Running a mini-market
25 September, 2023, 9:00 pm
For the past 10 years Marina Ensor has helped her sister sell her produce at the mini-market along Khalsa Rd in Nasinu.
Her bright smile and cheerful personality catches the attention of commuters and regular shoppers. The 54-year-old spends most of her time selling fresh fruits and vegetables to help earn an income for the family.
“This market belongs to my sister, Mary Enzo, and I’ve been helping her in the business,” Marina says.
“This is what she’s (Mary) been doing for close to 25 years now. Mary started from scratch, selling vegetables before moving on to a big market .” She runs the market seven days a week.
“This is how we make our money. This is also what we eat at home and how we earn to pay for our children’s education, Marina said she stays with her sister at Newtown.
Business starts at about 4:30am. H
er brother-in-law, who is a taxi driver drops her at the market every morning.
While profits fluctuate depending on busy and not so busy days, the challenges she faces include changes in vegetable prices from the middlemen or farmers.
“Sometimes farmers put up their cost especially during rainy weather. The cost for a box of tomatoes is between $90 to $100.
“So right now I’m selling a heap of tomatoes for $8, a plate of five chilies at $2, a heap of about five lemons (moli karo) for $3.
“Sometimes we struggle because we have to reduce our selling price so that more people could buy. People can’t afford to buy if it is too expensive — so we have to think of them too,” she said.
Another challenge is the unpredictable Suva weather because too much sun can spoil tomatoes, chillies and cucumbers.
Marina said despite the struggles, she was willing to do the job because her family relied on her and she enjoyed the company of other vendors.
Her message to young people especially women is to ‘remain persistent through dark and rainy weather.
“I’d just like to encourage all the women here in Fiji to keep on moving — never mind how rough the road may be.
“Keep doing what is best for you and your family. Don’t look back, keep on looking forward.”