JEDDAH: It is no surprise that the restrictions set in place to halt the spread of COVID-19 affected small and medium enterprises (S&ME) in the Kingdom. However, this year’s Valentine’s Day has brought a rise in sales for some to help their recovery from lockdown losses.
With the announcement of stricter restrictions 10 days ago by the authorities, S&MEs across the Kingdom have enjoyed a boost from members of the Saudi community. Messages of solidarity have been circulating on social media, encouraging people to buy local and help reduce the financial burdens for business owners.
Khalid Omar, a 28-year-old Saudi from Jubail who founded his shop Dream Flowers in 2017, said the business closed for three months in 2020, but has since enjoyed a boost in sales and is in a stable position this year.
“The COVID-19 pandemic hindered all local business projects for everyone such as my flower shop in Jubail,” he said.
He imports his flowers from Kenya, one of the major flower producers in the world, and Holland, which provides more up-scale options.
He said sales had shot up in the past four days in preparation for Valentine’s Day.
“Celebrations such as Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Teacher’s Day and so forth have a positive impact on sales. This is our season.” He said that nothing says “I love you” more than a big beautiful bouquet.
It’s no easy feat but Saudi local businesses have been beating the odds and finding creative ways to market their products to take advantage of peak periods. Offering everything from hand-made personalized cards to illustrations, chocolate hearts with secret messages in their center and more, local businesses are getting great support from members of their local community.
Yasser Al-Ammari, a Saudi entrepreneur, founded the online platform coffinado.com last year. Coffinado provides a variety of specialty coffee beans to consumers and coffee shops through a network of local and international roasters.
“2020 helped us to lay the foundation of our business and to have the time to do thorough market research and well-structured business plans during the world pandemic,” he said.
The business benefitted from the e-commerce boom last year, and is offering a clever deal for this year’s Valentine’s Day.
“At Coffinado, we like to take every opportunity to celebrate with our customers as a part of building good connections with them,” he said.
“Since it is Feb. 14, we have decided to offer 214 customers a luxury chocolate and a 14 percent discount on their orders as a love gift and show them our appreciation,” he said.