AMC Staff in Focus - Chuck Martinez
Being Open to Change
Charles “Chuck” Martinez, General Manager and Vice President of The Galleria and Al Maryah Central, lives and breathes retail. Born in Chicago, and raised in California, Chuck joined Westfield soon after University, where he gained the vast majority of his retail and property management experience – working on various development projects in San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Chuck joined The Galleria three years ago, moving to the Middle East with his family. He is responsible for the day-to-day management of The Galleria and, upon completion of the development, he will also take on responsibility for the operation of Al Maryah Central.
What he loves most about his role, aside from working with a diverse team who are as committed to each other as they are to the future of Al Maryah Island, is the variety – you see for Chuck, no two days are the same.
“To enjoy a successful career in retail, you need to be open to change and make sure that, no matter what, you always keep learning. Change is constant, especially in the retail world. We see that now more than ever, with technological advances bridging the gap between digital and bricks and mortar.”
Chuck explains that The Galleria and Al Maryah Central are complex projects with a number of nuances in a unique market. Although he sees the opportunity in bringing them together to leverage economies of scale, new and improved services and amenities, more jobs, more people, more energy and more fun.
“Considered a boutique luxury mall, The Galleria’s world-class offering is one of a few in the world. Combined with the waterfront restaurants and expansive water views, stunning architecture, great shopping and incredible neighbours, including Rosewood, Four Seasons, Abu Dhabi Global Markets and Mubadala, it makes for a very special place.
“Al Maryah Central will bring incredible energy to Al Maryah Island and it will perfectly complement The Galleria with anchor stores, cinemas, a grocer and a wider variety of shopping opportunities and family entertainment. It really is going to be a fun place for people to spend time and enjoy their surroundings.”
For Chuck, living in the Middle East is a rewarding experience – describing the community as friendly, proud and appreciative of the surrounding beauty. It has provided him with an opportunity to expand his horizons, meet people and see places that he could only imagine while living in California.
“There are very few places like Abu Dhabi and very few projects like The Galleria and Al Maryah Central in the world. It’s incredibly rewarding to be a part of it.”
Chuck adds that while people have embraced The Galleria, they often ask for cinemas, department stores, family entertainment and more contemporary brands. So, the anticipated opening of Al Maryah Central and continued growth of Al Maryah Island is very exciting for him and his team.
“I’ve worked at opposite ends of the world, and one thing I’ve discovered is that the Abu Dhabi customer isn’t that different from customers in other parts of the world. Sure, we see certain preferences, but ultimately, it’s the malls that are different – not the customers.
“By combining the best of The Galleria and Al Maryah Central, it will enable us the opportunity to attract a wider variety of guests and visitors.”