Simon Wachira: From A Village Hawker To Owning Kilele Mall, Nokras Hotel And Magunas Supermarket 

Simon Wachira is the owner of the newly opened Kilele Mall in Kenol, Murang’a. He is also the entrepreneur behind Magunas Supermarket which is among the leading retailers in the country. The tycoon owns Nokras Hotel in Murang’a and Nokras Riverine Hotel and Spa in Sagana. The devoted Christian, started his journey as a village hawker in the 1980s.

Here is his story as told by WoK.

Entrepreneurial Journey

Simon Wachira amassed wealth running into billions and still remained reclusive and humble. The businessman was born and raised in Kiburu village on the border of Nyeri and Kirinyaga counties before relocating to Murang’a county.

He started hawking in Makuyu market in the 1980s. He saved the profits from his hawking business which enabled him to establish a retail shop in Makuyu in 1990.

“The little I saved from my hawking helped establish a shop with a small loan. Let me tell you that you cannot expand any business without the back-up from friends you have invested along the way,” he told the Standard.

Magunas Supermarket

The retail shop picked up which led him to start Maguna-Andu Wholesalers where he would acquire goods from manufacturers on credit. His wholesale business went on to transition to  Magunas Supermarket. The first branch was located at Kwa Maji area now nicknamed Magunas stage, and he continued to grow his portfolio over the years.

Today, the giant retailer is competing for a share of the market with the likes of Naivas and Quickmatt. It has branches in different parts of Nyeri, Nairobi, Meru, Kitui and Kiambu counties.

The supermarket also delivers goods to their customers in Murang’a, Nyeri, Kirinyaga and Laikipia. It has created job opportunities to hundred of youths who work in different branches as wells as giving opportunities to local farmers and companies to sell their products at the various outlets in the ‘Buy Kenya Build Kenya’ initiative.

The Hotels

In 2012, Wachira made an ambitious decision to join the hospitality industry-establishing Nokras Hotel, a four-star facility in Murang’a. With spacious rooms fitted with modern amenities, the hotel ranks amongst the best in the County. The facility is located in a prime location behind the then Kenol Kobil Petrol Station next to Magunas supermarket along Murang’a – Makuyu road.

It’s a 3 minutes’ drive from Murang’a town and about two hours’ drive from Nairobi. After the hotel became a success, the tycoon established Nokras Riverine Hotel and Spa in Sagana. The hotel has 65 rooms, 29 cottages and conference halls that can host up to 1,000 people.

In 2019 the facility hosted guests mainly politicians attending the sixth Devolution Conference that was held in Kirinyaga County. The hotel has also been used by Utalii College to train its employees in the Mount Kenya region.

Kilele Mall

The tycoon is behind the newly opened Kilele Mall in Kenol, Murang’a County. The mall has a petrol station, supermarket, entertainment joint as some of their tenants. The facility hit the headlines after a Catholic priest was captured in a trending video seemingly blessing the new Quiver Lounge located in the mall.

However, the owner of the club Mr Peter Mbugua would later come out to clarify that it was not the nightspot initiative but a move by the mall owner Simon Wachira to have the whole mall dedicated to God. By virtue of Quiver lounge being on the premises, it was not an exception.

This is not something new to Simon Wachira as he is known to be a devoted Christian regularly attending the St. Joseph the Worker, Mumbi Catholic Church in Murang’a. In July 2020, the tycoon donated a truck full of foodstuffs to Bishop James Wainaina of the Catholic Diocese of Murang’a in order to be distributed to the needy people in the society.

James Mwangi, a member of Mumbi Catholic Church told Daily Nation that Wachira is an active man in church who rarely misses Sunday services.

“Unless he is out of town, he never misses church services. He is a down-to-earth man who participates in all church and community activities,” he said.