On Franz Leharplein, business owners are noticing stark differences in consumer habits. Some are seeing increased profits due to the corona-measures, while for others, it is the opposite situation.
The physiotherapist on the corner is busy scratching moss from the tiles at the entrance to the practice. As a result, the practice looks neat and well-kept. Unfortunately, due to a lack of patients, general maintenance now has priority. He did not want to be officially interviewed but can confirm that business in the practice has slowed down due to the pandemic. “Many people voluntarily decided to cancel their treatments,” he said. “We also advised people to stay home as much as possible. For the patients that critically need treatment, the practice is still open.”
‘People aren’t buying bicycles’
Across the street, the bicycle repairman is also not busy. Usually, he would be very busy because of the recent good cycling weather. However, the shop is empty. “At the moment people aren’t buying new bicycles and are also are not coming in for repairs”, says the shop’s owner, Stefan van Gerwen.
“They are avoiding leaving home as much as possible.” He read the article in the Eindhovens Dagblad, stating that cycling was a good way to prevent contracting COVID-19. That is not helping. “We’re at less than half – an optimistic estimate – of our normal turnover. ”
“An elderly employee is at home since he is part of the high-risk group. Besides, there was barely any work for him. At least a part of his salary is compensated”, explains Stefan. How long will he be able to persist in the current situation? “Two months. After that, we have a serious problem.”
Keeping head above water
Of course, there are also exceptions on Frans Leharplein. Primera is doing good business with smokers stocking up on cigarettes, ‘in case of a possible apocalypse’. Many customers are buying old-fashioned postcards. People are sending postcards instead of visiting people,” the owner explained.
On to the pink shop on the corner. This is Mohamed Amir Kamouni’s business. It is a mobile repair shop and sells refurbished phones. There, there also is not much to do. “The situation is not yet dire enough to request aid from the government. It might, however, be necessary in the future, in which case I will have to do so”, he says.
For the flower shop next to the Albert Heijn, glorious times have arrived. Here are no empty shelves. Quite the opposite: shelves are packed with plants and baskets with colourful flowers are bountiful. Clients happily browse the shop in search of a bunch or tray. “Everything at auction was dirt cheap”, the owner says. “These trays of violets and Busy Lizzies are on offer for a lower price than usual. And a bunch of flowers is bound to cheer up anyone having to sit at home all day.”
How long the flower shop will stay afloat remains the question. “Maybe new measures will be implemented”, says the owner. “We also don’t know what to expect from the future.”
Translator: Ame Harris