Stall owners find option at Va’ai’s compound

Va’ai’s property opposite the Fugalei Market is providing stall owners with another option. A week after they were forced to relocate from the market, stall owners desperate to find a place to continue their businesses are popping up all over the streets of Fugalei.

Some stall owners have resorted to small spaces on the footpath near Frankie’s and Farmer Joe to try and sell their produces. While most have chosen Tole’afoa’s property on the right side of the market, problems with overcrowding have alarmed many of them so that they are looking elsewhere.

And that’s where the space at the Va’ai Compound comes in. Temporary shelters are being mounted there to allow stall owners to continue to sell their goods. The compound was previously used by second hand car dealer, Motor 1. Iva Siaosi, of Leauva’a, is already settled at the Va’ai compound. “It is safer to sell our goods here,” she tells the Weekend Observer.

“There is a fence and a security guard that can assure the safety of our belongings.” Mrs Siaosi’s optimism is shared by other stall owners around her. “Toleafoa is an open space and we cannot leave our goods there over-night,” says Luaao Faumui, of Vaivase-Uta. “It is such a hassle to pack all the goods, take them home and then have to transport them again the next day.

“We would rather have them locked here where it is easy to pack and unpack, which is why I choose to have another stall here at Va’ai because it is secure.” Both Mrs Siaosi and Mr Faumui say customers are slowly coming around.

“What’s happened is that because there are so many different venues now, the customers have been split,” Mrs Siaosi. “Whereas there was only one place people could go to before, there are now several places and that’s had an impact on our sales.” Mrs Siaosi says it will take time for people to get used to it.

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