Market Square Comes to P’ Harcourt

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Eager to provide a quality option for manufacturers and importers to get their products to the consumer, Marketsquare, the grocery retail chain, has opened in Port Harcourt. Owned by BBV Marketplace Limited, Marketsquare is the product of over three years of research and planning, according to the managing director, Ebele Enunwa.

For the early customers to the new outlet located at 279 Peter Odili Road, Trans-Amadi, in Port Harcourt, there was a wide range of groceries, particularly, apples, fresh fruits, plantains, and yams. This is an indication that basic food items would be a priority.

In accordance with the shopping priority, local manufacturers of dairy products and drinks, including Indomie and Mimee noodles, Peak Milk, Loya, Chivita, Grand drinks, Golden Morn, Pepsi and Infinity Breakfast, were on the front arena to entertain guests and shoppers free of charge. Everyone was thrilled by the “find more, pay less” slogan and marketing philosophy being echoed by moderators and promoters.

Speaking after showing guests round the seemingly endless rows of goods in the large hall, Enunwa said the objective was to create a modern retail environment for Nigerians in a clean, friendly, convenient and accessible environment, as opposed to unhygienic public markets. He said it was a centre for food stuff and vegetables by Nigeria and for Nigerians, stressing that Market Square needs the support of Nigerians to achieve its desired success. Enunwa said the company dealt directly with manufacturers and importers and so can get customers a wide variety of products at the lowest prices possible. The company aims to pass on most of the huge savings it gets from bulk buying and negotiations with these manufacturers, he said.

Enunwa, who is a chartered accountant, former banker, and retail business expert, said it was time to encourage local manufactures. He appealed to government at all levels to partner with the private sector to grow the economy.

The managing director particularly commended the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, for his quest to rebuild roads in the state capital, saying it has increased the flow of businesses and eased the movement of goods in the city.

On the challenge of foreign retail chains that often threaten their local counterparts with unfair advantages and competition, Enunwa said there was opportunity for the foreign and local players. “Yes, foreign retail businesses have access to vast resources and capital but we, too, can compete. This is the time for Nigerians to look inward, buy Nigerian goods to grow the naira and create jobs. A local entrepreneur is better suited to know what Nigerians want.” He called on developers to partner private investors like himself to fast-track the growth and consolidation of the retail chain business in Nigeria.

Enunwa referred to Aliko Dangote, a Nigerian entrepreneur who has built successful businesses in Africa in cement, despite foreign competition, saying, however, there are likely challenges as foreign exchange continues to pose difficulties. He said Marketsquare would offer fair prices with quality items, and leaves it to the customers to decide where to go.

A catholic cleric, Rev. Fr Precious Ezeh, who cut the tape to open the grocery store, said he took time to go round the complex and was convinced that the centre was a wonderful continuation of God’s creation by man.

“God gave man the power to create things after creating him. It’s a continuation of creation. This place will be a blessing to the Garden City and to humanity. No harmful products will find their way here, and buyers will meet nothing but good. Let other wealthy men create jobs like this,” Ezeh said.

The retail chain commenced operations this year with a plan to spread its operation across major commercial cities in the country. The latest store is the third in the series after the first that was opened in January in Yenagoa, and the second store inaugurated in Onne FOT, Rivers State, in April. Already, plans are underway to open one more store in Port Harcourt before launching out to other parts of the country