The manager of Aberdeen city centre today said he tries to be an “extra pair of eyes” to pick up on “the good, the bad and the ugly”.
Geoff Cooper was appointed to the role at Aberdeen Inspired in July, after working for 25 years in the food industry.
Mr Cooper’s role is very active within the city centre, where every day he will be out speaking to businesses.
He liaises with the group’s levy payers to ensure their daily needs are being met while also picking up on the “good, bad and the ugly”.
He said: “I try to be an extra pair of eyes.
“The council has its own processes for things like street lights and broken paving slabs.
“I tend to feed a lot of that back and make sure that things are being followed up.
“I’d like to think that I’m a bit of a channel through which I can communicate things out from the council and back in to the council as well as supporting Aberdeen Inspired.”
Mr Cooper, who previously worked as a franchise manager for McDonald’s in Aberdeen, said his former role means he understands how the city centre works.
Mr Cooper said: “I know people as well, that helps to break down the barriers.
“I guess I also know about running a small business and having that experience is just a different background.
“Most city centre managers probably come more from a council background so I think this is an interesting perspective.”
The city centre manager said in the main he finds businesses are “very responsible” and take pride in their shopfronts.
He said: “There are one or two I’ve spoken to but it’s definitely in the minority.
“I get feedback from people about their immediate environment.
“For example one of the retailers on Market Street was concerned about how poor the pavements were looking and we managed to get that done as part of one of the deep cleans on Union Street.
“If the retailer hadn’t highlighted it we wouldn’t have done it and it isn’t that nobody wanted to do it but it just takes somebody to take the initiative.
“I’ve also helped the Tivoli with the street lights outside there.
“We’ve got them up and running so they were there ahead of the pantomime season starting.”
Mr Cooper said the City Centre Masterplan is “fantastic” for Aberdeen and added that it is “touching so many parts” of the city centre.
He added: “It’s brought in a new pace to things in Aberdeen. We aren’t having to wait a long time for changes.”
The priority of the new city centre manager is to make it a better place for businesses coming into the city.
Mr Cooper said: “Aberdeen is still a strong economy but obviously its had a really tough couple of years and it is tough for independent businesses at the moment.
“We’re encouraging businesses to tell us if they are really beginning to find things really tough, and there’s things that we can do to help support them, support and advice and also a little bit financially in terms of rates.
“Not stopping rates but deferring rates and making it easier for them to manage and giving them a bit longer to pay to help cash flow at certain times.”
Deputy city council leader Councillor Marie Boulton, who chairs the cross-party City Centre Regeneration Board, said: “The post of city centre manager is being funded by the council, which demonstrates our commitment to transforming Aberdeen as a place to live, work, visit and do business in under the City Centre Masterplan.
“Geoff has been working closely with the council and other partners on projects like Operation Union Street Rejuvenation.
“The council is spending millions on Masterplan projects but it’s equally important we harness the enthusiasm and enterprise of all in the city centre, and we can do that through the city centre manager.
“As well as strengthening ties with Aberdeen Inspired, the role is helping to create even stronger links between the council and businesses.”