THE boss of one of Blackpool’s leading retailers says he is committed to its ongoing success.
Debenhams manager Graham Dickinson has revealed he has turned down the chance to move elsewhere in order to further enhance the reputation of the Blackpool store.
He has been at the helm there since it opened in 2008.
As well as managing his store with 186 staff, he is also its regional sponsor for health and beauty which takes him to London once a month and is mentor to four store managers in the region.
His commitment is so strong that he regards his store as his business.
Graham said: “It may belong to Debenhams but as far as I am concerned it’s mine.
“I created the team I have working here and pride myself in trying to drive the business forward. Last year we were number one for customer service in the whole country.
“I won’t accept second best and nor will my team.”
Even when the store was still a concept, Graham’s aim was to take charge.
He said: “Blackpool was on the cards for about 13 years and it was no secret that I wanted it,
“In fact, about 18 months before we knew that Blackpool was going to happen I was asked to give a presentation to other store managers on store opening because there are not many who have experienced opening a store and all that entails.
“I used a flip chart for my presentation and when I finished I turned it over to leave it open on a page where I’d drawn a picture of Blackpool Tower with the words “Graham for Blackpool”. Everyone cracked up, there I was lobbying even though it was a year and a half off.”
Graham, who is originally from Chester-le-Street in the North East, first worked in retailing when he took a job in London when he was 19.
He joined Dorothy Perkins before transferring to Debenhams and working his way up the career ladder.
When he’s not working he enjoys spending time at home in Blackpool with his partner Tony Perry and their two dogs.
He added: “When I walk along the beach or drive along the front and see how wonderful it is going to be when the regeneration work is complete I get that warm feeling of home.”