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WHO'S WHO IN THE ISLAND

Juan Hernández Álvarez – Director of El Campanario Commercial Centre

“Knowing that what I do helps shop owners motivates me every morning”

FMHOY - Fuerteventura

WHO'S WHO IN THE ISLANDThe reason for this interview is mainly to congratulate Juan Hernández, director of El Campanario Commercial Centre, who has just celebrated his eleventh year at the head of this commercial centre since it opened. We have followed his path since his beginnings.

There have been difficult times, isn’t that right?

Very difficult indeed, we opened at the beginning of the crisis and we have worked and “cried” a lot as well. Many years without holidays, searching for ways to attract businesses and the public, inventing a thousand things to make this centre more attractive...

But we would like you to talk about yourself, about your long experience, because it is not common for the same person to stay for eleven years managing a centre since its opening.

I come from La Gomera, therefore I am a natural fighter, I can't assess my intelligence, however, I know my working abilities. Those eleven years have passed by very fast because I was so immersed in my work trying to succeed. I don't know where those years went. Those eleven of my life have flown by, although I lived them intensely, they were filled with good times, but also bad and hard ones too.

Therefore, the experience was rewarding, I believe I learned more over those years than I did in my past experience, I am like a sponge and I also think that I already had good knowledge to start with. Was this your first experience in commercial centres? I didn't have experience in commercial centres, a friend recommended me to go for the interview and after two hours, they called me to start. In the beginning, seeing the size of the centre, I nearly walked away, but I like challenges and learning new things.

I explained to Javier Puga, who interviewed me, that I needed to give my notice to my current employer but if they agreed that I could start working evenings until my notice was over. We were close to the opening and I needed to get familiar with my new activity as soon as possible.

Then, for my own interest, I went to various courses over the years in order to get more involved in the world of business.

What has made an impression on you over those years?

More importantly, I have met incredible people, I don't see some of them any more but I remember them for their worth and of course, bad people, as there are some also, and jealous people who waste so much energy being that way. But what counts, is to keep the best of each person, even the more complicated ones.

What is Juan Hernández like?

A person who knows what he doesn't want, what I like may change in my life, but I am very clear about what I don't like and I don't want to be unhappy. I am a good friend and I like to help. Every morning I get motivated by knowing that what I do helps shop owners, I enjoy interacting with them, my work is my world.

And how do you feel as director of El Campanario?

What we have achieved isn't just thanks to me, I have a small team, but many larger businesses on the island would like to have one like it. I take this opportunity to thank Chiara, Alex, Javi, Vicente and Carmen, each of them in their own speciality. Together, we look after the decoration, marketing, etc., it could never have worked without them. Knowing how to create an efficient team that works well is also an achievement It is about treating people with respect, seriousness and understanding, just as we would like to be treated ourselves.

And finally, how was the April Fair?

This year there was even more visitors and it was more successful again. A lot of people came from Lanzarote, Gran Canaria and Tenerife, so much so that we are thinking of extending it next year and including the street as the Centre is at its maximum capacity. Hotels were calling us to bring their clients over and people who came from other islands said that it was the best April Fair that had been organised in the Canaries. We have been organising the April Fairs for ten years and they are still growing.

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• Janira Lourdes Domínguez – Councillor of the department of Equality at Fuerteventura's Cabildo
• Juan Hernández Álvarez – Director of El Campanario Commercial Centre
• José Juan Herrera Martel - Councillor of Commerce, Industry and of the Centres and Museums' Network of Fuerteventura's Cabildo
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