When you visit a place like Manaira Shopping Mall in downtown Joao Pessoa, Paraiba, Brazil, it’s easy to take having so many dining, shopping and entertainment options for granted. Indeed, most of the residents of this capital city of more than 800,000 know little or nothing about how the mall was developed. Those who are aware know the name of the man behind it: Roberto Santiago. When he was barely 30 years old, Santiago developed and constructed the mall that would eventually become the place to be in Joao Pessoa. In the years since, he’s worked tirelessly to improve upon it more and more.
When he was a young man, Roberto Santiago clearly had a knack for writing. He also happened to love it, so it came as no surprise that as the internet grew, Santiago started his own blog. He has maintained it for many years now and continues to add new entries to this day. Of course, Roberto Santiago isn’t known for being a blogger, really. He still loves writing, but he learned during college that he was more interested in making a name for himself as an entrepreneur. Besides, as a businessman, he’d have the opportunity to bring positive changes to the city that he loved so much.
Roberto Santiago knew that he’d need a strong educational background to succeed in the cutthroat world of business. He started by earning a bachelor’s degree from Pio X Marist College. From there, he attended University Center of Joao Pessoa, or UNIPE, where he earned a degree in business administration. Shortly thereafter, he took a job at Cafe Santa Rosa, which afforded him the opportunity to start saving as much of his earnings as he could. That became truer still when he invested in a cardboard box manufacturing firm and did very well with it.
Ultimately, Roberto Santiago purchased a large plot of prime commercial real estate directly in the heart of downtown Joao Pessoa. Ground broke on the Manaira Shopping Mall in 1987, and it opened its doors in 1989. Roberto Santiago was only 30 years old, but he had already made a name for himself. The mall would evolve into a prime dining, shopping and entertainment destination, with nearly 300 shops and restaurants, an 11-screen movie theater, a fitness center, a vast video game arcade, a food court and a rooftop concert hall that can accommodate up to 10,000 people. Roberto Santiago isn’t even 60 yet, so you can expect to see more from him in the future.