In 1992, two Kenyan brothers, Hamed and Mehraz Ehsani had the idea of constructing a shopping and recreation mall within Nairobi. Their objective was to provide a shopping and recreation experience for Gigiri's residents which include diplomats, expatriates and tourists living and/or working within the Nairobi's Diplomatic District and its immediate environs.
Construction began in April 1992 with 10 shops. Three years later they opened The Village Market's gates to the public. Today (February 2009) the complex covers over 225,713 square feet (20,969.4 m2) of leasing space; three levels high, with more than 150 outlets. It offers a variety of recreational facilities, including a cinema and an Olympic size bowling alley. The latest addition to the mall is a 5 star hotel with a 142 guest rooms and suites.
Inside The Village Market
The Village Market has outlets offering products and services of different categories. There are over 35 shops selling local and designer wear, fashion, accessories and footwear. Nakumatt supermarket which stocks household products, electronic equipments and furniture among other products. The mall is also home to a Diplomat exclusive supermarket whose commodities are exempt from duties and the VAT tax.
The Village Market has an outdoor Food Court and other restaurants offering local African recipes as well as international recipes. The restaurants are open daily and serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. The shopping mall offer beauty and relaxation products and services and a health and fitness center which also has yoga and dance classes.
The Village Market has handicap accessible restrooms, a Baby Room for nursing mothers and a prayer area reserved for visitors and shoppers. The mall is accessible through 5 gates with 700 on-site parking spaces including handicap parking. A Customer Service desk is located on the 2nd level of the complex for shoppers, tenants and visitors seeking any information. The complex is open daily through the week and weekend as well as holidays from 7am to 11pm.
Arts and Crafts
Glass Art works at the Village Market
There are several outlets that specialize in African artifacts and other Kenyan crafts. Moreover, every Friday, the shopping center hosts the Maasai Market – a cultural bazaar that brings together around 400 artisans and craftsmen who specialize in an array of ethnic relics. The African pieces range from soapstone, fibres, wooden and iron sculptures and batiks and paintings.
Recreation and entertainment
The mall has a Nu Metro Cinema hall, water slides, a mini golf course and bowling alleys also known as Superbowl. Village Market's recreation zones also hosts various supervised play areas for children. During weekends, and holidays, The Village Market invites musicians, violinists, pianists and regular professional music bands for entertainment.
Activities and events
The Village Market hosts many activities annually including weekly art exhibitions in the mall's exhibition halls. Ladies Day and Car Boot sale are among the activities and events held at the complex.
The Village Market, frequently runs promotions to reward shoppers and visitors all through the year. The Bonus Card program is one of these promotions which is supposed to reward loyal shoppers with redeemable points.
The Village Market provides other vital services. From health care to banking, the mall has 5 banks, and ATMs to boot. The complex also has an investment firm, a Forex bureau, a post office and a DHL center. There are also several tours and travel companies that make tour arrangements to various destinations. Also to be found in the complex is a driving school, a tyre center as well as a car dealership. The Village Market is also has a veterinary and dental clinic alongside a pharmacy and a dry cleaning service.
Tribe – the Village Market hotel
A room at The Tribe Hotel Village Market
Tribe is the Village Market hotel. Tribe is situated adjacent to the shopping center with 142 guestrooms and suites. The Village Market hotel is run by the Africa Pride group of hotels and lodges from South Africa.