Wholesale shops in Eastleigh are just a KSh50 bus ride from Nairobi’s city centre. During the colonial era, the city was segmented into neighborhoods with divisions based on race and social status. Eastleigh’s dense population of Somalis and other Cushitic communities is as a result of the colonial power’s effort to define who lived where.
However, through the years, other communities have bought property, and set up shops in Eastleigh. One of the few features of the colonial era’s division of Eastleigh is its streets. They are known as avenues, and they traverse the suburb in a style akin to the structure of neighborhoods in the UK.
Eastleigh’s First Avenue is the main street; it is the main shopping hub. This wide two-way street connects Juja Road to Jogoo Road. Modern storey buildings with wide glass windows glinting in the sun mingle with older buildings that served as the main shopping malls before the real estate boom in the last few years.
Here’s a general guide to help you find supplies in Eastleigh shopping malls.
- Yare Plaza
Yare Plaza is one of the latest additions to the list of malls in Eastleigh. It flaunts one of the most stunning architecture. A couple of metres from the street, you can see eye catching curtains displayed in stalls in the basement of the complex. Yare Plaza is the first main mall as you approach First Avenue from the roundabout along General Waruingi Street.
- Hodan Complex Centre
It is further away from the main shopping malls, but still on First Avenue as you head towards Marie Stopes. Most of the shops in the basement and the first floor stock curtains and carpets.
- Bangkok Shopping Mall
It is situated next to the main stage for buses heading back to the city, on First Avenue. The building flaunts an iconic red brick exterior. Most of the stalls on the first floor deal in curtains and fabrics. On subsequent floors are stalls with a variety of elegant men’s wear. A soft khaki trouser goes for about Ksh800 wholesale (bargain like a pro).
- Olympic Shopping Centre
Men’s wear and shoes dominate the ground and first floors of this mall. You could also get handbags on the ground and first floors. However, the shops in the basement and to the side have a variety of undergarments at wholesale price.
- Prestige Shopping Mall
This mall is a haven for dealers in African prints, especially kitenge. There are shops with ready-made wrapper skirts and skater skirts with vibrant African prints. Readymade skirts retail for between KSh 150 and KSh 300. Alternatively, buy the fabrics if you would like to have them tailored elsewhere.
- Taisin Shopping Centre
Most traders on the ground floor sell undergarments. Nonetheless, inside, there’s an assortment of men’s wear from Khaki trousers to shirts. You will also find affordable ladies wear on the first floor with prices of skirts starting as low as KSh300 for many pieces. Ladies vest dresses go for about KSh400 to Ksh450 a piece.
From the basement to the top floor of this mall, items on sale range from men’s wear to ladies wear. It is one of the cheapest malls for wholesale purchases. Ladies wear, especially dresses, are on the basement stalls, ranging from KSh 350 to KSh 600. The minimum you can buy is three pieces though some traders say you can only buy a minimum of six pieces.
- Amal Plaza
Men’s wear, such as khaki trousers, starts from the basement all the way up. The wholesale price for a pair of jeans for men starts from KSh 500 and khaki trousers go for KSh 600 depending on the quality.
- Prime Shopping
This mall is next to Bangkok Shopping Mall. Most of the traders sell ladies wear. You can get dresses, denim blouses, denim trousers, official tops and blouses, skirts, jeggings, kimonos and ladies undergarments at wholesale prices. The minimum is mainly three pieces.
Unlike the other malls whose main occupants are Somali, Beijing has a large bantu population. Therefore, it is always open even during celebrations such as Idd. Beijing Mall is off First Avenue, along Fifth Street, which is under construction (October 2017). You walk into a decently sized corridor with mannequins displaying a variety of ladies wear, which is the main item in the mall. The prices of ladies dresses range from KSh300 to KSh400. Some traders restrict wholesale prices to a minimum of three pieces while others ask you to take even a piece per item.
Eastleigh Shopping Guide: Tips
- Wholesale shops in Eastleigh have a variety of quality of the same item. Therefore, a stall on the ground floor can sell a khaki trouser at KSh600 and you get the same item, in a different quality, at KSh800 on the second floor. Do not be fooled by the price; check the quality.
- Make a few rounds before you buy anything. There’s no price consensus among traders so the price may vary from one mall to the other.
- When asking about the price as a seller, always ask for the price and the minimum number of pieces. Some traders set the minimum at three pieces while others say a minimum of half a dozen (six pieces).
- Buy just a few items of each design. Buy three to six pieces of each so that you can clear the stock fast and come back just in time to get the latest shipment.
- Establish a relationship with several traders and the minimum pieces restriction will ebb away.
- The malls have several entrances and exits so you might get in one way and exit on some godforsaken backstreet.
How to get to Eastleigh Shopping Centre
Most buses from the city to Eastleigh park along Tom Mboya Street. There’s quite a variety of them. Look for bus number 4, 6 and 9. The main stages are outside Tuskys Imara, along Luthuli Avenue and opposite Khoja Bus Stage.
Matatus heading to Eastleigh from Nairobi approach First Avenue either from Pangani, through Juja Road, or from Ngara, through General Waruingi Street. Buses using General Waruingi Street drop passengers at the roundabout while the ones using Juja Road drop off passengers a short distance from the poorly drained Major Kinyanjui Street. Nevertheless, all buses will get you to Eastleigh’s First Avenue. The further you are dropped on First Avenue Street the better so you can explore more malls.
You could also board a Kariobangi bound bus from Gikomba and alight at Garissa stage along Eastleigh First Avenue.