Michael Goldenberg, managing director at Value Retail
What does the company specialize in?
We specialise exclusively in the creation and operation of international shopping destinations. The Bicester Village Shopping Collection, among them, La Roca Village, is a collection of 11 shopping destinations located in Europe and China. Our mission is to inspire the world’s most discerning customers to discover and embrace the world’s most important brands. We do this by creating extraordinary environments and experiences for our guests.
What year was it founded and who are the founders?
In 1992. I met Scott Malkin, the founder of Value Retail that year while I was working between London and Madrid at an investment bank. In 1993 we supported Value Retail by acquiring part of the company and helping it get the financing to turn from an unconventional (but brilliant) idea into a reality.
When did you start to work in this company?
In 1996 I moved from Madrid to Barcelona to help launch Value Retail in Spain. Two years later, after assembling a superb team we opened La Roca Village- a presumably unconventional location to attract tourists from around to world to enjoy luxury brands.
What do you like most about your job?
Value Retail is an incredible melting pot of global talent. Over 36 languages are spoken by a team that comes from 50 countries makes for a uniquely creative learning and sharing environment. We have colleagues coming from luxury retailers or leading hoteliers, as well as experts in tourism, marketing, finance, law, development, etc all with different experiences and point of view. The beauty of my role is the exposure across all of these parts of the business, working with the best talent to create a unique product that hopefully creates a lasting memory for our guests.
And what do you like least?
Insufficient time to learn more about each of these specialities or to fully absorb the incredible knowledge that these team members hold.
What do you think makes your company special?
We are experts in placemaking. We create places where guests feel comfortable, where they discover brands they are looking for and become followers of those brands thanks to an incredible environment and experience. We are constantly innovating and setting ourselves apart from others in the industry. placemaking. Creamos lugares donde los huéspedes se sientan cómodos, donde descubran las marcas que buscan y se conviertan en seguidores de esas marcas gracias a un ambiente y una experiencia increíbles. Estamos constantemente innovando y diferenciándonos de los demás en la industria.
What is your main challenge?
We are fortunate in the current COVID environment to operate open-air retail villages in the countryside, close to major cities with the wealthiest populations in Europe and China. We set ourselves the highest health and safety standards, operate a controlled environment and are part of global platform. Our challenge is to continue to uphold these standards and provide compelling experiences so that our guests are inspired to discover the best brands in the world. The Bicester Village Shopping Collection. Nuestro desafío principal es continuar manteniendo estos estándares y proporcionar experiencias extraordinarias para que nuestros huéspedes se sientan inspirados a descubrir las mejores marcas del mundo.
Where is your company located? Do you know why this place was chosen?
We are located in La Roca del Valles, in the province of Barcelona only 30 minutes from downtown. We chose this location strategically, because we think of Barcelona as a metropolitan “Gran Barcelona”. The corridor of the AP-7 highway connects Barcelona with Girona, is close to the Maresme, and is the gateway into Spain from France and the rest of Europe.
What do you like most about the neighbourhood you work in?
I am fortunate to work at La Roca Village some days, and work from home in Sant Gervasi and travel to Madrid, Milan and beyond regularly (in the pre-COVID world). I am lucky to combine working in the nearby countryside, together with working in the city. In Sant Gervasi, I particularly enjoy the elegant Turo Park, the Mercat del Galvany, the unique retail offer of small trendy shops, great cafés and world-class restaurants nearby, not to mention wonderful clubs and gyms around the city which can be used year-round. It is a wonderful neighbourhood which is both urban and sophisticated at the same time, but close enough to the rest of the city to enjoy everything that Barcelona has to offer.
How important is Barcelona for your company?
Barcelona is the reason we opened our first village in Spain where we did. It is a sophisticated world-class city which is also a global destination for quality tourists interested in culture, architecture, gastronomy and shopping.
Which cities would you compare Barcelona to?
Barcelona is unique and incomparable. That’s what makes it interesting and different- and so successful as a destination for tourism and international talent alike!
Which other cities should Barcelona model itself on?
Again, I have no problem saying that the city is and should continue to be unique. If I were to choose the closest comparative with the most to aspire to- it would be Amsterdam: a global capital, international mind-set, home to many global HQs and ex-pats. It is sophisticated, cultural, business-friendly but also edgy and fun with its share of “rauxa”.rauxa«.
Which practices in other cities could Barcelona learn from?
We have to learn from the best of what many cities have done. New York- creating new neighbourhoods and decentralising tourism to new neighbourhoods; Amsterdam- becoming known for business but also as a unique tourism destination with historical attractions; Miami for creating a year-long calendar of activities such as Miami Basel or Ultra Music Festivals, and the list of role models to study and learn from goes on! Art Basel Miami Beach or the Ultra Music Festival y muchos otros.
What do you ask of the Barcelona of the future?
Barcelona is uniquely Mediterranean in that it is liveable and workable. It is a city which is all about harmony and balance. It is manageable in size, interesting in terms of cultural offer, large enough to constantly learn, but small enough to feel part of the city. It will be important to conserve this balance ensuring there is a cultural offer, a managed approach to tourism – with a focus on quality vs. quantity, a solid infrastructure of technology, transport and public health together with a strong eco-system for entrepreneurship in technology and life sciences. It will be important to build on these attributes and continue to ensure that the city attracts the best talent and strengthens its positioning as a desirable place to live and work.