Holiday Ritual

Lina Mulugeta, 24, was having an enjoyable shopping moment last Wednesday at the Addis Abeba exhibition centre during the ‘Addis Trade for Development’ bazaar, pillows, dresses and decorative flowers. And she was happy with the discount she received.

“I know the price of the commodities that I bought in the shops around the city for example, the price of the dress outside is 350 Br, but here I got it for 250 Br,” Lina said.

Making sales to visitors like Lina and promoting to the rest is what makes the participating companies come year after year. Sami House amp Office Furniture, which paid 150,000 Br for 150 sqm to participate in this Easter’s bazaar, has been a regular fixture for the past six years, according to Yemaneh Ketema, the company’s sales manager.

The company gives up to 25 pc discounts during the bazaars, Yemaneh says, with a bed that normally sells for 15,400 Br now selling for 13,860 Br at the exhibition.

But New Year stands out from all the holidays for the furniture market because relatively more people buy furniture during the New Year, according to the sales manager.

“Exhibition centres are the best way for promotion of products because people from different walks of life visit the centre,” says the sales person explaining why his company was holding such a large price for which it is paying a big sum.

Yemaneh has also noticed the changing trend in the spending habit of the population.

“In earlier days spending large amounts of money on house appliances and other consumables was very rare now, people, especially the youth, are starting to spend whatever it costs as long they believe in their purchase,” he said.

This bazaar is the 21st for Century Promotion Service, which has been in the business since 1991, organizing such events under the “Addis Trade for Development” brand, according to Zewge Jemaneh, Century’s owner and general manager. Concerts, which have become regular features of the bazaars, now cost the company up to a million Birr, up from 5,000 in the earlier days, he says.

But the good news for the company is that most of the budget for the entertainment is covered by sponsors, and sponsors for the current event are Tecno Mobile, Dashen Brewery and Jolly Juice, according to the organizers.

There are 350 companies that participate in this Easter holiday exhibition and 60 pc of the participants are from the manufacturing sector like textile, leather and foods, including 14 foreign companies and about 35 foreign companies that have invested in Ethiopia.

The payment of the participants to secure their stand is 85 Br per day for a one square metre space out of the three pavilions and 120 Br per day for a square metre for the spots inside the pavilions. And the first day of the exhibition will be given for the participants free of charge according to the organizers.

Michael Dereje, 38, was also one of the visitors of the Addis Abeba exhibition centre in the afternoon of Monday April 15, 2014.

“The prices of the products that I bought are almost equal to the outside market, but I like the festive mood in the centre and that is the main reason why I usually come here,” says Michael.

Michael was also uncomfortable with the overcrowding of the Centre and doubted the qualities of the some of the products displayed there. Despite these, however, he would still buy bed sheets, a toy for his child, a sweater and a t-shirt, all while enjoying the concert in the compound.

Abiy Leather, a company that makes such leather products as purses, back bags, wallets, belts and shoes takes part in bazaars for promotional reasons, according to, Abiy Getachew, owner of the company.

Most of the company’s customer base is built by its presence in this kind of bazaars, he says.

One such program that tries to create market linkage and promote the products of Small amp Micro Enterprises is the street-side SME bazaar that is visible around the city. The exhibitions that are organized by the city’s SMEs agency and similar offices at district level participate and create opportunities for SME in the city, according to the agency.

The bazaar on George VI Street at Arat Kilo is dominated by consumer products from SMEs in the district. Besides the common features of these SME bazaars such as leather products, furniture and food items, there was a product that stood apart: Selamawit Bayelign’s Ene Negn Yale Yehabesha Areqe.

The company that was established in 2011 with 30,000 Br capital currently employs about 16 workers. The company uses some simple machines like distillers and filtration machines to produce 120lt a day.

Her enterprise makes areqe, local liquor, from honey, garlic, white lupin (gibto), hagenia (kosso), as well as regular areqe.

The SME bazaars started in 2005, and Arada District spends 180,000 Br for each such event to cover tent rent, security service, payment for the parking owners and electric installation.

Source : Addis Fortune

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