Motibhai Group 90th Anniversary: New airport shop complex

Motibhai’s executive director, Mahendra Patel (right) shows the late Mosese Qionibaravi some of the Fiji Foods Ltd products displayed in the square of the new airport duty-free shop. Looking on at left is company director Arvind Patel. Picture: FT FILE

Motibhai and Company Ltd’s new-look duty-free shopping complex at Nadi International Airport is being billed as the best and biggest in the southern hemisphere.

The two-floor shopping complex covers an area of 20,000 feet and was re-designed for $750,000. The company first became a duty-free concessionaire at Nadi International Airport in 1971 with a staff of 15.

Today it has a staff of 20. The executive director of Motibhai and Co Ltd, Mahendra Patel says the latest extension and renovations offered travellers a shopping experience unmatched in the Asia-Pacific region.

On the first floor, tall glass windows with stainless steel and brass bass frame the wall along with one entrance foyer and marble framed windows that flank the main doors to the shop, face the main transit lounge.

Both the ground floor and the first floor of the shop have supporting man-style pillars, coated in pale off white colouring, the same shade as that of the woollen carpets, accentuating the general duty-free display.

All the furniture and fittings in the duty-free shop are decked with glass showcases in stainless steel frames and fringed with fancy woodwork. Some of the showcases have marble sides. Motibhai and Co Ltd has adopted the “street concept” in setting up the showcases which allow customers the chance to move about more freely.

Mr Patel said it took about three weeks to have the entire complex completed.

Overseas companies were hired to design and construct the shop. Devenport Cambell and Partners did the designing and Decca Ltd of Japan did the actual construction.

A large section on the first floor houses the Fiji Souvenir and Handicraft Centre where everything Fiji-made is displayed.

The area shows a large Fijian bure with displayed items ranging from bula shirts to wood carvings. Items on the first floor include luggage, bags, purses and briefcases, toys, books, belts, ties and scarves, sporting goods and confections.

The ground floor displays a wide range of perfumes, cosmetics, jewellery, cameras, radios, electrical appliances like kettles, mixers and hair driers and liquor, wines, cigarettes and tobacco.

Motibhai and Company is an agent for Dunhill, Sterling Mesh, Pierre Cardin, Nina Ricci, Christian Dior, Gucci, Lanvin, Lancel and Yves Saint Laurent products.

It also is the sole agent for Akai, Sharp, Sony, Canon and Pentax cameras and radios.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Mosese Qionibaravi officially opened the new duty-free complex on August 30 1985.

This report was published in The Fiji Times on September 16, 1985.

More Stories