Georgia Today Meets the GM of East Point Mall

The 85, 000 m square international standard shopping mall, East Point, opened on the outskirts of Tbilisi this week, making it the largest shopping and entertainment center in the city. You’ll find your favorite food venues McDonalds and Dunkin Donuts alongside a cinema hall, the first IMAX cinema in Georgia, 12 professional bowling lanes with attached cafй and restaurant, the biggest Massimo Dutti, Zara, Mango, Stradivarius and Bershka stores, and the first Do It Yourself (DIY) hypermarket, Domino, offering everything you need for home repairs. Brands De Facto, Gloria Jean’s, and Inglot are expected to open at East Point shortly and by the end of the year Carrefour hypermarket and unique children’s entertainment center Focus-Mocus will join the list. Georgia Today met Oleg Pavlov, the top manager of East Point, to interview him about the center and his expectations.

Q: Mr. Oleg, what should the Georgians expect from the center?

A: The Georgian people should expect it to be a destination that works for all the family. You wake up in the morning, you come here: you have breakfast here, a cup of coffee somewhere in coffee shops, you can shop in clothing shops, children can entertain themselves in the children’s center, young people can do all kinds of activities downstairs, the whole family can go and watch a movie, then you can have dinner at a restaurant. You can spend the whole day here. There’s something for everyone. That was our idea. And over time we will make sure that there is more and more for people to experience in this center. What opened today is just half what it is going be in four or five months.

Q: Is the Georgian economic picture favorable for you?

A: When we came here five years ago, there was nothing. I think that with this center the whole of Tbilisi will come alive. It will be a tourist destination, people will fly from different places just to see this area. That will be beneficial in every respect. This is the biggest mall not only in the country but also in the region. This project in is worth over one hundred million USD and we have acquired additional land around it to allow us to continue building as needed. We’ll continue to reinvest in this place. Three thousand people are employed here at present and in the near future we’ll be creating even more employment as we generate more demand. Every retailer that invests in this will expand together with us.

I think we will be a good example of what can be done. We are very impressed with the Georgian government for supporting us so professionally.

Q: How will you manage to compete with the other shopping mall (Tbilisi Mall? Is East Point truly so unique?

A: Firstly, the only modern shopping mall (Tbilisi Mall) is in Digomi and so we are accommodating different districts. Secondly, what we have here is something nobody has today. Even after years it will still be incomparable. A combination of shopping and fashion is just here. Our IMAX is unique. Carrefour is going to be the largest supermarket and it is also will reflect on our image. The cinema is the largest in the city… everything is unique. Our growth depends on the growth of Georgian economy in general. The better the economy does, the better we will do. Countries neighboring Georgia don’t have a good economy, yet such centers seems to function very well. Nobody can predict the future but this is a modern city and more retail opportunities are appearing weekly.

The biggest difficulty from the beginning was to make people believe in what we were saying we’d do. There were so many failed projects here- including several big developments, some of whom had promised but then failed to deliver on their promises. We faced a lot of skepticism but we have done what we promised.

Meri Taliashvili

17 September 2015 20:54