It's been roughly three weeks since Daniel Madigan took the reins of the Erie Street Market as its operations director, and he's been running into a lot of smiling faces.
The former facilities manager at North Towne Square and Woodville malls is the first person with multitenant retail management experience to lead the marketplace, said Dave Long, president of the market's management development corporation.
In his short time on the job, Mr. Madigan has won praise from his bosses as well as some tenants who have been critical of the way the city-owned market has been run in the past.
“There's nothing that's going to happen at the Erie Street Market that Dan has not been exposed to another time in his career,” Mr. Long said. “He is someone with a tremendous amount of skills, and he's used to working with tenants.”
Mr. Madigan, who will be 42 this month, said the Erie Street Market position was something he had been looking for since leaving the facility-management business about a year ago. He is paid $50,000 annually.
“I had gained so much experience, and it was something I still enjoyed doing,” Mr. Madigan said. “I really wanted to do something that involved facility management. I saw the Erie Street Market as something that could be a great center if it was handled the right way.”
Mr. Madigan was born and raised in Toledo and graduated from Bowsher High School and the University of Toledo. He is the cousin of John Madigan, a lawyer for the city of Toledo.
He worked for Service Solutions, which took over the facility management of Simon Property, overseeing the North Towne Square and Woodville malls and 13 other malls in the region.
Mr. Madigan said when Service Solutions' partnership with Simon Property Groups ended, his position was dissolved.
For the past year, he had worked as a financial consultant for MetLife locally but still had a burning passion for facility management.
Pete Gerken, a Toledo city councilman and a strong supporter of the market, said the city started to re-evaluate the market's leadership role.
Mr. Gerken said the previous director, Candance Baldwin, and others before her came to the position with strong marketing backgrounds but maybe not the facility management knowledge the market really needed.
“When Candace Baldwin left, we sat down and looked hard at what we thought the market would need,” Mr. Gerken said.
“We wanted to find someone who had some knowledge of working with multi-unit facilities and working with merchants.
“We wanted someone who knew how and when to say `yes' and when to say `no.' We were happy to see [Mr. Madigan's] resume come through with that experience, and we've been very happy with what he's done so far.”
Steven Cox, manager of The Soap Bar in Frogtown Square and spokesman for the Erie Street Market Merchants Association, said the tenants have quickly taken to Mr. Madigan's hand-on style of solving problems.
Mr. Cox said he's been visible and accessible to the vendors.
The merchants association was formed in July after complaints about the cleanliness and management of the market reached a high note among tenants.
“He knows how to roll up his sleeves and get to work,” Mr. Cox said. “It probably won't be until January when we can sit down and really talk to him, but as far as day-to-day operations, I've been very impressed. Here on the floor is where you first start to hear things [from the vendors], and everything I've heard has been positive. I'm very pleased, and that's hard to do.”
Mr. Madigan said he wants the community to use the market more for things such as meetings and special events.
He said the idea would hopefully lead to people becoming more familiar with traveling to the market and making it a shopping destination.