For months, the new development of Village Walk that adjoins Sam Levy’s Village on Borrowdale Road has been a boarded up construction site. All that changed on 23 February however, when anchor store Pick n Pay opened to the public.
To jolt excitement and draw in first time shoppers, the retailer kicked off with a shopping promotion that will run to 5 March.
In an economy that has been described by some as dying if not dead, residents expressed happiness at seeing the old premises revamped and upgraded.
“This new Pick n Pay has a modern feel to it. I had been shopping at Arundel village and Kamfinsa but this new place just calls you,” said Dan Alfred who was on his first visit to the complex.
However, some shoppers felt that as much as the new place was trendy, parking space was poor, especially due to the Chicken Inn drive through, making congestion a daily experience.
“I think this place is superb, but parking is a nightmare and if I have to wait for 10 minutes to manoeuvre my car into or out of a parking bay, I’ll definitely think twice and opt for Sam Levy Village,” said shopper Florence Gutu.
Faith Mugugu, the quantity surveyor overseeing the development of Village Walk, advised that the issue of parking space was being worked on with plans to expand the parking area.
“We have managed to complete phase one construction for Village Walk tenants, phase two will complete in a month and this will include more parking space for customers, “she said.
Improving on the parking will be necessary to keep the clientele of all tenants happy. Other than Pick n Pay, businesses that have opened their doors include TV Home and Sales, Chicken Inn, Standard Chartered, Print works, and Café Nush, who have proven popular as they give away free teas and cakes to start building support.
It was not all smooth sailing however, as the decision to cut down a very large and spectacular tree on the road-side of the parking area caused huge upset among residents and motorists who frequent the Borrowdale Road.
Popular Facebook community group Zimvine saw more than 100 people express their anger at the felling of the tree.
Mugugu explained that they had received a lot of backlash as the developers but they had no say in the cutting down of the tree but were instructed by their bosses to have it removed.
“It was not our decision to cut the tree down although a lot of people has found it very easy to point fingers at us, we just operated as per instruction,” she told Harare News.
Efforts to get a comment from Sam Levy’s Village on the potentially strong competition opening up right on their doorstep were fruitless as the spokesperson was unavailable for comment.