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<<Profile Main
Shiv Aggarwal: Transforming The Indian Shopping Experience
Meet the man behind Global Mall, the largest (and arguably the cleanest) indoor Indian mall in North America.


A family trip to Toronto, Canada six years ago gave him the idea that was soon to develop into a 220,000 sq. ft community hub, the biggest of its kind in all of North America. When Shiv Aggarwal asked the front desk at the hotel he was staying at for directions to Gerrard Street, the Indian market, a man standing nearby said, “Oh that dirty street?”

A label that made the Atlanta based long time real estate guy smart with indignation. “We are not dirty. Ours is one of the most well-to-do communities here,” Aggarwal thought to himself “Our doctors and high-tech people are the best in the region. So instead of having a reputation for being ‘dirty’, we should be known as a top-notch community.”

The story was the same at the other cities he visited- Vancouver, New York, New Jersey… “All these places have outdoor markets that are far from clean. Our children who are born and raised here, are not going to visit these places if they are not ‘up to the standard’.”
At the formal opening of the Global Mela in May 2004. Seen are daughter Aarti (extreme left), son Vishal (2nd from left), Shiv Aggarwal (with mic in hand), wife Anushi (5th from left) and daughter Vandana (extreme right).

Aggarwal decided to plunge headlong into providing a cleaner, better, more enjoyable alternative to the Indian shopping experience. The fact that Atlanta has over 25,000 Indian families, and a market of a further 25,000 families from other South Asian, Middle Eastern and African countries, gave Aggarwal the conviction that his dream project would succeed.

He started scouting for the ideal property, and zeroed in on a health and fitness mall that was almost empty, because of its ideal location off I-85 at Jimmy Carter Boulevard, and close to the Spaghetti Junction.

Thus was born Global Mall, an indoor shopping mall and community hub. Spread over 220,000 sq ft. with over 800 parking spots, the mall today houses 30 different businesses at present ranging from stores, to music and dance schools, learning centers, offices, a banquet hall and an attractive food court that offers north Indian, south Indian, snacks, Indian Chinese and more. On the anvil are plans for an entertainment complex with a movie theatre and an auditorium that can seat 1000, and a restaurant. The Indian touch to the exterior was designed by Aggarwal himself.

Aggarwal places a premium on quality and prices, and aims at making Global Mall the Wal-Mart for Indian shopping. He gives his tenants exclusivity in their trade, and expects them to provide quality services at better prices in return. Today, the mall has tenants of 11 different nationalities, making it truly a global experience for patrons.

Aggarwal is a happy man. Within the 21/2 years of its existence, the traffic at the mall has increased from a few hundred a week to over 6000 a week. Pretty soon, he envisions traffic of 10,000 people a week.

But it is not the business part of the venture that interests Aggarwal. A firm believer in giving back to the community, he has opened the doors of the mall for social causes. He leases space at the mall free of charge for yoga sessions, monthly meetings of non-profit organizations, health camps, visa camps, beauty pageant rehearsals etc. “Global Mall has a two-in-one purpose,” he says. “A shopping mall and a community hub.”

It has been a long road in real estate for this Punjab native. Aggarwal started his US career in real estate in Baton Rouge, Lousiana after his company purchased apartment complexes there in 1982. When he sensed a decline in the real estate market there, he moved to Atlanta in 1986 and continued dealing in apartments, office spaces and shopping centers until Global Mall came into being in 2001. A quintessential real estate guy, Aggarwal says he will be involved in the field forever.

Providing him support in his dream venture is his wife of 20 years Anushi. “We met only once for an hour before we got married,” he says with a smile. But it is a bond that has grown stronger over the years. Anushi now manages Maya Creations, a boutique, and Legacy Jewels, an Indian jewelry store at the mall. There’s no mistaking the pride in his voice as he says, “I can say that Maya Creations is the best setup boutique for Indian clothes in the US. That’s because Anushi goes to India 2-3 times a year and meets with the manufacturers, detailing her requirements.”

The Aggarwals have three children. Daughters Aarti and Vandana are accomplished dancers. Aarti is at Georgia State University studying business, while younger daughter Vandana is at Geogia Tech and aspires to be a dentist. She is the winner of the Miss Teen India America 2003 crown. Son Vishal is in high school.

Aggarwal says it is his hope that his children will be good citizens, respectful of themselves and of others, and will give back to the community.

Deeply religious in his personal life, Aggarwal imbibes good thinking from all sources. He does yoga and is a nature freak; going on long walks everyday. 

He sees himself devote more time to social work in the future. “I also hope to improve myself over the years,” he says.

Suggestions for the improvement of Global Mall is what he asks of the community too. “Let us know what else we can do to better the community experience,” he says. 

“Life is never easy,” he philosophizes. “It is how we handle situations that matter.” With his dream venture now being recognized as a social meeting point and central hub for all things Indian, life must seem richly rewarding!


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