Aug 30, 2012|
What led you to open this grocery shop?
I decided to open this shop about a year-and-a-half ago so that I would also be able to make plastic flowers, my favorite hobby. My location on the corner of the street is ideal for business. I originally invested about a B100,000 in a freezer, some shelves and other necessities. My income just about covers my expenditure, but thankfully I’m able to make extra money from making plastic flowers.
How do the likes of 7-Eleven and Family Mart affect your business?
They have no effect on mine. My regular customers are generally my neighbors, friends and just people who happen to be passing through. My shop is conveniently located for locals who are comforted in the fact that they can just drop in whenever they need something.
What are your sales like for cigarettes and spirits?
Cigarettes are my best-selling products. I earn little profit from them, even though people constantly come in to buy them from morning until closing time. I have to make a new order almost every day.
How will the increased taxes on cigarettes and alcohol affect your business?
Well, the tax hikes might solve the government’s problems, but they will just make bigger ones for grocery shop owners like me. It may boost the economy in the long-run, but we will have to increase our prices which will no doubt affect our sales. At the same time I can understand the rationale behind the move: increasing the prices of cigarettes and spirits may reduce cases of pancreatic and lung cancer, as well as help the government to have enough money to administer the country. I guess we’ll see in a few weeks whether it results in people drinking and smoking less.
Are customers complaining about the increased prices?
Yes, some are a little shocked, but end up buying all the same. Others just walk away, perhaps thinking they can find the products cheaper elsewhere. But all grocery shops have fixed prices.
What are your views on drinking and smoking?
Personally, I’d be happy if people stopped smoking. I’d prefer not to sell cigarettes, but I’m obliged to. I’m not afraid of losing customers—I’m more worried about people’s health. Nowadays I see firsthand so many young people taking up smoking and drinking spirits. They don’t seem to realize that whenever they light up a cigarette, they’re also burning money and their lungs. I pity their parents. I am so lucky that my son doesn’t smoke.