Marie Mischewski has seen some weird and wonderful things in her 30-plus year career.
But now, after working a decade past retirement age, the 75-year-old is calling it a day.
"Thirty years is a long time in the industry ... but I have loved what I do."
Mischewski has been centre manager at Fraser Cove Shopping Centre for 18 years and prior to that she managed Bayfair Shopping Centre.
Her most memorable moments in marketing include introducing a mall entry-free of $1 when Bayfair Shopping Centre relaunched after an expansion.
"We raised so much money that we bought an ambulance for St John Ambulance."
She also remembers running a Christmas Care campaign asking people to donate money and community organisations to nominate someone who deserved a festive dinner.
"We did two sittings of that and we had hundreds of people. It was just amazing to hear people say this was the first real Christmas dinner they'd ever had ..."
More recently, the Wheels for Cure Kids at Fraser Cove always packs out the shopping centre, which is cordoned off for top mountain bikers.
But Mischewski says some of the biggest promotions can be some of the worst trading days for a mall.
"Going back many moons, we brought The Simpsons from a popular American animated sitcom to Bayfair. It was so packed the glass on the windows were shaking.
"Yet it was one of the worst trading days we ever had. People come to see these characters, you've got hundreds, thousands of people but it doesn't necessarily relate to shopping.
"These are the intricacies of marketing malls."
Mischewski says marketing dollars for malls depend on their size and number of tenants paying into the fund.
Therefore, she says bigger malls will always have a jump on smaller shopping centres, but it still relies on marketing skills.
"I had dollars to spend at Bayfair, I was able to create some promos that certainly had legs, and indeed an element of wow.
"It is definitely far more challenging in a smaller centre."
It's why, she says, they run charity events such as the Wheels for Cure Kids and are major sponsors of the annual Toy Run where hundreds of hot rods and muscle cars cavalcade through the city streets raising money for the Waipuna Hospice and child cancer.
"It is a case of picking up on something that you believe will add value to a centre, regardless of how many dollars you have to spend."
A retail journey
Mischewski's career in shopping centre management started in 1991.
She worked for Bayfair Shopping Centre in marketing before becoming centre manager.
"Over the years, Bayfair grew and grew and grew. We had some exciting times going through expansions, moving a store overnight from one location to a temporary location and eventually their new location.
"Expanding a mall is major."
Back then, Bayfair was "the" shopping centre because there were no other shopping centres, she says.
Mischewski wasn't involved when Bayfair was a bare site but when she did, the mall had about 30 stores.
She stayed through a couple of big expansions, including "one very big one".
"That was really a great time for the centre. We brought retailers into the centre that had only ever been in other big cities.
"All of a sudden we were bringing in Glassons and Farmers, it was an exciting time."
Then, it was time to move on.
"I was totally, absolutely exhausted. At that time, I decided I needed a break."
She was approached by Tauriko Business Estate director Bryce Donne who asked if she would take a look at the site where Fraser Cove now stands.
"It was all brand new. Interestingly enough, we watched at Bayfair to see what was happening out there."
SWOT analysis took place: Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
"This was a threat," she says. "It was: 'Oh my goodness there's another mall happening'."
At the end of the day, Mischewski chose Fraser Cove - where she's now been for 18 years.
"It was starting from scratch."
Everything was different and Mischewski says she had to put into practice what she'd previously put in place at Bayfair.
"Certainly over the years, Fraser Cove grew, had some exciting retailers.
"We've now got a huge amount of competition. There's a lot happening in the retail scene."
Change in retail
From remembering working with one of the first computerised tills in the country to now a "huge" online shopping presence, Mischewski says retail has changed dramatically in her career.
Mischewski did a thesis "way back" based on what she believed the future of malls would be.
She predicted a mall's natural objective to have continuous good financial return would only allow major retailers with a big stock turnover to survive, leaving smaller boutique stores unable to pay large rents and have to relocate.
"I said: 'What you're going to get is cloned malls and that's exactly what it is."
People have realised this, she says, and now boutique stores have moved to main streets.
"That's exactly what has happened."
Nowadays, Mischewski says people are also choosing to shop local instead of travelling to centres further away.
"If they're doing that, they're doing that in the weekends where there is a bit of spare time.
"It's a whole changing scene of retail in Tauranga."
From retail to travel and back again
Mischewski says the bonus of working past retirement age is that it has funded her life's ambition to travel and visit as many countries as possible.
"It's been a passion of me all my life. It just broadens your whole horizons of how you see the world.
"When my sons were 10 and 12, we travelled around Europe for three months in a campervan."
She's travelled to about 120 countries including El Salvador, Azerbaijan, Mali, Burkina Faso and "all of the -stan countries".
But mostly, Mischewski has loved her job.
"It's been magic."