Vendors report mixed fortunes ahead of Christmas

Observer writer

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

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With Christmas Day fast approaching, some vendors in Half-Way-Tree and Cross Roads, two of the capital city's busiest commercial hubs, are reporting mixed sales fortunes.

Sulliman Brown, who operates in Half-Way-Tree and describes himself as a fashion barber, told the Jamaica Observer yesterday that business has been extremely good so far.

Brown did not say how long he has been in business; however, he said this has been his best year and he thinks that people have been supporting him due to his creative barbering skills.

However, Mitsy Mais, a clothes vendor in Cross Roads, has not been as fortunate.

“Mi nuh see no Christmas yet,” she told the Observer. “The people them don't have no money. Them a wait on them bonus and me a wait on them to get the bonus. By that time, things should be better.”

Nail technician Keisha Picard and hairdresser Maxine Davis, who both operate from the 20/20 Salon in Half-Way-Tree, agreed.

“It could be much better. This year is no comparison to last year. I expected more clients than I have received thus far, but I am hoping that as the week progresses business will pick up,” said Picard .

Davis, too, said that sales have been very slow, especially in comparison to previous years. She believes that things may change as Christmas Day draws nigh. However, she believes it won't be anything major or different from the sales she normally receives every month-end.

Davis' colleague and new nail technician, Samoy Whittaker, was optimistic. “It's been okay so far,” she said. “Right now it kinda slow because you have to come outside and fish, but you know by next week we a go inna di shop 'cause upstairs a go full up, but it alright.”

Herbalist David Chen, who sells in Cross Roads Market, divulged that sales aren't really strong. “But because of what we do, we are very holistic; we are very natural, so people come to us in the Cross Roads Market for most of the natural stuff. It's average,” said Chen, whose products include herbs and peanut skin.

He believes, though, that sales will eventually increase as it gets closer to Christmas Day next Tuesday.

Robert Lemard, a shoe vendor in Cross Roads, said: “Last year this time, things did a turn. This year di sales are very low and the selling business get so widespread now. Yuh even find out seh most people go downtown go buy from the Chiney dem 'cause it cheaper. When we buy, we haffi mark up.”

Alvin Ashman, who makes his living by selling hats and belts in Half-Way-Tree, thinks that the reason for low sales this year is that people just do not have the money to spend. He laments that this Christmas is the worst he has experienced in all his years of selling.

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