Meru town became the next stop for Naivas supermarket chain opened its 86th branch in the town.
During the official opening, Meru Dairy Union Chief Executive Officer Mr Kenneth Gitonga who was the Chief Guest said the opening of the branch was a great boost for business in the town as it will offer market for suppliers of many commodities including farm produce among others.
On behalf of other suppliers, I want to say that this is a great opportunity for the people of Meru as they will be able to supply their produce to the supermarket while on the other hand enjoying a variety of commodities offered in the store,” said Mr Gitonga.
He said the Meru Dairy Union has been doing business with the supermarket for the last five years and assured other suppliers that they will get a good partner in Naivas.
“I want to encourage our local suppliers that this is a good partner to work with and we will benefit from each other,” said Mr Gitonga.
Apart from offering a good market for local farmers’ produce, Mr Gitonga added that the supermarket will also offer various job opportunities to the local community both directly and indirectly.
“Our children, about 110, will be employed in this store and we should also remember that landlords will also have a field day with the coming of new people in town,” said Mr Gitonga.
The supermarket’s Chief Commercial Officer Mr Willy Kimani said projected to open four more branches before the end of this year to make it to 90 stores.
Of these four, he added, they were very keen on Meru town as they have always bought a lot of agricultural products from Meru as well as employed many people even before they set foot in the town.
“As we open this branch, we are aware that it is a market that has been tough, and we have had three chains opening and closing up businesses here. We are however coming to say that we are actually going to be here for the longest time since we will strongly engage the local people in various ways,” said Mr Kimani.
He said their long stay in the town will tell the story that a Kenyan supermarket can work with the community and be able to buy from the same.
“We have good offers and fair prices and we shall continue to work with the parties concerned to make sure we give value to our shoppers because ultimately this is what will determine our presence in Meru,” said Mr Kimani.
He added, “We will try as much as possible to work with the local suppliers and farmers to empower them because that is the same person who in the evening is going to give their children money to come and buy a pencil or a book from us.”
The retailer will occupy, as an anchor tenant, Greenwood mall, whose construction started in 2015. It also hosts other big names including Lintons, Goodlife and KFC with others expected to come later in the year.
Speaking during the opening of the supermarket, Fusion Group Executive Director James Maclean said that they were excited to open the store before Christmas, allowing tenants to trade properly over the period.
Greenwood was funded by Fusion Capital as a direct investor and a fund manager to some of the investors under its management through Fusion Investment Limited.
Fusion partnered with a team of six local individuals who originally owned the 6-acre piece of land that was formerly known as Pig and Whistle.
The local partners make the minority shareholders of the investment and Fusion and its investors are the majority shareholders.
James said that Greenwood City will be a destination mall not only serving Meru town residents but also Nkubu, Isiolo, Chuka, and other neighbouring towns.
By Dickson Mwiti and Immaculate Mukami