KUWAIT: Stalls of the popup Qout Market are seen in Safat Square yesterday. – Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat
KUWAIT: Two weeks after it was abruptly shut down by the Municipality, the Qout Market was back yesterday at Safat Square in Kuwait City. It is one of Kuwait’s most popular, well-known, locally-created urban markets, and focuses on encouraging support for local businesses, farmers, entrepreneurs and artisans. Organizers declined to comment on the market’s closure hours before its opening in the parking lot of Discovery Mall on Dec 1, but vendors yesterday told Kuwait Times about its impact on their small businesses.
“I had prepared products for the market, so the closure by the Municipality resulted in some material losses. But we understand the sudden circumstances,” said Um Talal, founder of ‘Figs and Olives’, who mixes Jordanian olives with a host of Kuwaiti ingredients. She started her business three years ago from home and participated in Qout Market for the second time. Hessa Al-Habshi, founder of ‘Elate Tearoom’, said she found other ways to sell what she had already prepared. “This is my second year with Qout Market and I understand that such things are normal with popup markets. My products were already prepared, but I managed to sell them on Instagram, so the closure did not affect my business,” she said. Abbas Al-Mohri and Salam Sheshtari, co-founders of ‘West Village Coffee’, also said they managed to sell their coffee through their distributors and other channels. West Village Coffee was launched five months ago, and this is their first participation in the Qout Market.
Noaf Hussein, co-founder of Qout Market, did not comment on the closure, but said vendors are carefully chosen to offer new and good quality products to people. “We can tell a bit about their personality through the emails the vendors send. We have our own rules and regulations to accept businesses that participated today in the market. They have to be about food, farm and craft. This market is for small and medium businesses, where we always choose to display local products over brands and franchises,” she told Kuwait Times.
By Faten Omar