JOHOR BARU: The Johor Indian Petty Traders and Small Businesses Association has organised a Deepavali bazaar in a mall for the first time this year to assist traders who are facing a challenging time getting customers amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Its president D. Ravindran said the bazaar was set up in the mall here in Skudai after the association’s application to have it outdoors in Tampoi was rejected by the local council.
“We wanted to have the bazaar to help traders who are finding it difficult to sell their wares because of the pandemic.
“We are glad to finally have a space for the bazaar and we hope this will benefit local traders, ” he said.
Ravindran said the 20 stalls at the bazaar started operating last week and would continue until Deepavali day on Nov 14.
“We have reserved some spots for single mothers and those who are facing financial difficulties.
“They only have to pay about 40% of the full fee, ” he said, adding that the bazaar was being handled by the association’s women’s bureau for the first time this year.
Among the traders at the Deepavali bazaar was S. Sumathi, 47, who sells murukku and Deepavali cookies.
She said sales had been encouraging despite the pandemic.
“I did not expect sales to be good this year because of the pandemic but to my surprise, I managed to sell a dozen jars of cookies and murukku within the first few days of the bazaar.
“Although I do not sell murukku and cookies online, some of the traders I supply the snacks to, use an online platform and I believe sales have been good for them too as they have been placing a lot of orders with me, ” she said.
She added that most of the visitors here were her regular customers, who had been buying murukku from her for the festival for years.
“I used to own a shop in Tampoi and sold tailor-made dresses but I have since stopped operating that business.
“Those who used to visit my tailoring shop know that I also make murukku and they have been reaching out to me to place their orders, ” she said.
Meanwhile, another trader, M. Sathiya, 40, who sells traditional Indian clothes, said despite smaller crowds, business started to improve after the first few days.
“Previously, families would come together to look for Deepavali clothes but this year, people had been coming alone and buying clothes for the whole family instead.
“Some of my customers will ask me to send photos of the clothes that I have in stock before coming here to buy them.
“They feel that it is safer to do so than physically surveying the choices out there, ” he said.
He added that while it felt different to have a Deepavali bazaar in a shopping centre instead of outdoors, it did not dampen the Deepavali spirit.
Did you find this article insightful?
100% readers found this article insightful