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SMALL BUSINESSES OFFER SERVICES AT HOME TO BEAT ECONOMIC SLOWDOWN.

Many small businesses in Oman have found a novel way to beat the economic blues. Rather than waiting for the customers to arrive, they are going to the customers to get the business going.

Sunitha K, who used to run salons in Ruwi, said, 'Economic downturn has hit many small businesses hard. Earlier, lack of customers forced me to close a men's salon. Now, I have closed the women's parlour too. The income from the women's parlour was barely enough to cover the costs. I had to send my employees back to cut costs.

'Since my customer base was strong, I get calls for home service now. I am available on call. Customers know my work. I have reduced price for various services so customers are happy with that.' Echoing the same sentiment, another beauty salon employee said, 'We have the skills and people need our services. I have been offering home services for a while now. Customers are reluctant to come to the parlour due to high rates. In these troubled time, we struggle to pay the municipal fees. So, I have shut my parlour. I am yet to find a buyer for the shop. My customers include both citizens and residents.'

Even the owners of electronic goods and mobile repair shops are feeling the heat. Raghu S, who runs an electronic goods repair shop in Ruwi, said, 'When I opened my AC, TV and fridge repairs shop many years ago, there was hardly any competition. The business was lucrative in those days. Economic boom in the later years saw opening of many such shops. Unfortunately, many in the sector lost their jobs in the last few years and left the country for good. I have closed my shop too, but offer on-call repair services at homes. When I get more work and if I am busy I outsource it.'

An owner of a tailor shop on Rex Road near Ruwi, said that Eid is the busiest time of the year and he can't afford to have his sewing machines break down. Earlier, when machines had to be repaired they had to be sent to the technician's shop. However, now things are different.

'I can't afford to give a single sewing machine for repair for even for a day as we have to work to meet deadlines. I call the technician over to the shop to repair the machine even if it costs more and they come as they need work desperately.'

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Publication:Muscat Daily (Muscat, Oman)
Date:Jul 20, 2019
Words:470
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