After a gorgeous drive up through the valley in Hope, we pulled up to Alyssa’s parents lake house on the shores of Kawkawa Lake. We were greeted by a bright turquoise blue front door that was almost as bright as Alyssa’s parents warm greeting, and such we were reminded that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. How lucky we were to spend time with Tanya Curtis (@girlfromharlow) and Alyssa Short (@alyssashortdesign), the General Manager and Customer Experience Manager at Highstreet Shopping Centre.
Two full hours filled with laughs on the dock, row boat rides and an adorable heirloom mermaid buoy, chilling in the beautiful ‘less is more’ space and breathtaking views of the lake made the oh so natural morning that much more comfortable. Read on to discover the friends and the magic that they bring to Highstreet.
TFV: Tell us a bit about each of your roles at Highstreet.
TC: I have been the Marketing Director since opening our doors in 2013. In August, I was promoted to General Manager.
AS: I am the Guest Services Manager at Highstreet, I also manage our Social Media here, lucky me!
TFV: What‘s a personal belief you bring to your management styles?
TC: My job, our job is to support the front line. I don’t believe in a lot of hierarchy; in fact, I hate the word “boss”. I’m here to work, just like everyone else. We have a great culture and I think some of the magic comes from working as a collective and respecting and rewarding our team.
AS: I am all about “right bums in the right seat”; if everyone is thriving in their lane then the sum is greater than the parts. I also want people to love coming to work. An authentic team culture is very important to me, mostly that means really caring about each team member and their goals, as they relate to Highstreet and beyond.
TFV: What’s one thing you want your Highstreet customers to know?
TC: That we remain curious. That every week we are looking at ways to do things better and more efficiently. We are passionate about our business and the people we serve. We pride ourselves on doing things differently and that takes a great deal of energy and commitment from our team.
AS: That we are a lean team who are passionate about our retailer’s success and about mixing up the status quo, as far as shopping centers go. We love collaborating with local talent and are always looking for new ways for the community to enjoy this space.
TFV: What are you most proud of?
TC: That we are more than a shopping centre, that we are a community centre. We use our scale for good.
AS: Our Pride of Place, it fuels everything we do, from how Guest Services answers the phone to how the team executes events. I believe this energy is contagious and that our Guests feel it when they are on site.
TFV: What is one thing that Highstreet is not?
TFV: What’s your choice of morning brew?
TC: Venti English breakfast tea, one tea bag, skim milk. It never changes. I’m British – we always need a cup of tea in the am.
AS: An upside-down Americano, with extra room, please!
TFV: What are some local IG accounts you like to follow in the Valley?
TC: Oh I like the usual suspects – @vancityvibe, @dailyhivevancouver, @curiocityvancouver and of course @thefraservalley … I’m an experience junky. But locally and internationally I have so many favourites, I wouldn’t be able to mention them all, although @happilygrey is at the top of my list for fashion inspo. I’ll give one local shout out and say give Alyssa Short (@alyssashortdesign) a follow that’s for sure! And I’m loving Connie Hackett’s (@constancelh) vibe these days.
AS: I am inspired by the Valley’s young adults and their creative spirit. Some of my favourite accounts are @bradcvm @iamjohnyoo @joykinna and @ileadabbotsford. I love @constancelh’s positivity and have been enjoying @maanfarms story telling this summer. I also can’t get enough of @teer_co and following his stunning projects.
TFV: Sweet or salty? Black or white? City or Country?
TC: Salty, Salt and Vinegar chips please.
Black or white, well that’s obvious. Black.
City or Country? Both. Sorry – I love both. I’m on the fence for that one.
AS: Salt, hands down, with a side of salt.
Black AND white, polka dots, preferably.
City or Country? My answer will always be the Lake.
TFV: What advice would you give to your younger selves?
TC: Go on and get after it. In every way – dream big, work hard, stay focused but seize opportunities and surround yourself with amazing people. Oh and explore as much as possible.
AS: I’m still learning! But my advice would be kindness first, always. Believe in your strengths and be generous with them, only good can come from that.
TFV: What’s your idea of a perfect vacation?
TC: I’ll go just about anywhere. If travel was free, you might not ever see me again.
AS: I’m energized by nature, so near the water or in the mountains with my kids sounds perfect to me. (Although Italy is currently on the wish list!)
TFV: What’s one thing you want people visiting the Valley to know about your home?
TC: We have a lot of good people here. Talented, hard-working good people.
AS: That we are growing up to be our own destination, well rounded and full of potential.
TFV: If you were a destination, where would you be?
TC: Europe… old soul with modern style peppered in. Always open for adventure.
AS: Kawkawa Lake, with a big fire and good music. Welcoming and timeless. Peaceful and exciting all at once.
As our morning with Tanya and Alyssa came to a close, we left warmed from the conversation and kindness. It’s the same hospitality that beams through the character of Highstreet. Their hard work, hustle and bright ideas cultivates a place of engaging community events that far stretches beyond your typical shopping centre. Next time you’re at Highstreet (@highstreetfv) and you come across either Tanya or Alyssa, be sure to say hello, as you will no doubt soon become a #friendofhighstreet.