BY JOAN BAILEY
Papindo Group has opened a K23 million three-storey shop in Maprik, East Sepik Province, on Monday.
The new shop aptly named Vanilla Haus has been testament to the growth of Maprik as a district and a business hub in the Sepik region, partly fueled by the vanilla boom at the moment.
Papindo Trading managing director Sir Soekandar Tjandra and ESP provincial administrator Dr Clement Malau were on hand to cut the ribbon to open the new shopping centre for business witnessed by more than 800 people.
The new mall has a department store, supermarket, kai bar, and vanilla buying depot.
It took two years for the construction and after the opening the first floor is now open for business providing jobs for more than 300 workers while the second and third floors will be opened once final works are completed.
Sir Soekandar said Papindo has a humble history beginning in Lae with its first shop built in 1974 and expanded nationwide.
The Maprik shop brings Papindo shops to 45 around the country.
Sir Soekandar said Wewak has a shop that serves its customers in the province but it is more important to bring it to the people’s doorstep in light of issues faced by those travelling the Sepik Highway.
“Maprik is a suitable location so we build a three storey shopping mall for our faithfully customers to shop conveniently and return home as many times, they are robbed of their money and other valuable items along the Sepik Highway when travelling to Wewak,” Sir Soekandar said.
He said Maprik is home to vanilla farming and many Papindo customers are vanilla farmers so the new shop’s name says it all.
A happy vanilla farmer Brian Duwaik from Maprik said Papindo Trading has understood the needs of customers by opening a bigger shop for them.
Mr Duwaik said previously farmers travelled long distances from their villages to Wewak and many times were victims of armed robbery so the new shop will prevent customers from taking risky trips.
Dr Malau congratulated Sir Soekandar for the achievement adding that the new Vanilla Haus is built from vanilla income from the people.
Dr Malau said vanilla cash crop has enabled business houses to expand so focus of the province will now be on the agriculture sector.