KOCHI: Shanavaz Thameem, a small-time grocery owner at Karukkapilly in the city, has decided to shut his shop for the remainder of the lockdown. Not because the 40-year-old is running low on customers. Rather he is unable to manage the day-to-day activities of the shop because of the strict restrictions.
Amid a fear of losing the customer-base he has built up since the nationwide lockdown of 2020 by focusing on prompt door delivery of groceries and other food items at affordable rates, Thameem says it is tough to function with the stringent curbs. And he could not deliver groceries in time. The unusual circumstances have forced him to shut the business temporarily, when the demand for door delivery is at an all-time high.
He says a good amount of fruits and vegetables get damaged as shops are allowed to open only on alternate days. “We don’t have facilities to stock them like big stores. Above all, the six-hour restriction has upended the activities as trucks carrying fruits and vegetables arrive only around 10am and we have to deliver them before 3pm,” Thameem says.
By deciding to keep the shop shut, he is staring at a loss of Rs 50,000, he says. Thameem has sent WhatsApp messages to all his customers expressing his inability to conduct door-deliveries and apologising for not being able to deliver certain orders. “Often, staff have to return without delivering the order. Only when we reach a particular spot do we find that the area is a containment zone,” he says.
Kerala Vyapari Vyavasayi Ekopana Samithi district secretary A J Riyas says small-time owners are finding it difficult to operate because of triple lockdown restrictions. “These shops purchase items from big markets on a daily basis and deliver them to the customers the same day. The time restrictions have upset their operations,” he said.