The joy and pain of new shopping malls
The first shopping mall on the Thika Superhighway has become a major magnet for shoppers and leisure seekers. This has set pace for construction of other malls.
The Thika Road Mall (TRM) now hosts more than 35 retail outlets consisting of local and international brands, a clear window into the potential of the flourishing residential zone.
It has come with life changing opportunities and tears in equal measure.
The outlets range from banks, high-end food joints, telecos customer care to the ones selling clothes.
They have provided direct and indirect employment to hundreds of Nairobians.
One of the indirect job opportunities that the mall has created is the taxi business. Many cabs are usually lined up in the compound ready for business at any time of the day.
Besides, it has brought convenience to the people in Roysambu and Githurai.
“The mall has been a great blessing to us. I no longer have to travel to town for food, shopping or banking services,” said Lucy Wairimu, a Kahawa resident.
Many Roysambu residents admit that the mall has changed their lifestyles. However, there is a group that feels sidelined.
“Before this mall was opened, I had no problem carrying out my business but now vendors have been banned around this area. We are constantly engaged in running battles with county askaris,” said John Kamau who sells pineapples.
Equally bitter are retail shop owners. Many have become redundant and are being replaced by vehicle accessories shops.
“The only shops left in this place are in the estates and I must admit that I just go there when it is really necessary such as when buying perishables like milk.
“I do most of my shopping at the mall,” said Mercy Atieno from Allsops.
All is not gloom and doom for other sectors since the mall has improved perception of Thika Road as an investment destination.