KOCHI:Nellikuzhy, a small village located along the Aluva-Munnar road near Kothamangalam houses around 400 furniture shops and an equal number of small-scale industries. But demonetisation dashed the hopes of the traders here with business almost coming to a stand still. Many were forced to shut down their shops.
However, Vishu and Easter season along with economy overcoming the currency crisis have given a fresh lease of life to the furniture industries of Nellikuzhy. “The business is now reviving and we are receiving bookings from dealers from across the state. During Vishu and Easter people buy new furniture. We are receiving orders from Kochi, Alappuzha, Idukki, Thrissur, Palakkad and almost from across the state. But once the monsoon arrives, business will go down again. However, the time period from Onam to Christmas will salvage our business,” Abu Vattapara, owner of a furniture shop in Nellikuzhy said.
Abu does not want to remember the gloomy demonetisation days. “We had to face big losses. Due to shortage of cash, the entire business came to a halt. We employ around 10 to 12 workers at our manufacturing unit. Some of them are migrant workers. During demonetisation period we had to lay off our staff. Even today, it has not fully recovered but compared to demonetisation days the situation has improved,” Abu said.
Aseez, the owner of a manufacturing unit, said furniture industry needs a big workforce, especially the migrant workers. “Some works like crafting and cutting of the wood is done by other state workers. They do things quickly. Our workshop have both local and other state workers,” he said.
Around 20 years ago, a person named Khader began furniture business in Nellikuzhy. Following his success, many others set up furniture business here.
“The availability of wood and location make Nellikuzhy a popular destination for furniture business. Since it is located along the Munnar road, many people visit the shops. Wood like teak and mangium are easily available here. The business here depends on orders from showrooms in other districts. Furniture is available here at almost half the price than at other places,” Majeed another trader said. However, maintaining the workforce and room rent have come up as major challenges before the traders. “For a 1,000 square feet shop the rent comes to around Rs 30,000 per month, same as that in Kochi city,” he said.