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Shopping malls move into estates

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 28 – For a long time in Nairobi, shopping malls were located either along major highways or in the city center.

But this trend is now changing as expansive shopping centers continue mushrooming around residential areas attracting other businesses willing to take their services closer to their clients.

Supermarkets, commercial banks and micro finance institutions are among the various businesses that have found shelter in neighborhood shopping centers.

Lately, residents in areas such as Buru Buru, Ongata Rongai, Komarock and Kayole are able to access banking services, pay for electricity and water as well as shop nearby.

Buru Buru estate in Nairobi’s Eastlands has remained a key shopping center to its residents and neighbouring ones. Apart from the existence of Uchumi and Tuskys Supermarkets, institutions such as Co-operative Bank, Kenya Commercial Bank and K-Rep have set up branches while others such as Standard Chartered, Equity and Barclays banks have ATM points there.

The Kenya Meat Commission also has a branch located in Buruburu.

At Komarock estate, the Naivas Supermarket has literally turned its surrounding area into a shopping center;  A number of banks have opened branches or ATMs, there is a Post Office as well as a Nairobi Water Company branch.

Recently, Naivas opened another branch at Donholm targeting residents of Tena, Umoja, Innercore and Donholm. Similar to Komarock and Buruburu, banks have set up points nearby.

On the opposite direction, in Ongata Rongai, the Rongai Mall and Tuskys business centers host various business centers mainly banks. The two target those en route to Kiserian and Magadi and as well as the neighboring higher learning institutions.

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According to Justus Kibe, the manager at Pamoja Micro Finance, people want to access services at their convenience while saving on time.

Some of the incentives that these supermarkets provide for their clients include home delivery of goods purchased.

Januaris Muli, a councilor at Buru Buru explains that residential malls and shopping centers have the ability to transform a neighborhood. This is because the communities; businesses and residents could manage and address issues such as idleness and unemployment as well as drugs among the youth.

24 hour concept

Tuskys Buru Buru and Naivas close at 9pm and 8:30 pm respectively, however, both supermarkets’ management say they would not mind operating for 24 hours but the high insecurity associated with Eastlands forces them to close early.

Mr Muli notes that 24 hour shopping concept is best suited for residential areas but security and good infrastructure to support it is indeed very vital.

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