Amidst the proliferation and high competition in the supermarket sector, one of Liberia’s oldest supermarkets, SAVEWAY MALL, has installed the first ever escalator in the country.
The escalator has been installed and recently launched in the supermarket, located at ELWA Junction, in Paynesville to carry (transport) customers between the first and newly constructed second floor.
An escalator is a type of vertical transportation in the form of a moving staircase – a conveyor transport device for carrying people between floors of a building. The device consists of a motor-driven chain of individually linked steps that move up or down on tracks, allowing the step treads to remain horizontal.
The General Manager of the Saveway Mall, Ziad H. Esber told the Daily Observer in an exclusive interview over the weekend in Paynesville that the construction of the second floor, purchasing of the escalator and its installation as well as the goods is an investment of about US$1m.
Ziad emphasized that a staff will be assigned throughout at the escalator, to educate and assist consumers of the escalator, to avoid accidents.
“The usage of the escalator is just simple: when you put your feet or stand on a moving escalator, you stand still, don’t walk… when the escalator reaches you at the last stair of the floor, you walk off easily, ” Ziad said.
He said on the first floor, the supermarket has food stuff, sanitation materials, cosmetics and kitchen utensils.
“On the second floor are toys, home decorations, clothes, jewelry, cosmetics and kitchen utensils, “Ziad noted.
“Also, we also have cigar lounge (place to smoke cigar), a mini bar, and a coffee shop (called Jeffrey’s Retro and Coffee). ” He added: “We have a secure and supervised playground for our costumers’ children… as time goes by, there will be fees charged for maintenance for the playground from costumers.”
A staffer at the Saveway Mall, who asked not to be named, said though the sales growth has slowed and there is price war among the supermarkets, the Saveway Mall, is keeping its balance to meet the needs of its customers and strive to be the best amongst the rest.
“The evidence is the escalator, the first ever in the country since 1847,”the staffer said.
Another staffer said, “We have taken the supermarket to another level with the escalator and we are hopeful of more consumers and making them spend more when they are there.”
The Daily Observer has gathered that 23 Liberians are under the employment of the Saveway Mall, five of whom are benefitting from the Saveway Scholarship Scheme.
Meanwhile, the supermarket was established by a Lebanese business man, George Koussa in the ’80s, under the name, Paynesville Supermarket. The supermarket closed twice during the Liberian civil war, between 1989 and 2003. In 2009, Mr. George Koussa’ s son, Jamil Koussa took over, and renamed it, Saveway Supermarket. With the new development, it has now been renamed, “Saveway Mall.”