Struggles of a village shopkeeper

By Vatapuia Maiava and Sarafina Sanerivi ,

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IT’S NOT EASY RUNNING A SHOP IN THE VILLAGE: Magnus Wilson, 33, from the village of Eva.

IT’S NOT EASY RUNNING A SHOP IN THE VILLAGE: Magnus Wilson, 33, from the village of Eva.

Magnus Wilson, from the village of Eva, knows that trying to be a businessman in a village setting is no easy task.

Aged 33, Magnus runs a shop in his village and even though villagers have a mentality that shop owners do well in life, he explains why that’s not the case.

And on top of that, competition against the Chinese businessmen makes it a bit harder to turn a profit.

“To tell you the truth, the Chinese are really good with business,” Magnus admits to the Village Voice.

“One perk of having them around the business industry is that they make things a lot cheaper. But it’s bad for local businesses like my shop over here.

“In a time where the cost of living is getting higher and higher, people will look for the cheaper options because it’s affordable. That leaves local business men like me in the dust.”

And to compete against the big boys, Magnus’s strategy is to also make his items affordable for the villagers.

“My strategy as a businessman is to make items as affordable as possible,” he said.

“When you make things expensive then it will take longer for them to sell but if you make it cheaper then people will buy the items and your profit will come eventually. 

“It’s better to earn profit over time then to get no profit at all.”

Comparing businesses in the village and town, Magnus says that the town shop owners are lucky because they have access a lot more customers.

“One of the only good things about Apia is the fast businesses,

“The shops in town have a lot of customers so running a store business there is much better than here. It’s very slow out here.”

Aside from the struggles of the village shop owner, Magnus says that life is very peaceful for him in Eva.

“Life in my village is simple,” he said.

“I think the only issues are the ones faced by all families around Samoa. The only difference with the life in the village and life in Apia is the land that’s available for the families.

“Those in town areas have little land and many of them have to pay lease. For us out here we just enjoy our land with little extra expenses going towards it.

“Another difference is that those in the town areas have to pay a lot of bills. Those are the only differences I can think of.”

And with the simplicity of a village setting, living off the land is all they need.

“For many families out here, the only way we can take care of those we love is through our plantation,” Magnus said.

“People in the villages live on banana plantations, taro plantations and livestock. You will be surprised with how much farming helps a family out; especially during family functions (fa’alavelave).

“We go by that saying ‘if you don’t work then you won’t eat’.”

© Samoa Observer 2016

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