The Glades
Our Glades
An Interview with our Centre Director, Mark Haynes

We caught up with Mark to chat all things The Glades, from a typical day as Centre Director, to championing local initiatives in Bromley

Words by Imogen Smith

The Glades, just like all of us, has seen its fair share of change in the last two years. It weathered a global pandemic and has emerged, more buoyant than ever before with people visiting from all over Bromley and beyond. Mark Haynes is the Centre Director at The Glades, responsible for creating the very best experience for anyone who walks through the Centre’s power-assisted doors.

In his four-year tenure, he’s achieved a lot; he’s been a champion for sustainability, he’s created a dynamic management team and he continues to put The Glades at the heart of the community. Here we spoke to him about his typical day at the Centre as well as one particularly memorable day at Selhurst Park.

Can you start by telling us about your career background and how you made it to where you are today?
I started my career working in retail working for Topshop and later Debenhams, where I was a Store Manager for 18 years. Shopping Centre Management felt like quite a natural progression for me and I worked as a Shopping Centre Manager for seven years before starting at The Glades as Centre Director four years ago.

What does a typical day look like for you?
No two days are ever the same, but I spend a lot of time working with our retailers to deliver what they require from us, and I’m always making sure that we give good customer experience in The Glades. A big part of my role is doing the best for our customers.

Can you explain how The Glades is partnering with other people who love Bromley?
We try to do as much as we can to support local businesses and local charities. Each year we work with one or more local charities and we ask our visitors to help us choose who we partner with. This year, we’re working with Freddie Farmer Foundation, which provides physiotherapy programmes for disabled children aged 3-16 years affected by cerebral palsy and mobility problems. They also offer incredible support for families and carers.

It’s fantastic to see the different ways we can support our chosen charities and in turn, support them to make a difference.

We also work with local organisations to help them in different ways; sometimes it’s in the form of offering them space within the Centre to promote their cause or allowing them to run events here at The Glades. I find that work really rewarding.


Elsewhere, we’ve linked up with the local authority and the Your Bromley Business Improvement District to deliver Town Centre events. This year, for example, we supported the Everyone’s A Royal event where we asked children to submit drawings of themselves as members of the royal family. It was a lot of fun and ultimately just great to support that initiative.

We also invite local schools to display their work within the Centre and the same with local start-ups who have products to promote. I take the view that because it’s possible for us to do these types of things, we should because it’s rewarding not just for us but for the people we help too.

We try to do a lot with the local community and local charities as our way of being really at the heart of the area.

What’s been your most memorable work moment to date?
We’ve won several sustainability awards, including a Green Apple for Environmental Best Practice, and a CIRIA Overall Winner award, both for our Wild Glades Biodiversity initiative in 2021.

I’ve built a new management team during my time at The Glades, which is really quite refreshing to have new members of the team join us. I also love seeing the progression of people starting with us, introducing new ideas and bringing a new perspective then going on to really flourish in their roles and become valuable members of our team.

Another major achievement for us was how we managed the Centre during the pandemic. It was very challenging particularly as the Centre remained open throughout all of the various lockdowns because we had essential retailers that were open. It was our job to make sure the Centre was as safe as possible for the customers who needed us during what was an incredibly difficult and uncertain time.

What’s the best part of your job?
For me, it’s when we deliver something in the Centre that really makes a difference. Whether that’s new public seating areas, the opening of new stores – like we’ve done recently with Mint Velvet and which we will be doing again soon with the Nike store opening – or moments when we all come together to celebrate a success within the Centre or elsewhere within the local community.

We see a lot of people who visit the Centre on a regular basis so it’s great to see their reaction but for people who are new to the Centre it’s also fantastic to see them having a great time too.

We’re also seeing a lot of interest from new retailers, who rather than opening stores in central London are looking at other destinations such as Bromley as a more attractive option.

With more people working from home, how has The Glades adjusted to a post-pandemic world?
We’ve seen a real change in our visitor behaviour. Whereas before the pandemic, we would typically see office workers coming in for a bite to eat at lunchtime, we don’t tend to see that as much and our footfall isn’t so condensed to the lunch break period. Instead, we see people coming to the Centre at different times and visitor numbers are more spread out throughout the day.

Since the pandemic, we’re seeing a very buoyant footfall and the Centre is really benefiting. In large part, this is down to the fact that Bromley is a strong retail destination especially being in outer London.

We’re also seeing a lot of interest from new retailers, who rather than opening stores in central London are looking at other destinations such as Bromley as a more attractive option.

We’re currently doing lots of work in The Glades to accommodate these new stores – we’ve already had three open in the last few months with another half a dozen due to open in the next five months. So as far as retail is concerned, it’s actually pretty strong for us at the moment, which is really positive to see!

I hear you’re a Crystal Palace supporter? Could you describe a particularly memorable game you remember watching?
There’s one match that particularly sticks out in my mind, which I went to see at Selhurst Park in May 2014. It was Crystal Palace vs Liverpool and we went 3-0 down to Liverpool but in some miraculous twist of fate, Crystal Palace scored three goals in the last 10 minutes of the game. I just remember the atmosphere at Selhurst Park being electric! It’s always great but on that particular day, when we were playing at home, thinking we were going to lose and then to claw it back, it was electric!


Visit the Crystal Palace Official Club Shop at The Glades

What are three things you’d like to see in Bromley in the future?
More co-working and shared spaces used for different community and local business start ups. Lots of towns and retail spaces have new stores opening, which is great and we need it but it’s also nice to see something that’s local and unique. I’d like to see something in Bromley where there’s more community engagement geared towards local businesses.

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