Jeff Richardson, senior general manager of Westfield Galleria, outside the mall in Roseville. (Photo by Wes Davis)

The Way We Work: Jeff Richardson

A glimpse into the daily life of Jeff Richardson, senior general manager of the Westfield Galleria at Roseville

Back Article Nov 8, 2022 By Jeff Wilser

This story is part of our November 2022 print issue. To subscribe, click here.

Shopping malls aren’t exactly a growth industry. Retail can be tough. “Since the inception of Amazon, the mall business has been struggling throughout the United States,” says Jeff Richardson, senior general manager of the Westfield Galleria at Roseville.

In this tricky environment, Richardson’s job is to keep the mall relevant — and somehow he’s done it. He guided the mall through the darkest days of COVID-19, where retailers briefly stopped paying rent, and the business emerged stronger. “Traffic is now the highest it has ever been in its history,” says Richardson. “And 2022 is trending to be the highest gross sales in the mall’s history.” 

This is how he makes it happen. 

5:30AM - Wakes up, checks email for any overnight mall issues, grabs a cup of coffee.

6AM – Works out on the Peloton for 20 minutes, which he tries to do every day. “If I miss it, I feel like I’m off for the day. This is a stressful job; having that little routine helps get me focused.” 

6:30AM - Catches up on email in the home office.

7AM – Grabs a light breakfast (fruit or a small bowl of Cheerios), preps for the day. 

7:45AM – Drives the 15-minute commute from south Granite Bay to Roseville while listening to music, which can range from Top 40 to Phil Collins. 

8AM - First thing every day he drives around the road that encircles the mall to “make sure there’s no surprises, to get a lay of the land.” 

8:05AM – Parks in a different lot each day. This gives him different views of the mall entrances from the customer’s perspective, and “they’re not parking in the same spot each time.” 

8:06AM – Walks the mall, debriefs with the security team, gets updates on any nighttime work.

8:30AM – Now at his desk, he often begins Zoom calls for meetings with the corporate office — URW (Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield) — which can cover finance, leasing, merchandising, marketing, future tenant possibilities, etc. 

9:30AM – Plays ping-pong at one of the mall’s tables with one of his retailers, who happened to be a ping-pong champion in high school. “It started out to be best out of three, and I won.” Now the quick break is a regular ritual.

10AM – More meetings with URW, often to discuss the five-year business plan or to brainstorm ways to keep the mall relevant — like the possibility for residential homes at the mall, a bowling alley or a coworking space. “The days of the big box shopping center are gone. You have to bring in entertainment.” 

12PM – Lunch. Sometimes he eats at the mall, but “it can get kind of old eating mall food all the time,” so often it’s either leftovers or a drive off campus. 

Richardson frequently walks the mall to check in with different store managers.

1PM – Walks the mall again, as peak traffic is between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. He’ll do walking meetings with the facility director, marketing director or security director. He also checks in with key tenants such as Gucci, Macy’s, Nordstrom, JCPenney or Saint Laurent. 

3PM – A “weekly warmup” with the entire security and housekeeping staffs to review top priorities and discuss concerns “so that even your frontline housekeeping people are well-informed.” 

4PM - Bangs out more email, work, calls with corporate. 

5:45PM – Often heads to an event for one of the boards he’s on, such as Placer County Economic Development, or maybe a chamber happy hour. 

7PM – As soon as he opens the door his dog Zoe, an Australian labradoodle, attacks him and wants to play. “She’s the best dog ever. She’s a play-a-holic.”

7:30PM – Dinner with his wife, or sometimes he’ll barbecue for his three adult children and six grandkids, or visit one of their homes for dinner.

9PM – Checks email again, listens to music, relaxes with his wife and maybe watches some news or football, but “we don’t really watch a lot of TV.” 

10PM – Finally drifts off to sleep.

Trick for handling email: 

“When we’re reading email, we tend to knock out the easy ones first, and sometimes we get caught up in that.” He goes the other route. “Hitting the most challenging thing of the day first is important to me, so that way you get the hard one out of the way and the others become easier.” 

How he uses social media:

The mall uses Facebook and Instagram to promote events and build engagement. Before a recent night market, for example, “We’re monitoring every social platform to see if it’s trending and to see if people are aware of it.” 

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