When you’ve been in the music industry as long as I have the chances of becoming jaded increase exponentially! That said don’t get me wrong. I still love what I do and still learn something new and exciting every day. As they say it’s what floats my boat! And my boat turned into a luxury ocean liner at the opening day of the Mall of Africa. The Woolworths store there is truly world class and our sound system and music management system is the same. Yes, I am a very proud CEO!

The quality of this store is due largely to the vision of the Woolworths design team under Errol Solomon and Nick Criticos. For us the brief was to find a speaker that not only provided a great sound but also matched the look of the beams installed throughout the store. With the assistance of suppliers, we found exactly the perfect solution in the TOA F1000BT speaker and the DSPPA DSP6061B speaker. Driven by TOA and Bosch power amps and mixer amplifiers and controlled by Giada Media Players, this system provides high quality sound throughout the whole store.

As is usual there are separate playlist for the 3 main merchandising areas of the store, fashion and textiles, food market and café. The tunes are specially chosen to reflect the brand and we believe that the Woolworths sound is a unique experience designed to keep shoppers and staff in a happy and positive frame of mind.

The quality of this sound allows the system to be driven at quite high levels of volume which creates a real vibe in the environments.

By virtue of the white noise created by the cooling fans on refrigeration units it is paramount that music levels in the Food Market need to be adjusted to compensate. This we have achieved.

The concept of background music is a thing of the past. Today’s shopping space demands a more theatrical approach. Industrial theatre is a more appropriate concept to develop than in the previous generation of stores. Woolworths Mall of Africa buys into this in a very big way. There are different “stories” and themes that now abound. Everything is light and airy and displays are dramatic focussed to draw the customer’s eye and engage with them. And the music choice compliments this buzz.

All of these aspects have been successfully achieved in this store. It’s a delight, an experience, an extravaganza, a shopper’s paradise and a pleasure to walk around and enjoy.

Frankly when I saw the state of the Mall on the Tuesday before its official opening I thought it would never be ready by deadline. The only store that looked as if it might get there was Woolies. However, working full shifts for a straight 48 hours saw the finishing touches completed just in time. Then 97,000 Gautengalings descend on day 1 and 100,000 on day 2. All involved in getting ready for the big push on opening day breathed a sigh of relief and the verdict from all was “This is a winner!”

It is reputed to be the largest single phase shopping precinct under one roof in Africa and the Woolworths is the largest store in the group. Love it!  Congrats to all!!

Mike and the FDM team.

About the author: Dalene Haugh