Roberto Santiago: Starting From Bottom and Now at THE Top of Brazil’s Entrepreneurship

Roberto Santiago, the owner of the Manaira Shopping Mall, has a long and interesting entrepreneurial journey. Starting as an employee at Café Santa Rosa, the 58-year old prominent Brazilian businessman has seen it all over the last four decades or so. Café Santa Rosa was a décor manufacturing, which was operating in Santa Catarina, Brazil. While at the company, Santiago learned the art of making cartons from cardboard; this was a good stepping stone for him to jump into small entrepreneurship. He later quit the company and started making and selling cartons to business owners who needed them for packaging purposes.


Manaira Shopping


Through hard work and dedication, Roberto Santiago managed to grow his carton business until he got enough funds to invest in real estate. He bought several parcels of land, developing them, and selling. From the savings he made in this business, Santiago managed to develop Manaira Shopping Mall and opened it in 1989. At the time of opening, the mall had less than 100 stores but was sitting on an area of approximately on 12,000 square meters.


Manaira Expansions


With Santiago’s business prowess, it was just a matter of time before the Manaira mall was renovated and expanded. In 1993, he made the first investment towards the expansion of the mall. He hired Maria and Carmen Raquel Company to do all the architectural work, and by the time they were completing, the mall had been transformed into a unique sensation. Another significant expansion was to take place in 1996 and this time, two new offices- Lojas Riachuelo and Lojas Maia- were established. More expansions were still to come.

In 2002, Roberto Santiago was back with more investments and expansions. The third expansion included the addition of four anchor stores that sought to increase the shopping capacity in the mall. A couple of years later, the fourth expansion happened; this time, the number of floors in the shopping mall were increased from four to six. Three more expansions took place between 2005 and 2009 which saw the addition of the mall’s ground space by an extra 88,000 square meters, construction of more stores, and the launching of Domus Hall.


The Domus Hall


The Domus Hall is a sensation on its own. The hall has a sitting area that when full can host more than 14,000 adults. The hall sits on top of the Manaira Mall, and most people in Joao Pessoa prefer it for entertainment, exhibition, conferences, and concerts. The VIP section of the hall can host up to a minimum of 4000 people.


The Gournet


Fast forward to 2014; The Gournet was opened at the mall. This is the area where delicious cuisines and other delicacies are served to people visiting the mall. Roberto showed his innovativeness when he built this facility because he has since managed to tap into lots of lying potential in the region.