Ayman Adly /Staff Reporter
While a considerable number of shop operators at Al Furjan (neighbourhood) markets see their business growing, others are struggling to meet the basic operation costs, it is learnt.
Though the monthly rent of QR6,000 per shop is considered highly competitive for most areas in Doha, the operators of such shops need to pay other costs such as the salaries of staff and the services and utilities bills.
Some areas, for instance Al-Thumama, have seen a growing footfall, especially for groceries, meat shops, vegetable and fruit shops as well as eateries. Barber shops and laundries are also reportedly doing well.
When asked about the concerns of those struggling to continue operations, especially regarding the payment of the monthly rent, sources at the Ministry of Economy and Commerce (MEC) stressed that the issue of rent was outside the jurisdiction of the MEC, as it is controlled by another participating entity.
The other entities that have taken part in implementing the Al Furjan project are the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning, Qatar Chamber and Qatar Development Bank.
Residents of the areas where Al Furjan markets are located, praised the government initiative and highlighted the easy access that the markets provide for them to buy some of their daily requirements, such as bread, milk and other grocery items as well as medicines.
Regarding the shops that sell electronic goods, home appliances, accessories and clothes, a good number of residents said they preferred to buy these items from the major outlets and malls as they offer more options and better prices.
About women's beauty salons and tailoring shops, some customers pointed out they preferred to stick to the regular outlets that they had been patronising due to the confidence in their skills.
The operators of such outlets at Al Furjan markets also admitted that it would take some time to attract customers and gain their confidence and urged the support of the entities concerned to help them keep their business running until it starts to make profit.
The areas designated for Al Furjan markets include Al Qutaifiya, Rawdat al-Hamama, Rawdat Aqdim, Al Thumama, Al Mearad, Umm Al Seneem, Hazm Al Markhiya, Al Aab and Jarayan Nujaimah. Most of the operators of newly opened shops at areas within Doha pointed out that they were hopeful that their business would grow steadily as the residents in such areas got used to their presence and the relevance of their existence. Yet, those located on the outskirts of Doha, particularly in areas with less population, said that they were struggling to keep their shutters open but would run the business as long as possible in the hope that things would improve in the near future.
The Al Furjan project aims to have 44 markets at the designated areas with a total of 645 shops covering 28 basic commercial activities that cover the main needs of the inhabitants of the neighborhood for consumer goods and services.
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