Major firsts for Bay region

2016-05-18 06:00
Photo: supplied

Photo: supplied

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THE Eastern Cape’s largest shopping centre, Baywest Mall, is celebrating its first birthday on May 21 with a “festival of firsts”, looking at new retail and entertainment offerings the centre has introduced to the region.

In its first 12 months of trading, the R2-billion mall has become a landmark development along the N2 freeway in Port Elizabeth’s western suburbs, creating over 2 500 permanent jobs and working with government to develop a R300-million road network around the precinct.

Covering a gross lettable area of 90 000m2, Baywest now houses more than 250 retail outlets, restaurants and entertainment venues, including the region’s only ice rink, Ster-Kinekor IMAX and Cine Prestige theatres.

It was also responsible for bringing national and international brands like Cinnabon and DionWired to the region.

According to Baywest marketing manager Christopher Hutchings, it is the mall’s intention to continue being an innovative market leader in all that it does.

Part of the mall’s big birthday celebrations is a giveaway of a VW Move UP! worth R170,000.

“A great example is our mobile app, which uses beacon technology to help shoppers navigate the mall and delivers personalised alerts about specials and promotions to their smartphone, based on their buying behaviour.

“The cutting edge capabilities that underlie the system make it another first for South African retail,” said Hutchings.

He added that Baywest was also the first greenfields development of its size nationally to incorporate high-speed fibre connectivity.

“Our strategic partnership with Vodacom allows our shoppers to enjoy the benefits of super-fast and free Wi-Fi while they shop.”

Hutchings said the mobile communications company would help to celebrate Baywest’s birthday by co-sponsoring a giant cake to officially mark the occasion on Saturday, May 21.

Billed as a “festival of firsts”, the day’s carnival-style festivities will include stilt-walkers, jugglers and vocalists, as well as pop-a-balloon spot prizes and another first for the city – freeze model displays along the Fashion Boulevard on the upper level.

Hutchings said the entertainment line-up also showcased promising young local talent, including teen models in the Soda Bloc fashion show at noon, followed by a performance from the Woodridge College steel band.

“At 3pm, audiences will get to see the award-winning NMMU choir in action as a fundraising performance ahead of their North American tour later this year.

“The cake cutting will then take place in the centre court and brings our birthday bash to a close after the grand finale.”

Rounding out the “festival of firsts” will be another highlight – a pop-up showroom featuring vehicle displays from the Kelston Motor Group.

“No birthday is complete without presents, so we’ll be giving away a brand-new Volkswagen Move Up! in a competition that runs throughout our birthday month,” said Hutchings.

The grand prize draw for the vehicle will take place at Baywest June 18. Entries close on June 15 at midnight.

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