West Berbice first shopping mall aims at reviving commerce in Rosignol
By Leon Suseran
West Coast Berbice has been transformed with the permanent fixture of a brand new $50M shopping
mall, the first of its kind in Region Five. Agape (Greek for ‘love’) Shopping Mall came into being as a result of the partnering of skills, finance and ideas of two brothers, Angad and Jaggernauth Persaud, the latter of whom has been residing in Canada for the past 16 years where he owns and operates an auto refurbishing business. The mall is situated at Lot 177 Burnham Avenue, Rosignol Village.
The owner of the building, Angad, said that he spent a number of years overseas but desired to return home “to put up this little mall here”. Persaud said that the idea behind such a business venture in Rosignol is “to bring business opportunities into the community and offer something with a difference to boost the community in a sense that people recognise Rosignol as a place where they can do business”.
The mall was constructed on an area which was once a swamp. The building can accommodate 18 stores, with units measuring 14ft x 25ft. Each is fitted with an independent lighting facility. Persaud said that all of the units have been occupied and the store owners are getting their stuff together, organising their display of items and just preparing to fully open by July 1.
Stores, including boutiques, jewellery stores, a supermarket, electrical and computer stores, hair salon, dining cafe, game- shop, hardware store, and cell phone store, are among those present in the building, providing shoppers with a one- stop- shop experience.
Persaud is hoping for a grand launch in August whereby the mall will be officially opened.
Persaud feels “good with the reaction of the people…and it feels challenging. “One of the things that makes me feel good about it, too, is that it drives businesses and the small businesses around— it boosts them”.
He added that he has constructed a large parking lot alongside the building to accommodate up to 20 vehicles. He believes that the mall is already attracting the attention of corporate entities and organisations from further afield, like for example, in the city whereby “people are calling me to do promotions”.
Over the past couple of years, business and commerce in the West Berbice area, especially in areas such as Rosignol and Cotton Tree Villages, have diminished.
They suffered immensely with the opening of the Berbice River Bridge. Numerous shops along the Carriage Roadway (Stelling Road) at Rosignol were forced to close.
The New Amsterdam side of the locale also suffered because of the bridge as well since commuters no longer come out and have a chance to shop and patronise businesses; instead they travel instantly over the bridge, and are diverted away from central Rosignol.
Now, with the presence of malls such as Agape Shopping Mall, there is a hope that business and commerce will once again ‘pick- up’ and bit by bit, some form of consumer confidence will be restored to this suffering area on the West Coast of Berbice.