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Counties

Nostalgia and losses in wake of Gilani’s closure

Gilani's Supermarket
The closed Gilani's Supermarket in Nakuru on February 14,2019. PHOTO | JOHN NJOROGE 

Small-scale traders around Nakuru town who depended on Gilanis Supermarket as a market for their goods are feeling the pinch one week after its temporary closure.

The winding up of the 45-year-old wholesaler and distributor has also affected traders in far-flung areas of Marigat, Eldama Ravine, Nyahururu, Rumuruti and Maralal.

Gilanis is the only homegrown supermarket in the cosmopolitan town that never opened a branch elsewhere.

Other supermarkets with roots in Nakuru have gone on to open branches across the country. The list includes Tuskys, Nakuru Mattresses — which later changed its name to Nakumatt, and Woolmart.

“I have shopped at Gilanis since I was in school at Menengai High School in the early 1970s and I have always enjoyed my shopping experience,” said Angela Kinuthia, adding that she was loyal to the store because it employed locals. Closure of the business has also left clients of the popular Gilanis Restaurant in an awkward position.

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“The restaurant was a lovers’ meeting point and its closure has disrupted my dates,” said Harry Mathuku, a resident.

A trader in Maralal complained that since the outlet was closed on February 14, he has not received his order of supplies.

“I buy my goods at Gilanis but since the closure I have not received any stocks,” he said.

Pictures of cracked walls that went viral on social media raised concern over the safety of the Gilanis building leading to closure last week.

However, Gilanis Director Sham Sher Gilani dismissed the allegations as propaganda, insisting that the building was safe.

Meanwhile, the fate of hundreds of Gilani’s supermarket employees remains unknown a week after the county government ordered indefinite closure of the store.

A report compiled by the National Building Inspectorate and the National Construction Authority and submitted to the county government on Monday revealed that part of the building’s ground floor and basement are defective.

The report recommended that other areas of the building are safe and business can resume while the affected area is repaired.

However, County Executive for Housing and Planning Frank Mwangi said the building will remain closed until owners submit its construction plan.

“We do not work theoretically, we put the safety of the public first,” said Mr Mwangi.

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