Retailers hang in through light Christmas sales

By Bethel Peato Ale 22 December 2021, 9:38PM

Even though small business owners are struggling to make a living due to a lack of customers and the challenges of doing business amid the COVID-19 downturn, they are still expressing gratitude for the profits they do turn this Christmas season.

While the Christmas shopping season is in full swing, many retailers have reported the border restrictions which have restricted Samoans overseas and tourists from visiting the country have had a pronounced effect on their bottom lines.

A 33-year-old businessman, Isaia Vaega and his spouse Milo Vaega. from the villages of Lepea and Mulinuu, are the owners of Milani’s Corner, a small clothing tent and gift shop currently operating at the Government’s Christmas Market located at the Sogi Reserve say that business this year has been lean. 

In an interview on Wednesday, the couple says that business has been hard due to the delayed shipment of goods from their Australian suppliers caused by COVID-19 restrictions and a lack customers compared to previous years.

“This year is different as the effects of the pandemic are taking full effect on the world and disrupting businesses and the economy due to supply-chain complications because of state of emergency restrictions," he said.

“The clothing items and products we’re selling today are from last month’s stock, but we’re currently awaiting the arrival of new stock that was due to arrive two weeks ago.

“However, we’re glad that we are getting a few customers rather than having none at all. 

"Hopefully in the next couple of days through New Years we’ll see a lot more customers and people looking to purchase a gift for their loved ones."

Another couple, who own Mo’s BBQ and Garage Sale, Glodynn Schwalger and William Schwalger from Aleisa, say that they are also experiencing slow sales.

“This year is a far cry from previous Christmas markets, as before during this time of year; Apia was bustling with people doing last minute shopping," Mr. Schwalger said.

"But as you can see right now, it’s a very different story.

“Nevertheless, we are still keeping the faith and staying hopeful that in the next few days we’ll get to see an increase in the number of customers coming in."

Mr. and Mrs. Schwalger have also teamed up with farmers and local agriculturists’ from rural villages around the country. 

"We provide them a platform to sell their produce," he said.

“We’re spreading the Christmas spirit of giving through helping our farmers and growers by providing a base where they could sell their crop.




By Bethel Peato Ale 22 December 2021, 9:38PM

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