaman as general manager of Cherry Lane Shopping Centre as of Nov. 1.

Things have changed a lot since Gary Leaman first walked through the doors of Cherry Lane Shopping Centre more than two decades ago.

“I came here for one year, possibly two, said Leaman, who retired today as general manager of the Penticton mall, 26 years later. “At that point there was a Woodward’s, a Woodward’s food floor and 33 stores.”

Cherry Lane has grown a lot since that time; only one tenant, People’s Jewellers, is still in the same spot and size as when Leaman started. Two others are still with the shopping centre, but one has changed locations and another has expanded their store.

“We did a major renovation in 1990. We did a major expansion in 1995, when we added Save-on Foods and doubled the number stores. And in 1996 we renovated what was the Food Floor and added the food court. And then in 2005 we added London Drugs and the medical clinic,” said Leaman.

It’s unusual, he said, for a general manager to stay in one space so long.

“As far as we know, I am the longest serving mall manager in the country. People usually move up the food chain or burn out,” said Leaman, who though retiring, will be remaining in Penticton. “My focus is on my family.”

The community, he said, is what kept him here, with access to amenities like the lake in the summer and skiing at Apex in the winter.

“You get to go home for lunch if you want to. Where else can you do that?”

Leaman’s replacement will be a familiar face, however. Judy Richards, currently the marketing director for Cherry Lane, takes over as general manager.

She has an extensive 22-year history in shopping centre management including Coquitlam Centre, Richmond Centre and Central City (formerly Surrey Place) mall.

“My husband and I wanted to live in Penticton. I was hired to work on properties in Kelowna,” said Richards, who soon began looking for a position closer to home. “I moved to Penticton to be in Penticton and support this community.”

Knowing the industry, Richards got in touch with Leaman, and let him know she wanted to work locally.

“We built a relationship, and then there was this opportunity,” she said. “I was extremely happy to come here and it’s been a wonderful year, working with Gary.”

Leaman said it was a treat to have someone else in the building who knew the industry.

“Everyone else I pretty much had to train, so this was a breath of fresh air to work  with someone who knew as much or more as I did about the industry,” he said. “It has been real easy succession planning, because after getting the marketing up and the promotion ramped up … she’s got all that well in hand to turn over to someone else.”

The search is already underway, Richards said, to hire a new marketing director.

“We have to do that. We are in a very busy season right now. Christmas is very important to our retailers,” she said, explaining that it was a priority to fill the marketing position.


Just Posted

Back to work for Penticton businesses impacted by bomb threats

Multiple car dealerships were evacuated as the result of an international e-mail hoax

Okanagan College unlocks time capsule

Items placed in 1993 and kept in capsule in library opened at special ceremony

Consultations to play a critical role in shaping proposed national park reserve

Parks Canada welcomes all respectful comments on proposed South Okanagan-Similkameen National Park

Shootout loss for Canada West against Czech Republic

Team Canada West now looking forward to semifinal game

Penticton Legion begins process of relocating

Penticton Legion moving to new location

Tommy Chong says Canada took wrong approach to pot legalization

He also talked about the likelihood of another Cheech and Chong film

Shuswap’s Roots & Blues adds world-class acts to roster

Popular Salmon Arm festival will encompass Afrobeat to bluegrass

VIDEO: Royals reveal the images on their Christmas cards

Prince William and his wife Kate are shown outside in casual clothes, their three young children in tow

ICBC to apply for 6.3% hike to basic insurance rates

Crown Corporation said it will be submitting its next basic rate application to the British Columbia Utilities Commission Friday

Stranded B.C. trucker writes final wishes before being rescued 3 days later

‘I was just praying someone would come along’

Shuswap thief nabs purse in hospital, attempts to steal taxi

Salmon Arm RCMP arrest suspect who judge orders to stay behind bars until trial

Fashion Fridays: How to change your beauty routine

Kim XO, lets you in on her style secrets each Fashion Friday on the Black Press Media Network

‘Both things are true:’ Science, Indigenous wisdom seek common ground

Reconciliation between Canada and First Nations is playing out not only in legislatures and courtrooms but in labs across the country

B.C. to move salmon farms out of coastal migration route

Broughton Archipelago plan set to start in spring of 2019

Most Read