Vendors operating outside of the Cheapside Public Market says sales are slow, especially early in the week.
A combination of environmental issues, a lack of local produce and perceived smaller crowds in Bridgetown have left many of them struggling.
One vendor, Calvin, who preferred not to give his last name, explained that even with the COVID-19 mandates gone, sales remained slow. He added that with the Christmas season approaching he hoped to see a gradual return to normalcy.
“Sales in Bridgetown don’t be like before; one time you coulda shut your eyes and make a sale. I can’t say exactly what it could be, I don’t know if the people more going to the supermarkets or just shopping out of Bridgetown, but you don’t see the people like before,” he said.
Afua Morson, who shared a similar story, said that customers often preferred to purchase items from the vendors outside of the market building since it was more convenient for them as they made their way to the nearby bus terminal. However, the sales she made were no longer consistent.
She added that environmental issues outside the market also made selling difficult. The current rainy weather, Morson explained, made keeping produce outside a tenuous situation and trash in the surroundings deterred some people from stopping.
“Most people come out on the Friday and Saturday. You can see a lot of pallets and stuff on the outside and when rain falls we have to run around and pack up everything from the pallets to the food that we can’t get wet. Sometimes some of us gotta carry home our food. Sometimes I work right here and I only make $50. Yesterday I worked right here [outside] and only made $100,” she explained.
Despite the struggle Morson said that she understood that people might not have been able to afford produce at the current costs. She too was hopeful sales would pick up as the holidays approached.
“This is all we can do for the moment, we just pray and hope that we can pick up some more sales for the Christmas holiday,” she said.
The Barbados Agricultural Society has been keeping an eye on the availability of fruits and vegetables and had earlier warned of possible shortages after persistent rain resulted in major losses for farmers in the Spring Hall Land lease. (JK)