Deserted shops at Barwa Village in Al Wakra. Kammutty VP
By Fazeena Saleem
DOHA: Many shopkeepers in Barwa Village in Al Wakra are using the shops as a back office or warehouse due to lack of business.
They complain that they get customers “very rarely” even three years after the shopping complex was opened.
Some claim that even people residing in the residential cum shopping complex don’t shop within and only some popular stores and restaurants attract customers.
The complex with 950 shops opened at the end of 2010 and rent for each shop in Barwa Village is QR10,700. Many shops were seen closed and few customers were in the Barwa Village yesterday afternoon.
“We are not any more using this as a retail shop, we keep the goods here and deliver when ever it’s required by customers or other shops we have in Doha,” said a building material shopkeeper.
Another shop owner selling curtains said, “We are here for eight months but use this as a back office because many people don’t come to shop here.”
There are some others also looking to convert their shops as warehouses.
“We are here for two years; business has not improved and can’t continue like this, so planning to use this as storage,” said a bookshop owner.
Others say that they are facing huge loses as they have no other option and can’t afford to close the business too.
“People who have several shops are taking alternative steps. Each month we bear around QR60,000 to pay the rent, salaries and other expenses,” said a hardware shop owner, looking for a suitable place to shift his business.
Some shopkeepers have left the complex and new tenets have moved in. Mowasalat bus service is available to Barwa Village from Al Wakra and Mesaieed. However the place remains unpopular.
“Shopkeepers come and go, some are kept closed even though they have been taken for rent. Majority of us have no business, people don’t come here, even if they come it’s only to the restaurants and some popular stores,” said a cosmetic shop owner who has shifted from Souq Falah. The Barwa Village last year held a huge business promotion through a shopping festival to attract customers into the complex.
However, shopkeepers say that the promotion attracted people but not customers.
“Many people came for that event but they didn’t become customers of Barwa Village. May be some of them go to few shops but not to every shop and bring business,” said a shop owner selling clothes.