With numerous general malls making the Gurgaon skyline swankier, there also was a niche trend making inroads into the ‘City of Malls’. It was the invasion of theme-based malls.
However, the niche idea fell flat early. A mall on Sohna Road, which had initially been launched as a wedding specialty mall, ended up as a general mall. Such examples are numerous and the last man standing in this category is Gold Souk — The Gems and Jewellery Mall in Sushant Lok Phase-1.
“We had purchased the property way back in 2001. That’s when there was an official announcement about 10 malls coming up in Gurgaon,” recollected Ashish Gupta, joint managing director, Gold Souk Group.
The concept of theme malls was derived after intense market research that revealed that people were looking for variety, quality and a refined ambience.
The 1.8-lakh sqft mall had rightly sniffed out the demand of its prospective buyers and gave them what they wanted. The city’s only theme mall now has more than 100 stores spread across five levels.
“It was all about getting maximum regional representation from across the country. This worked well as the jewellery sector is highly unorganised and gets mostly intended customers,” added Gupta. For Gold Souk, an Ambience or an MGF Metropolitan was no competition. Their competition was with Chandni Chowk of Delhi and Zaveri Bazaar in Mumbai.
“The challenge was to make customers choose our mall over the archaic jewellery shops. This sector works merely on trust and we had to build one,” explained Gupta.
The other reason that made the mall work was Gurgaon developing into a migrant hub. With people from across the nation settling here for a living, need for regional taste and brands was inevitable. And Gold Souk gave them all of it under one roof.
“Any specialty mall needs patience. It has to be promoted in such a way that it is recognised for its specialty,” said Gupta.