Thursday, 28 June 2012

Culinary SMEs (Κουζινικές μικροεπιχειρήσεις)

Microenterprises (SMEs - small-medium enterprises) were the biggest loser in the economic crisis. They were the first victims - they work on a limited budget and they rely on a restricted set of customers. It's interesting to see them making a small comeback in Hania, in mainly the tourist areas, which means that they will probably close down after the season since they are geared towards tourists and disposable income, which is very hard to come by these days in Hania (taxeation rates are very high this year). 

Interestingly, the newcomers in the SME market are mainly in the food sector. We've always had little shops selling hand-crafted jewellery, unique bags, light summery clothes in outrageous styles - and they all seem to be doing quite well, since they are eye-catching with their brilliant colours.

But food shops have remained relatively stable: souvlaki, fast food, sandwiches, buns, ice-cream, and other similar foods in the same range. It's only this year that new food trends have startedin the form of SMEs. A small stroll yesterday around Halidon St, the main tourist drag in Hania (after visiting our accountant and discovering how broke we would be by the end of the season) revealed a number of SMEs all involved in the food trade:

- a fruit juice shop

In the past, most prepared food stores sold a diverse range of concoctions - this one basically sells just juice and nothing else.

- a tiny store making and selling just loukoumades (traditional fried donuts in syrup)
Loukoumades are known to all Greeks - being situated in a tourist area will help to boost their fame. Kalitsounia are known mainly to Cretans and some other islanders - SMEs selling only kalitsounia do exist in Hania, but not in the tourist areas: another possible route for entrepreneurs? And what is that store in the middle with the blue noticeboard, with high seats above what looks like a transparent toilet?

I also noticed a frozen yoghurt store in the area of Koum Kapi, just off the tourist drag by the old port, which is frequented mainly by Greeks. Location is of imminent importance, but it's difficult to balance this in harsh economic times: Greeks don't have much disposable income so that enterprises need to rely on tourist money, but being situated in the most touristy areas inevitably means that when the season is over, so will the business.

And just for the record, fish spa therapy (see above photo) is now becoming very popular - last year, there were 2-3 of them in Hania, but this year, the tourist area is over-run with them. What's more, the prices are much cheaper than last year.

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