Silveritage Galleria along Jalan Raja Dr Nazrin Shah in Medan Gopeng was officially opened in January. Incidentally, how may Ipohites know about its existence?
Ipoh Echo visited the building and was impressed with its ambience and lay out. It was once an out of the way bus terminal that city folks love to loathe. The newly renovated building, under the ambit of the Perak State Development Corporation (PKNP), looks people-friendly with plenty of room for maneuvering.
However, it seems a waste as feedback from visitors and traders is not too encouraging. When Echo visited the building around 10am one day last week, it was deserted. Most of the parking lots were empty. Morning was definitely not the ideal time for business. Most of the shops on the first floor were closed. A feeling of despondency was in the air.
During the visit, few traders recounted their frustrations with the management for forcing upon them what they considered as improper.
This frustration stems from the PKNP forcing them to evacuate their shops in Megoplex, after which PKNP failed to advertise and market Silveritage.
They have been inconvenienced far too long, as the lack of publicity has caused them to lose customers, and with that, the money that feeds their families.
According to Samira Muhd Azmi, 37, her retailing business has not seen any profit since January.
“Imagine, I don’t make anything the past seven months. I just make enough to pay the RM1,500-monthly rental.
“PKNP must do something to help us. We’ve other commitments such as staff’s salary,” said Samira, who has been operating a sports attire and accessories business for almost 15 years now.
Samira was among the many traders who received notices from PKNP to vacate Megoplex, the shopping mall down the road, last year. She was told to move to Silveritage. Without her old customers, it would be difficult to make ends meet.
“The current situation forced me to find an alternate platform. I advertised on the internet. It’s like starting business all over again,” she told Ipoh Echo.
Another trader, Norliana Juwanda, 30, said she only received two customers on an average on weekdays but none on weekends.
“We need a viable marketing strategy from the management. They asked us to move here but they didn’t do anything in terms of promotion. Many people are in the dark about this place.
“More promotional programmes need to be held here to publicise the place. There’s no official launching since January,” said Norliana, adding that the rental rates are much higher than Megoplex.
“The rental here is RM1,500, while in Megoplex, it’s only RM900 and business there was much better,” she complained.
She added that separated section is the problem. Food is on the ground while other businesses are on the first floor. And the two are connected by a staircase.
“From my observation, the food court is well patronised but people normally leave once they have finished their meals. They rarely go upstairs to browse because of the distance. If all are on the ground floor customers get a chance to wander around before and after eating,” said Norliana.
Food court tenant, Muhammad Khair Alimar Shidi, 26, proposed more family activities be held in order to attract visitors.
“This building looks quiet from the outside. People think it’s closed. They should put more banners, buntings and signboards to add colour to the drab building. It’ll attract people,” said Khair.
Comparing Silveritage and Megoplex, Khair felt tenants still prefer the latter.
“Our space here is limited and hot because it’s is an open food court. However, the sales here are twice the previous place, especially on weekends. The rental is comparatively cheaper.
“It’s good to be here but amenities need to be improved. One that is sorely lacking here is washing basins. The ones available are far away,” said Khair.