In Summary
  • Naivas was originally a small shop in Rongai, Nakuru
  • Jack and Jill Supermarket stood as an interesting remnant of Nairobi’s colourful history

TUSKYS

Now a massive retail chain with a “supermarket at every corner”, Tuskys traces its roots to a small grocery shop or duka in Rongai, Nakuru, started in the 1970s.

When the wholesale shop that supplied the duka closed, the owners of the grocery bought it and merged the businesses into a store and called it Magic Superstore.

This eventually spawned a supermarket on Mfangano Street in Nairobi. The supermarket adopted the name of the nearby Tusker Bus Stage and rebranded to become Tusker Magic. It eventually dropped the “Magic” part of the name and, in the fashion of the day, adopted the “mattresses” tag.

In its last major rebranding, Tusker Mattresses became Tuskys. A small supermarket called Eastleigh Mattresses now occupies the original site in Nairobi.

STAGE MATT

Stage Matt also has its roots in Nakuru. Its modern name is an amalgamation of “Stage Mattresses”, which was coined due to its proximity to the Nakuru main bus stop, and the popularity of the mattresses tag.

GILANIS

Any mention of Gilanis is bound to evoke nostalgia among some Nairobi residents. Before the modern supermarket chains moved to dominate Nairobi’s retail industry, Gilanis was one of the few supermarket chains.

It also has its roots in Nakuru.

NAKUMATT

Nakumatt is one of Kenya’s big retail chains. Its predecessor, Nakuru Mattresses, was founded by Has Hashmuk Shah. He employed his brother, Magnalal Shah, after the latter’s clothing store collapsed under a load of debts. Magnalal, with the help of his sons, Vimal and Atul, eventually paid off his debts and bought off the corner retail shop from Hashmuk.

From a 10-square foot emporium grew what is now known as Nakumatt Holdings Limited. Its name was an amalgamation of “Nakuru Mattresses”. It has 30 stores in Kenya, three in Uganda and Rwanda, and one in Tanzania, with plans to set up four more.

A Nakumatt store, Nakumatt Downtown, burnt down on January 28, 2009, killing more than 20 people.

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