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Vendors want market renovated

Vendors at the Savalalo flea market have appealed to the authorities to renovate the market to make it safe for both sellers and their customers.

The state of the market could make it dangerous for vendors and the market’s visitors, especially during bad weather, they claimed in separate interviews with Samoa Observer.

Jacob Pesamino of Papaloloa said parts of the market are dirty and unsafe for both customers and visitors, and it is time for the Government to support small businesses like theirs who contribute to the economy.

“The market is dangerous because of the structure, some parts of the structure are old and flimsy. The poles are slanted and the tarpaulin is old so it lets in rain sometimes,” he said.

Another vendor, who did not want to be identified, said the area has a long history of experiencing flooding.

"Yes, when it rains, it is definitely an issue," he said.

Other vendors said they are thankful that there were no cyclones this season, as they know that their stalls would not have been able to withstand the force of strong winds. 

A businessman, Fiumalosi Fereti of Vaitele Uta, also agreed for Government to help fix up the marketplace. 

“We pay money to the Government for rent and our licenses so the least they could do is help us in getting a better business environment for this year,” he said.

The market currently comes under the administration of the Samoa Land Corporation and they are yet to respond to questions sent by this newspaper, in relation to the concerns expressed by the vendors. 

The declaration of the measles outbreak in October last year and the state of emergency that followed has had a major impact on the earnings of the vendors. 

Speaking in separate interviews with this newspaper towards the end of last year, they said the festive season and new year were normally very busy periods for them, but the outbreak resulted in them getting less customers.

“It has been very slow during those times, but it’s been good to see there are many people coming back,” said one vendor.

The market is always on a lot of tourists’ bucket list and been an attraction for visitors and Apia residents alike for over 60 years. This month marks four years since a fire burnt down most parts of the market, only to be rebuilt to what it is today. 

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