The Souq has off-season blues

Arts & Culture Business

Lower sales compared to previous years say, stall owners

The Souq which was supposed to be opened by 11:00 am was covered in tarpaulin and only a few vendors were found dusting their goods. Praveen, a shopkeeper said, “The majority of customers arrive in the evening after 4 p.m. and the business is slow in the morning, so the shopkeepers are in no rush to open the shop on time.”

Visitors like Datta Suryawanshi were disappointed that only a few stalls were open around 11 a.m. He had come to buy a housewarming gift but had to leave empty-handed because he did not like any of the wares.

The Souq at the Karnataka Chitrakala Parishad is supposed to start at 11 a.m. but it takes around 12 p.m. for most of the shops to set up their stall. The Souq is an Art, Craft, Handlooms and Lifestyle exhibition that began on Mar. 31 and will continue till Apr. 9.

Parimal, a jewellery stall owner said that he does not have a physical store and he only participates in exhibitions. He said, “This is a dry season and I cannot expect a lot of customers but the number of visitors is comparatively low this year.”

Priya, another vendor from Delhi, said that she has been participating in the exhibition for the last three years. She added, “The shop sales after COVID-19 went up and I made good profits last year but this year it was comparatively lower.”

Even the organizer of the event, Aftab of Grand Flea Market was disappointed with the customer turnout. He had arranged for more than 100 stalls in the market but in the last five days, they did not see many visitors. During the weekend, the number was still better than on the weekdays. Priya said that during the last weekend, the footfall was comparatively low because of the ongoing IPL match in Bengaluru.

With relatively little change in sales from last year, Ashok Kumar Das, a Madhubani artist is hopeful that the profits would increase as every business has its ups and downs. He points out that Madhubani Art has a relatively small market where only select individuals are interested in purchasing.

  • The exhibition saw vendors from across the country displaying their wares.
  • Visitors can choose between clothing, bed sheets, pottery and jewellery.
  • Many shops in The Souq remain closed until noon.
  • The Souq (market) is being held at the Karnataka Chitrakala Parishad from Mar. 31 till Apr. 9.