Most people are accustomed to ordering food, clothing, and electronic gadgets online. However, as COVID-19 forced businesses and entrepreneurs to adopt innovative and creative ideas to stay afloat, one fireworks provider employed a similar online service and introduced home delivery and curbside pick-up for his products.
Managing Director of FireOne Fireworks Ltd Andre Abraham said they had established an online webpage to encourage customers to pre-order their items ahead of the annual Boxing Day Sale.
He said, “Because of COVID-19 concerns, we could not have too many customers inside the store so that campaign started two days ago, and they would have gotten the same benefits as if they had physically come to the sale where you buy one and get one free.”
Saturday’s sale began at 9 am and ended around midnight.
Admitting customers were spending more cautiously, Abraham said, “They are looking to spread their money and want value for it.”
Indicating he was satisfied with sales dating back to Divali, Abraham said he was expecting a good new year.
“A lot of people are celebrating at home. We do not really have a choice this year and they want to make the most of it. They are celebrating from their backyard or park and there are a lot more smaller celebrations taking place instead of these big events. Everyone wants to be in their own space and it is something the kids love. People want to feel a little bit of positivity and hope.”
Abraham said while the lack of US currency remained a major concern for them, income streams from regional ventures had also dried up due to events being cancelled and postponed because of the virus.
However, he said, “After the buss is the bang, so we are actually using the down-time to retool our business, re-engineer and look for new prospects.”
Claiming a lot of work has been going on behind the scenes in anticipation of the return to normalcy, Abraham said they had been fortunate not to have to reduce their 200-employee workforce.
Standing alongside her truck which had been loaded with approximately $28,000 worth of fireworks for December 31, a Diego Martin woman who has been taking advantage of the annual Boxing Day Sale for more than five years said she had no problems coming out to shop for the items which is now part of their family tradition to welcome the new year.
The young lady, who did not want to give her name, said they had been part of the crowd waiting outside the warehouse in Macoya from 9 am.
After calculating how much they had spent, the young lady smiled behind her mask after being told she could shop for some more fireworks as the allocated budget had not yet been exhausted.
Indicating the fireworks were for personal use only, the woman said, “The sales looked like it was good so far. I thought it would have been more packed than this, but it was normal. We got in pretty quick and got out just as quickly.” She believed people might have been hesitant to come out because of the COVID-19 restrictions.
A middle-aged woman from San Juan said members of her immediate and extended family had each contributed $500 to the trolley of fireworks her husband was off-loading. Admitting they had been not been spending on luxury items during the past couple of months, she said this was the one “usual thing” her family looked forward to as they welcomed the new year.
Wazim Mohammed, of Charlieville, purchased some lanterns for a function his family is hosting today. He described the service as quick and stress-free.
A Port-of-Spain father along with his two sons said although he has been consciously watching his pennies, “At the end of the day, this is for the kids and in the spirit of the season. I couldn’t not do it.” He estimated spending close to $8,000.
Meanwhile, at Mode Alive in Valsayn, CEO Gary Aboud said the public had turned out seeking bargains.
Although the store was not crowded, there was a constant stream of customers from the time they opened at 9 am until they closed at 5 pm. Aboud said the annual sale was about giving back to loyal customers.
He urged, “Never give up. The more difficult an economy, the more creative we must become and more conscious to find new opportunities.”