Tribune News Service
Jalandhar, June 5
It is a very unusual sight at the popular Lovely Sweets on Nakodar Road here. The shop that remained abuzz with customers throughout the day has now visitors coming intermittently only. There are no usual queues to get the sweets weighed, packed and make the payment.
There is a single cash counter unlike multiple points that were there earlier and still one has to wait for maximum a minute or so.
The counters for snacks such as ‘samosas’, ‘kachoris’ and ‘pakoras’ are shut. The variety of sweets on display has been cut down by 60 per cent. While there were at least 15 varieties of ‘ladoos’ available earlier, now there are 8-10 on any given day. Cashew sweets, too, have little variation and the same is the case with ‘besan barfi’ and rolls. The owners make a point that they offer fresh sweets.
Shaishav Mittal, director, Lovely Sweets, says, “The lockdown has badly hit our business. We have less than 30 per cent customers as of now. Earlier, customers would come up with a specific demand for a special ‘ladoo’, rolls or ‘barfi’, but not now. It is very hard to say no to them. But we do explain that 90 per cent of our labour has gone back to their native places. So some sweets which only those people could make up to the required level of perfection cannot be available till they return. And we really do not know when that will happen as they left just days before we reopened on May 18.”
Mittal shared, “The walk-in is less, but there are some people who are placing orders on Zomato and Swiggy. We have started making orange, pudina chips and namkeens for which we have a lot of customers.”
He adds, “The best part in these tough times is that we have more women working on counters than men. These women are Punjab natives and used to attend to customers receiving them and taking them to the right counters. But now as we need more people behind the counters, they have happily agreed to extend their services in packing boxes too.”
The sweets owner says, “Thankfully, there have been some marriages in May and June, which is otherwise not the time. These were all those marriages which were to be held in March-end or April, but could not be solemnised due to the Covid-19 outbreak. As the government has allowed a gathering of 50 persons for marriages, small functions have started taking place. The marriage orders have become smaller, but they are definitely there.”
Mittal rued, “To keep our labourers intact, we provided them with free accommodation and food, but still most of them left." He shared that all sweets that they had got prepared when the lockdown happened was immediately distributed among the poor. “We allowed our labourers to take as much sweets as they wanted,” he added.
Safety measures in place at the shop
As a safety measure in times when people are scared of eating outside food, Lovely Sweets has begun using UV light system to kill harmful germs. Says Shaishav Mittal, “We do not use this light for all sweets in routine as we simply ask people to consume sweets within 24 hours. We use this only on specific demand of customers or when the sweets have to be supplied for sale in retail and at other malls”.
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