A market is a place where people gather to buy and sale commodities. In the past people used to have what was called market day(s) – it would be a particular day in a week or a month when people gathered at a particular place to trade. This practice is still functional especially in rural areas.
In more urban places like Kampala, the capital of Uganda, there are places designated to function as a market on a daily. The most famous one is St Balikuddembe Market, famously known as Owino Market. Others like Nakasero market, Nakawa market, Kalerwe market and others come to mind.
These markets provide all sorts of commodities – from all sorts of food stuffs, clothes, machinery to medicines. They have been serving people over the years – from before the supermarkets and groceries made their way into our lives. What you couldn’t get in the neighboring duka, a retail shop, you could get in the market, on market day.
These markets usually have all that you want, in one place. However because they are a one stop center for shopping they are characterized by poor customer care, congestion, theft and sale of fake products. They can sometimes be a menace to customers who are inconvenienced with all sorts of bad behavior.
The coming of groceries and supermarkets provided an alternative to customers who preferred to do their shopping with ease and in comfort. But as times evolve, real estate developers are coming up with specialized markets especially for bulky buyers. This is intended to cater for specialized buyers and sellers who wouldn’t want to mingle and jostle with customers looking for petty goods and services.
Haruna Enterprises of Haruna Sentongo has successful set out to build and set up special markets specifically addressing needs of a certain class of public and their specialized trade. Sitting on about two acres of land in Kisenyi opposite Lubiri SS gate, Segawa Market is one such market specializing in housing traders dealing in motor cars and cycles’ spare parts.
Segawa Market is a market of two buildings boosting of over 300 spacious shops and a parking lot measuring one acre. Because this is a market for people selling and buying spare parts, the expansive parking lot is used by authorized mechanics who attend to customer problems and needs.
These mechanics are affiliated to tenants occupying the shops. This has reduced on bad behaviors associated with mechanics in places Kiseka Market. These mechanics are vetted and trusted. Therefore customers can trust them too.
Unlike in the traditional markets, Sentongo is helping his tenants to grow their businesses by paying all utility bills (water, electricity and waste management). The property developer is also giving three months of rent for free at Segawa market. It means that the customer upon agreeing to rent space at Segawa market gets an extra free months exemption.
“This is intended to help them settle in at the market and stabilize their business,” Sentongo said. “We want to grow with our tenants and we know that rent can be a stumbling block for their business progress. We are giving them these free months to ease that burden. We want to be affordable so on top of the free three months, we pay our rent in shillings unlike other landlords in the city who charge in dollars,” he said.
Before Segawa market came into play, Sentongo had already set up Nakayiza Market also in Kisenyi – Mengo. Nakayiza Market specializes in trading agro produce products. “It is a market for farm produce and farmers or agribusiness. If you want any type of food come to Nakayiza Market. Traders go to all parts of Uganda to buy all types of food from farmers and bring it here at Nakayiza,” Sentongo revealed.
From Nakayiza, other traders buy the farm produce and sell it to other consumers. Some of these traders have milling machines which they use to process these foods to add value and preservation. “Government agencies, local and international NGOs and exporters come here to buy these agro products. So we have provided farmers a market to sell their agro products. We are promoting agribusiness,” he said.
Sentongo says they are doing this ‘to be the pacesetter in real estate services’ and ultimately ‘be the leading independent, regional & world-class real estate enterprise providing an integrated prime commercial offering, operating in key hubs across the region,’. From the way things are going, they are not so far away from achieving this.
“The future of Real Estates in Uganda is very bright considering the huge endowment of natural resources, the abundant pool of skilled work force and the enormous market potential the Country offers to investors. Haruna Enterprises is well poised to harness these opportunities with relentless drive and commitment it has taken to become the leading player in our various markets.” He explained.
Haruna Enterprises, the firm Sentongo uses to do his real estate work, has a number of other commercial properties in the city providing office space and other businesses. For example in Wandegeya, Sentongo has Haruna Towers and Haruna Shopping Mall in Ntinda.