Tony Brown is the chief executive and owner of Beales Department Stores

"Some would call me a retail veteran, having been in retail for 40 years. I think I am just getting started. Retail has a habit of changing every five years or so – I have to be prepared to change with it."

Tony started in retail as a security officer for Asda chasing thieves and jangling keys. He says he has worked alongside some "wonderful" mentors who, along with his wife have helped carve the person he is today.


Q: What would be your perfect day out in Dorset?

A: Walking with my wife and our two dogs. We are blessed with some wonderful sea walks, stately homes and central Dorset is just wonderful, so a long walk and a pub lunch would be my kind of day out.


Q: What are your fondest memories of the county?

A:There are so many. I have seen some wonderful sunsets around the world but none can compare to Evening Hill at Sandbanks, winter early morning walks by the beach, the Air Festival, the mist creeping up Old Harry. The county is just magical.


Q: What has been your proudest achievement?

A: From a business perspective it has to be keeping Beales and all our people going through the financial crash of 2008 and then coming back in 2016 to help again, eventually completing the MBO in 2017. Personally, helping my wife Jacqueline bring up our children to a place that they now make their own way in the world.


Q: Where do you get your inspiration from?

A: The people around me, books by great business leaders and from our faith, we travel a lot so I tend to find new ideas from businesses we go into or people we meet.


Q: What would be your favourite thing to do when you have a day off?

A: I am a triable wood worker – I have my own workshop where I turn out bowls, candle sticks, and the odd bench. I would say I am a competent F in the old GCSE marks.


Q: Where is your favourite place to eat in the county?

A: The Pig (both at Studland and in Brockenhurst) and at home.


Q: What three things do you associate with Dorset?

A: Creativity, nature, forward thinking.


Q: If you could summarise the county in one word what would it be?

A: Home.