Calgary

New Asian-inspired outdoor shopping mall opens in northeast Calgary

Stores are now open in a new open-air retail centre in northeast Calgary that’s adding more ethnic shopping and food options to that part of the city.

Savanna Bazaar is modelled on Asian and Middle Eastern outdoor markets

Asian Food Centre is the main anchor store at the Savanna Bazaar mall in Saddle Ridge. (Dan McGarvey/CBC)

Stores are now open for business in a new outdoor retail centre in northeast Calgary that's adding more ethnic shopping and food options to that part of the city.

Savanna Bazaar is a 92,000-square-foot mall in the new community of Savanna in Saddle Ridge.

The mall already made headlines after hundreds of shoppers overwhelmed an opening event last week for the mall's anchor store, Asian Food Centre.

Take a walk through Calgary's new Savanna Bazaar open-air mall

2 years ago
Duration 1:29
There is a new shopping centre in the city's northeast that is offering Calgarians some new food options.

The store had to close for the day and police had to clear crowds after concerns around social distancing and safety.

Royop Development Corporation, the company behind the project, says Savanna Bazaar is modelled on traditional bazaars and markets common in Asia and the Middle East.

Maanjit Singh Banwait is the owner of Asian Food Centre. The store caters to many cultures, selling groceries, kitchen wares and other merchandise. (Dan McGarvey/CBC)

It's using a business model that's becoming more common: Businesses buy their own retail spaces, or retail condominiums, instead of renting from the developer.

"It's our first location in Calgary," said Major Natt, president of Asian Food Centre.

"We've been running successfully in Toronto for the last 24 years. It's a new community and there's so many Punjabi and Asians here, that's why we chose Savanna Bazaar," said Natt.

Natt says the produce they sell caters to all Canadians, not just South Asian communities.

"This is the biggest store. I hope we'll do good for everyone in this area," said Maanjit Singh Banwait, owner of Asian Food Centre.

A decorative arch at Savanna Bazaar is part of the mall's Asian theme. (Dan McGarvey/CBC)

"This is for every single Canadian, and we have every kind of merchandise, produce, a bakery and a kitchen for everybody," said Banwait.

The area will be home to new condos, medical services, a big grocery store, restaurants and commercial space, as well as a future LRT station.

"Everybody is open now," said Bharat Rana, owner of the Delhi Express restaurant. "People have a one-stop shop for everything here."

Rana says opening a business during the pandemic is tricky and his focus is on safety.

"We're trying to do more curbside pickup so everyone is safe. Please stay safe, socially distance and try to avoid contact."

Bharat Rana, owner of Delhi Express, stands with partner Vinod Prasad and Chef Ankur Panwar at his new Savanna Bazaar location. He has another restaurant in Chestermere but liked the location of the new mall for a second restaurant. (Dan McGarvey/CBC)

"It looks like a very good bazaar, like an Indian bazaar, and it will probably be very successful," said customer Sunil Khanduja.

"It feels like Punjab. We have doctors' offices, pharmacy, beauty parlour, boutique and restaurants. The foods are so delicious," said Geeta Khanduja.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dan McGarvey

Journalist

Dan McGarvey is a mobile journalist focused on filing stories remotely for CBC Calgary’s web, radio, TV and social media platforms, using only an iPhone and mobile tech. His work is used by mobile journalism (mojo) trainers and educators around the world. Dan is focused on sharing stories from under-reported communities and groups in Calgary and southern Alberta. You can email story ideas and tips to Dan at Dan.Mcgarvey@cbc.ca.

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