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Pavements net small shopkeepers millions dong a day   2011-03-23 - VnExpress

While enterprises have to struggle hard to get the profit of 10 percent for their investment deals, small shopkeepers on pavements can earn the profit. The pavements in the central area of Hanoi are considered the “goose that laid the golden eggs”.


The lemon teashops in the Cathedral area in the center of Hanoi are always full of customers who fully occupy the pavements. There are so many customers that sometimes they have to take seats on the road. Most of the visitors are young people, or students. The drinks that most of them choose are lemon tea, which is selling at VND8000 per glass. Customers can drink lemon tea with sunflower seeds or dried beef, priced at 5000-30,000 dong. Of course, the prices are exorbitant if compared with the prices at which the same products are sold at other shops in other areas.


The area has become so familiar and crowded that it is now called the “lemon tea cooperative”. The “cooperative” was formed up five years ago, when young people in Hanoi began having the habit of drinking lemon tea. The area near the Cathedral is just 100 square meters in size, but it can receive nearly thousand customers. Every day, the “cooperative” opens from 9 am to 10 pm.


Thanh Nam, a student, told VnExpress that he regularly comes to the teashop in his free time. “This is a kind of favorite drink for young people. Meanwhile, it is wonderful to enjoy lemon tea here, in a fresh atmosphere, where you can admire the ancient cathedral and watch people walking pass,” Nam said


The owner of a shop here revealed that thousands of customers come here every day. “I cannot count the number of customers. I just know that I sell several kilogrammes of lemon a day,” he said. However, he declined to reveal the actual profit he can earn every day.


Here on the golden land plot, the price of everything is exorbitant: a glass of lemon tea is selling at VND8000, a loaf of bread at VND20,000, and a product made of balloons at VND45,000.


Meanwhile, according to VnExpress, in order to make 100 lemon tea glasses, one has to spend 70,000 dong for 0.5 kilogramme of good tea, 46,000 dong for two kilos of sugar and 54,000 dong for three kilogrammes of lemon.


After deducting the expenses of 170,000 dong, shop owners will get the fat profit of 630,000 dong for 100 lemon tea glasses. As such, with thousands of glasses sold every day, the owners of the shops can easily pocket five million dong a day.


In Vietnam, a person with a monthly income of 10 million dong is considered a “high income earner”. As such, 10 million dong is equal to two days income of a teashop owner.


Vien, the woman who has been vending tea for many years in ancient streets in Hanoi, also said that she has been living well on the job. She said that the pavements of ancient streets in Hanoi can bring millions dong to vendors, because the customers here are plentiful and rich.


The woman related that the living standard of local residents is higher than that of residents in other residential quarters of the city. Therefore, it is more profitable to sell things on the pavements of ancient streets. A cup of yoghurt can be sold at 20,000 dong, a glass of squeezed oranges at 35,000 dong, a glass of apricot juice at 20,000 dong, while a glass of tea is no less than 15,000 dong.


Meanwhile, the input material prices are relatively low: a kilogramme of oranges, which can make 2-3 glasses of juice, is priced at 25,000 dong per kilogramme, while a cup of yoghurt is priced at 4000 dong. As such, Vien can earn the fat profit of 10,000 dong for every glass sold, and hundreds of glasses sold a day can bring her no less than one million dong.


However, the “businessmen who trade on the pavements” complain that they also have worries of their own. The owner of the lemon tea shops complained that there is no good place for visitors to park their motorbikes. In many cases, people have to park their motorbikes on the roads, and the motorbikes can be seized by the police. Therefore, visitors have to run away every time when they see policemen, and they cannot pay for the drinks.


Hoa, who is vending eggs and bread on Hoan Kiem Lake area, complained that everyday, she has to walk no less than 30 kilometres. “As the pavements here are too expensive, I can only stay for some minutes to sell products. After finishing selling, I have to go away,” she said.

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