The manager of Banbury’s Lock29, Chris Catford, has been awarded Manager of the Year - Small Centre at the prestigious 2023 SCEPTRE Awards in a glittering ceremony in London on Thursday night.
The SCEPTRE Awards recognise the best practice and the best people in the shopping centre industry and Chris describes his win as being “one of the proudest moments” of his career.
Chris was recognised for his innovation in delivering and growing Lock29 over the past three years. Chris has been project lead from design concept, through to the build, and now operational lead.
Lock29, part of Cherwell District Council’s regenerated waterfront development, has continuously evolved and grown since opening in 2020. Against the backdrop of the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis, he's been able to offer local SMEs short-term license agreements and flexible space to trial out their offer without the risks associated with a long-term lease agreement.
Operating on turnover agreements, Lock29 charges just a small deposit for small businesses and local traders to get going. Three have expanded to larger units and one has opened a second business.
Over 40k people now visit per week and on average more than 40% of all customers who visit Castle Quay Shopping Centre come to Lock29 during their visit, to experience their diverse offer.
Speaking about his award Chris said: “I am so proud of Lock29 and have a fantastic team who work incredibly hard to ensure we can support our tenants and create a destination people want to keep returning too, one that really enhances Banbury and works for the community.
“It has certainly been a challenging journey since opening during Covid, but to have achieved what we have, and to be recognised in this way by the SCEPTRE Awards is wonderful, and I am very grateful.”
Cllr Donna Ford, Portfolio Holder for Regeneration at Cherwell District Council, said: “We extend our congratulations to Chris Catford, the recipient of this prestigious Manager of the Year award. His exceptional management skills have been instrumental in the ongoing success of Lock29 at our Castle Quay development.
“Lock29's continued thriving presence in Banbury town centre is a testament to Chris's dedication and expertise. It is an incredibly popular destination for residents and visitors.”
Heidi Rushby is the owner of Vintage Teas, which opened a year ago, and has now taken on a much bigger plot within Lock29 due to the success of the business. She said: “I feel like Lock29 is the hub of the town centre now and has so much to offer, there’s such a great atmosphere - especially at the weekends. It has really helped me to start and grow my business, so I hope that I can contribute to making it look good and bring in even more customers.”
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