While brick-and-mortar shops and restaurants face a slump, street-side stalls in Hanoi continue to earn profits, attracting more small business owners to invest in these enterprises.
A drink stall on the pavement
Sidewalk stalls have been a tradition in the capital for a long time, usually preferred over indoor restaurants, but during the financial difficulties the country is facing, they are at even more of an advantage.
Mecca for cheap clothes
Every afternoon, the sides of the street along Xuan Thuy and Phan Van Truong, Cau Giay District, transform into make-shift markets, selling everything from clothes, footwear, glass, to fruit and snacks. The vendors are sparse with decorum, selling on drapes, small tables and baskets hung on bicycles.
One seller said she doesn't pay any taxes, but instead offers lower prices to customers. Her location, near large universities, offers an opportunity to undersell the nearby shops and gives a chance to buyers with a limited budget to get products on the cheap. She added that she often earns 50% profit or more.
Nguyen Thi Minh, who sells sausage on Phan Van Truong Street, says that, despite increased competition, she earns more than she would working on farm in her hometown in Thai Binh.
The street, despite a ban on these activities, is occupied by around 300 street vendors, who tolerate the police driving them away in order to keep their small stores open, often late into the night.
Another busy pavement is located on Chua Boc Street, Dong Da District. This market specialises in apparel, hand bags and footwear. It is known as a place to get items for cheaper than nearby shops. Many of the shops have complained that they are losing customers to the street markets.
Lemon tea town
Pavement snack and drink stalls are also common in this area. Small stalls selling lemon tea and other drinks increased dramatically in numbers in the area around surrounding My Dinh National Stadium and along Nguyen Trai and Ho Tung Mau or Nha Tho streets.
A lemon tea stall owner near My Dinh National Stadium said that she can earn up to VND 20 million (USD958) a month during summer.
Because of large profits earned on small investments, attracting more entrepreneurs, this area has become colloquially-known as “Lemon Tea Town”.
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