When one thinks of Brazil, one thinks of festivals. Or soccer teams. Or teeming rainforests. Or gorgeous beaches. Or perhaps one of the world’s largest and most famous rivers. But shopping malls, admittedly are not on most people’s “Brazilian Must See And Do Lists”. But that’s probably because they’re not aware of the Roberto Santiago Manaria Shopping Mall.
This shopping complex is located in Joao Pessoa, a community already noted for its great food, beaches, nightlife, and stunning scenery. And while it has always boasted a variety of shopping opportunities, locals and tourists alike had commented in the past about the lack of calm, relaxed shopping opportunities for families. However, Santiago heard them.
Roberto Santiago was already well known in the area as an established businessman and creative entrepreneur. But the Manaria Shopping Mall would be his biggest project yet. It wouldn’t just offer shoppers hundreds of opportunities for dining and purchasing, but for entertainment as well, ranging from watching a movie to an evening of dancing. Entertainment venues here include a “cinema hall” with a dozen state-of-the-art theaters, a bowling alley, large electronic game arcades, a fitness center, nightclubs, and the rooftop Domus Hall concert area which has a seating capacity of 4,000 and can accommodate 10,000 standing patrons.
There are a variety of dining options at the Manaria Shopping Mall, including an area reserved for gourmet dining (the complex is especially noted for its Capital Steakhouse), in addition to a more traditional food court. Shopping opportunities here are of the high-end variety, and shops include brands by Versace, Tommy Hilfiger, Vera Wang, Ralph Lauren, Benetton, and Lacone, as well as local shops like Animale. The shopping complex has won both industry and consumer praise for the quality and variety of goods that it carries, ease of navigating the complex, and customer service within it.
Born in 1958, Santiago is a lifelong Joao Pessoa resident, who attended school here as an undergraduate at Marist Pius X College, then received a business administration degree from the University Center of Joao Pessoa. Santiago first caught the public’s attention as an award winning go-cart and motocross rider. He then worked in a variety of businesses in the Joao Pessoa area, with his most notable endeavor coming in the form of a business that produced functional and decorative cartons. In the 1980s, he decided to create a shopping experience in a part of the city that was then largely residential. Since its inception, the mall has undergone five expansions and has attracted a great deal of adjacent business, in the form of hotels, shops, and dining establishments, creating an area that locals refer to as “the shopping city”. Government officials credit the complex with boosting the visibility of and economic prosperity of Joao Pessoa, not a bad end to an experiment in safer, friendlier shopping for all who come here.
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