At 50,000sqm the soon-to-open Thavhani Mall in Thohoyandou may be a regional shopping centre, but it has been created with its community at heart and carefully planned to have substantial and meaningful benefits for its local economy.
The almost 140 stores will open on 24 August to become the largest shopping centre in the growing town of Thohoyandou, it will also launch significant economic opportunities for local people and businesses.
From day one, Thavhani Mall has been a local initiative. Seven years ago, local businessman Khosi Ramovha of Thavhani Property Investments had the vision for a regional mall in Thohoyandou. To achieve the vision, this local owner partnered with leading South African shopping centre developers and investors, Flanagan & Gerard Property Development and Investment, which secured the co-investment of JSE-listed retail REIT Vukile Property Fund.
Ramovha reports: “Thavhani Mall’s founding vision was inspired by the extremely positive impacts a large mall can have on its community. This foundation has ensured the golden thread of community runs throughout all areas of the initiative. We have gone to great lengths to invite and enable local participation in the mall.” With opening preparations under way, the mall’s focus on being an economic asset for its local community has become clear in its service provider selection, tenant mix and retailer employment initiative.
Deeply inclusive of local businesses, the mall’s representation of local retail brands with strong roots in the region includes VBS Mutual Bank, Zoe Exclusive, PIB Holdings, Vhutambo Edu-Toys, Next – fashion, Spectacle Hut, and Zwawe Restaurant, with even more to come.
Also, local franchisees operating from Thavhani Mall include MultiChoice, PostNet, Link Pharmacy, Spar Pharmacy, News Café, Spur, Steers, Debonairs, Fishaways, Milky Lane, Romans Pizza, and Sausage Saloon, among others joining its leasing mix.
What’s more, the mall’s owners have appointed three local companies as service providers for Thavhani Mall’s major operational areas: the security services of Gwala Security, cleaning and hygiene provider Musukume Investment Holdings and landscapers Gauflora.
Showing avid continuing community commitment, the mall has nurtured key local relationships, including its very positive relationship with the Thulamela Business Forum (TBF). “As part of our local stakeholder outreach we pass on numerous opportunities at Thavhani Mall to the TBF, which then distributes the opportunities to their stakeholders,” explains Paul Gerard from Flanagan & Gerard Property Development and Investment. TBF also provides Thavhani Mall with insight into the needs of local business, their concerns and suggestions.
Thavhani Mall has already created jobs throughout its construction process, and the mall’s approach to permanent employment positions has generated staggering results with 97,000 job applications received.
Thavhani Property Investments issued a call for CVs on radio and social media. Prospective employees were asked to submit CVs to the Thavhani Mall website. Each job applicant’s name, ID, contact details and residential address are included on a database of CVs. The 137 retailers coming to Thavhani Mall have access to this database.
“There is virtually infinite demand for a finite number of job opportunities. Looking at these numbers, every job that is created is needed and makes a difference. The mall is having a very real positive impact with the jobs it has created. We have also made it very clear to the mall’s retailers that they need to ‘employ local’,” emphasises Gerard.
This is only the beginning of the opportunities that Thavhani Mall holds for its community because it is the heart of a much bigger development. Thavhani mall is the focal point of the large mixed-use urban precinct mega development, Thavhani City, which is being developed on a 27ha site in Thohoyandou. As a shared vision between Thavhani Property Investments and the Thulamela Local Municipality, it will add the Thavhani Office Park, a motor-city and private healthcare facilities to the existing facilities which include a library, community centre, information centre, and the 40,000-seater Thohoyandou Stadium.
“Thavhani Mall will be a significant boost to the local economy and its future. It will also offer the community the biggest and best selection of shopping and leisure options in a mall they can be truly proud of,” says Gerard.