continues to demand a full lifting of the blockade, the Gaza market seems to be doing alright. Gaza Mall, the first ever shopping center in the Strip was opened last Saturday with masses storming the new attraction.
The two-floor compound, each stretching over roughly 9,700 sq. ft, offers international brands as well as much-needed air conditioning. Tens of thousands of shoppers from Rafah to Beit Hanoun have already visited the site within a matter of days, making the center Gaza's new craze.
"Not everyone comes to shop. There are those who are curious who just come to see the place and others who come for the air conditioning," one of the mall's workers said. Head of the mall's board of directors, Salah a-Din Abu Abdo, told Ynet the center attracts more and more visitors every day.
Gaza Mall. Affordable prices and air conditioning
"We make a point of providing attractive and competitive prices in order to take on the outside markets," he said. "Our goal is to develop a marketing and leisure culture among the residents of the Strip who for years have been subjected to a blockade. If profit was our only objective, than this investment would have been planned differently with more shops in other price ranges."
The group of investors which established the mall, including Abu Abdo, promoted the initiative privately. "There are international firms such as Adidas and Lacoste and Paris' top selling perfumes," he said. "Nevertheless, the local traders and businessmen are those running the business. I hope that in the future we'll get merchandise from other foreign chains wanting to open branches here."
No elevator yet
The new shopping center is located in Gaza's Kimmel neighborhood, which was once considered the most expensive in the Gaza Strip.
The official opening ceremony was attended by Hamas government ministers and senior officials who expressed their hope that the center will create additional work places for dozens of families and fulfill its vocation as a new culture, entertainment and consumerism center.
Visitors, however are currently forced to use the stairs moving between the two floors in the absence of an elevator, which workers say is due to a technical problem.
The mall's management promises more surprises for shoppers in the near future, in addition to the center's supermarket, clothing stores, food and beauty products, a children's playground and a restaurant – all at affordable prices for local residents. Shoppers will also be able to purchase the products on-line and have them delivered home at even cheaper rates.