ABM have been announced as the main sponsor of NIRSC Conference 2019 – Shaping the Future? which will be held in Titanic Belfast on 11th October 2019.
NIRSC exists to support and promote the shopping Centre industry from within with a member base made up of shopping centres within Northern Ireland and a network of related companies who provide services to support those Shopping Centres.
ABM specialise in delivering facilities management, supporting a breadth of industries including retail, aviation, commercial and banking. ABM are a key partner for any shopping destination, with a wealth of experience in providing reliable solutions to ensure all customer touchpoints exceed expectations.
Jamie Bill, chair of NIRSC commented: “We are delighted to welcome ABM as Main Sponsor for our Shaping the Future? conference. With a terrific line-up of speakers I’m sure this will be our best ever conference but it really wouldn’t be possible without this support.”
Friday 11th October. Titanic Suite – Titanic Belfast.
Change is the only constant in life.
The retail industry has undergone a significant transformation in the past decade and continues to evolve quickly. In the spirit of inspiring our sector to continuously adapt we’ve designed our annual conference around Mindset, Culture, Innovation, and Leadership, the fundamentals that can help us drive change in our ever-changing environments. Our panel of speakers will, through their words and wisdom, help us stride forward in truly shaping the future of retail.
The NIRSC Study Tour this year focused on Frankfurt. The main purpose of this study tour was to:
Visit Christmasworld – the world’s biggest trend and order platform for the international seasonal and festive decoration sector
Visit a range of Frankfurt’s shopping centres to compare with NI Centres
Network with members of NIRSC
The tour party departed Belfast on Sunday 28th for Dublin airport, and then a quick 1.5 hour flight to Frankfurt. We arrived at the Hotel Savigny, Frankfurt, at around 9 pm local time. A quick freshen up and we just about had time for a group dinner at the hotel restaurant. This was a welcome rest after a long day’s travelling and a good opportunity to get to know the other members of the group before an early night in preparation for the following day.
On Monday 29th the coach departed from the hotel at 9 am. The sheer size of the exhibition centre was just unbelievable! It took half an hour to walk from the main entrance to Hall 11 where the Christmas World exhibition was being held. Christmas World is the world’s leading trade fair for seasonal and festive decorations, and is organised by Messe Frankfurt. We had an unrivalled overview of the festive decoration market with its huge array of all things Christmas (and some Halloween). They even had the largest LED lit Gorilla/King Kong! The photograph in the album puts it into perspective. One thing is for sure, we all left the show with some fabulous ideas and fresh insights into what is available for shopping centres. The group was mesmerised by the lit up Cinderella carriage and horses. We learnt that it had been acquired that very day by the proprietor of a Las Vegas casino! There was something for everyone, from talking Christmas post boxes and singing reindeers to 25 m high Christmas Light Displays, and trees with nativity scenes for the more traditional look.
On Monday afternoon Caitriona and John from MK Illuminations had arranged a presentation for the group at their exhibition. They also very kindly organised our tickets for the event, and they hosted the group for refreshments. Klaus Mark, CEO and founder of MK Illuminations, gave a personal bespoke presentation to our group, demonstrating that the design and supply of original and environmentally sensitive creative lighting are at the very core of MK’s company philosophy, supplying unique lighting features around the world. A “tour de force” far beyond Europe’s borders”.
We left the fair around 5pm exhausted, making our way back to the hotel in preparation for the evening’s group dinner and networking.
Tuesday 30th consisted of an all-day shopping centre tour. We visited various Shopping Centres within the catchment of Frankfurt Haan. The scale of the centres we visited was enormous compared to ours in Northern Ireland. The first one we visited was Isenburg Zentrum in the North West, which had 140 stores but showed its age. It was obvious that the centre had gone through various refurbishments and had been extended numerous times. It had a local, community feel about it and it allowed bicycles, pets and smoking! The lack of accessibility for disabled was evident and quite surprising. We are definitely ahead of the game back home in that respect.
The next centre we visited was the Hessen Centre. This scheme was bland externally and it was obviously one of the older schemes that we visited. Whilst it was old, it was extremely well kept internally and was very clean. There was a charge on the door to use the toilets and there were interestingly 4 members of staff in the toilet area alone. We later discovered that the toilets are leased out to a separate company who are fully responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the toilets – an interesting idea!
Next was the Skyline Plaza. Despite only holding the post for four weeks, the Centre Manager was very knowledgeable and gave us a thorough insight into the centre and what it offers. Skyline Plaza opened in 2013 with 170 units expanded over 30,000 m². The most outstanding part of the centre was it’s 8,000 m² roof top garden including a restaurant, monthly disco and a wellbeing centre (Meridian Spa). It was stipulated in the planning that the roof area had to look aesthetically pleasing to the adjacent high rise building occupants – therefore when viewed from above, the roof of the Skyline Plaza looks like a flower! We were surprised at the lack of footfall for such a large modern building, however they cater mainly for office workers. The footfall is 8 million pa, but they expect 3,000 more workers in the area and 3,000 plus residents and a new Metro station. The ongoing development in Frankfurt was evident throughout the trip with many constructions sites and cranes dotting the skyline.
MyZeil was the last centre that we visited for the day. This was a popular mall in the city centre and has quite a unique architectural theme. There was a modern steel structure of glass and concrete and as you approach the centre you are immediately struck by the eye popping glass façade in the shape of a vortex leading into the centre. The sky can be seen through the façade. We all came to the same conclusion “impossible to clean” but thought that in fact, they probably don’t bother to clean it. Walking into the mall the vertical air curtains almost blew you away! Effective but very noisy. The interior had an interesting spiral shape with the continuation of the vortex, One of the longest escalators in Europe took customers from the ground floor to the top floor. A regional and international mix of tenants gave the centre a cosmopolitan feel.
On our last day there was a bit of free time in the morning for delegates to explore the city centre and locale. The group checked out of the hotel and were picked up at lunchtime to spend the last few hours of the tour a Loop 5. This scheme was by far the best of centres that we visited on the tour. Loop5 was designed to be distinctive, accessible and unmistakeable! It definitely was, an innovation concept of aviation and all things aeronautical. As you enter the centre you immediately immerse yourself in the world of aviation, with propeller shaped seats, themed children’s play areas and rotation propellers suspended from the roof. A giant turbine of LED lights is positioned at the centre of the main mall. Even the toilets have a ‘cockpit’ behind the urinals – we were not sure if this was innocent, or very clever, but it did make us chuckle. It has 58,000 m² of lettable space and 170 stores. Once again the centre was noticeably immaculate and presented to an extremely high standard.
We thank you for joining us and for your feedback, some of which is summarised below:
“Christmasworld was inspiring and good to see rather than brochure, worth repeating every four, five years”.
“Surprised that dogs were allowed in all the centres”.
“They were all very clean with fewer bins on the malls than us”.
“Only two security staff on the floor in one of the larger schemes and cctv is not allowed”.
“Refreshing to see stores did not trade on a Sunday”.
“F&B in the evening was good and great to network with other members of NIRSC”.
“Full on trip and great to get to know some of our colleagues in the industry better”.
A late flight back to Dublin ended the tour but from the feedback that we have received, it was a worthy trip, inspirational, thought provoking and refreshing. Whilst we cannot foresee any centres closing on a Sunday, we are sure there will be a few new Christmas designs in Northern Irelands Shopping Centres this year!
Friday 23rd February 2018, Kingspan Stadium, 134 Mount Merrion Avenue, Belfast
Topic One: Una Wilson, Equality Commission
Una Wilson is an Equality Officer in the Advisory Services Team in the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland. Her role includes delivering training and advising employers about equality law and best practice as it applies in Northern Ireland. She worked for Disability Action in her previous post.
Topic Two: Lynne Bulled and Pamela Frazer, Dementia Awareness
People living with dementia regularly tell us that shopping is one of the activities they enjoy doing most in their local area. Whilst this is something that most of us take for granted, we know that there are barriers preventing people with dementia from actively participating and feeling comfortable when out shopping. At Alzheimer’s Society, we believe that life doesn’t end when dementia begins. Becoming a more dementia-friendly retailer means being able to help people to re-engage with their local community, enabling them to carry on doing the things they enjoy
Topic Three: Alison Lyttle, Autism Initiatives
Alison Lyttle has almost 10 years experience supporting children and adults with autism and holds a MSc in Autistic Spectrum Disorders from Queen’s University, Belfast. Currently Alison is the Community Engagement Manager for Autism Initiatives NI and provides Understanding Autism and Managing Behaviour training as part of her role. Alison also has experience providing and managing direct support services to individuals with autism, including Community Services, Supported Living, Health and Activity programmes, and an Early Intervention Support Service.
Topic Four: Jennifer Taylor, Autism Parent
Jennifer Taylor is the Marketing Manager for the Richmond Centre in Derry/Londonderry and has held this position for 3 years. Jennifer has an Honors Degree in Marketing and Event Management from the University of the West of Scotland, and has 10 years’ experience working in retail in many sectors. Jennifer is Mother to six-year-old Zachary who was diagnosed in the summer of 2017 with Autism. It has been a long and arduous journey, spanning 2 years to reach a diagnosis for her son. Working in retail and being a mother of an autistic child gives her unique insight into both worlds. She will relay her experience of Autism in retail and how it affects her personally and professionally.
09.30 – 10.00
Breakfast and Registration
10.00 – 10.30
Equality Commission, Una Wilson
10.30 – 10.45
10.45 – 11.00
11.00 – 11.30
Dementia Awareness, Lynne Bulled & Pamela Frazer
11.30 – 11.45
12.15 – 12.30
Autism Parent, Jennifer Taylor (Richmond Centre)
12.30 – 12.45
The presentations will be followed by lunch and then a tour of the fantastic Kingspan Stadium.
CBRE is the world’s leading commercial real estate services firm with offices located around the globe. CBRE currently employs roughly 44,000 people worldwide, with 2000 working in the UK. The company’s core services include property sales, leasing and management, facilities and project management, investment management and, research and consulting. In Central London, CBRE advises on more commercial property than any other adviser and across the United Kingdom with offices in Aberdeen, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Jersey, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, and Southampton.
The annual NIRSC Ladies Day is all set for Friday 20 October 2017. The day will start off by leaving Belfast at 9.00 am and we will all head by coach to the Tayto Factory in Tandragee where a guided tour has been booked for 10.30 am. The tour will last for one hour thirty minutes with the opportunity at the end to purchase merchandise from their gift shop. On completion of the tour we will head for lunch at Maggie’s Pantry in Tandragee. After a light lunch we will then head to The Linen Green, Dungannon for some retail therapy! We will then depart The Linen Green and head for the new Titanic Hotel in Belfast where we plan to have a guided tour followed by dinner at 6 pm in the Restaurant. We look forwarded to welcoming you on Ladies Day and we hope you will have a great day
Aidan Anderson of RedLeaf Consultancy provided an interesting and thought provoking presentation at The Mac in Belfast on 4th July.
Attendees, mainly shopping centre managers and security/operations personnel, were given much food for thought having listened to Aidan’s first-hand account of what it is like to be involved in a major incident, and the impact it can have on a business not only during, but also and after the event.
The purpose of the seminar was to focus the minds of those responsible for the safety and security of visitors and staff to shopping centres in terms of how they would deal with an incident, and what they would do in the days, weeks and even months following the incident. From physical security measures to staff training and business continuity plans, none of us can be certain that our current plans and equipment are perfect. However, much can be achieved through constant staff training and upskilling (first-aid – dealing with major trauma), revising current plans, surveying your site, maintaining equipment and ensuring that all contact information that may be essential during a major incident is current and up to date. Security should not be about a ‘reaction’ to events, but rather a proactive approach to ensuring that the risks are considered within a risk management framework.
This year’s AGM was held at the Crumlin Road Gaol on Friday 9th June. The morning began with freshly baked scones and tea/coffee, followed by the business of the AGM and election of officers and the new committee. After the main business of the meeting was completed, the Chairman, Bobby Nicholson, gave his speech and then introduced the guest speaker, John McCollum – a local entrepreneur. John’s talk was fantastic, with the Chairman having to call time on the Q & A to enable the tour guide to take us all on a whistle stop tour of the Gaol. The morning was topped off with a delicious buffet lunch in the main building. The minutes of the AGM will be issued in due course. Thanks to everyone who attended and we look forward to seeing you at our next event.
The NIRSC AGM 2017 will take place on Friday 9th June 2017 in the prestigious setting of the Crumlin Road Gaol, Belfast.
The AGM provides the perfect opportunity for members to come together to hear about the NIRSC’s activities since the previous AGM, hear about the plan for the year ahead, network with friends and colleagues within the industry and experience a tour of the Gaol and enjoy a bite to eat.
The AGM is one of the most enjoyable and relaxed events of the calendar year and we would love to see you there. We hope you can join us.
9.15 – 10.00
Registration – with tea/coffee and scones
10.00 – 10.30
Annual General Meeting
10.30 – 11.15
Presentation: John McCollum local entrepreneur and owner of a very Successful McDonald’s franchise shares his experiences
The NIRSC committee and members gathered for lunch at ‘The Meat Locker’ in Belfast recently to say a fond farewell to two of their esteemed colleagues.
Tracey Jackson (High St Mall) and Chris Newton (Park Centre) have worked in the NI shopping centre industry for many years. They have played important roles not only within their centres, but also within their local communities, business organisations and of course the NIRSC. Most recently, Tracey held the position of Treasurer and Chris was the Secretary.
They will be missed by their friends and colleagues within NIRSC. We wish them all the very best for their future, and best wishes to Chris for his wedding in June to Bridghe. Keep in touch!