The $4.5million S.B Khan Mall at Jaduram Street in Labasa opened yesterday.
The first three storey mall to have a sensor escalator in the Northern Division was officially opened by the Islamic scholar and barrister in the England and Wales High Court, Sheikh Zain-ul-Aqtab Siddiqi.
Mr Siddiqi said the mall was an icon and statement of a hardworking man, Bashir Khan, who chosen to invest in his own motherland.
“To have your own people invest their resources, time and energy in the motherland is a good testimony and an encouragement to the youngsters,” Mr Siddiqi said.
“I heard a lot about Fiji and it is a beautiful country and I would like to urge young people to invest in your motherland.”
Mr Khan, 69, originally from Korotari, Labasa said he felt happy to see that after one year of planning and construction, the mall was officially opened to the people of the Babasiga Town.
“The mall has 36 shops and we had invested around $650,000 to install the sensor escalator,’ Mr Khan said.
“It is a modern style building that has accommodated various types of business.
“We built it in such a way to provide the much needed experience that the people of the North always dreamt of.
“This is the first three storey mall in Labasa and in the Northern Division to have so many shops and a sensor escalator.”
Mr Khan is a success story of a self-made man who started with nothing and working hard.
Mr Khan, the father of four children and 12 grandchildren says that he studied up till Year Three.
At the age of nine he left school and joined the canecutters to earn a living.
A few years later he found a job as a casual labourer with Bano Mining Company at Udu Point.
After saving some money he bought a tractor to till a small piece of land for cane.
He then bought a truck to go into contract with the Fiji Forest Industries for logging.
As his business flourished, Mr Khan opened a sawmill in 1980 by the name Vunimoli Sawmill Limited.
He now owns a property in Savusavu which is occupied by National Fire Authority.
He has two more properties in Labasa, one which is rented out by Morris Hedstorm supermarket.
The second property is at Vakamasuasua industrial subdivision.
Future Investment Plan
Mr Khan said if the mall business succeeds as planned, then he would build 40 hotel rooms and shops at the present two storey building at Vakamasuasua.
“My son and my wife have been very helpful in my business plan and if things goes well surely we will invest in the next project,” Mr Khan said.
This article was originally published by the Fiji Sun on December 13, 2016.
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