Ramadan generates higher revenues for businesses, not just for food items, but also non-food products like ‘choolas’ (braziers) and girgian boxes. Stoves and cooking ranges are the bestselling non-food items during Ramadan, as they are frequently used in Kuwaiti households. The handmade ‘choola’ is unique to many Kuwaiti homes.
Like girgian boxes, the choola is handmade, and decorated with beautiful designs. “I have got many orders from companies and individuals ahead of Ramadan. For us, Ramadan is something unique and special,” said Adnan Tinwala, a shop owner at Souq Safafeer (tin market) in Kuwait City. “Our sales are increasing every Ramadan – by 30 percent to even 100 percent,” he said. Girgian boxes are ordered a few months before Ramadan by many retailers. “We need to deliver the girgian boxes one or two weeks before Ramadan so that they can be displayed,” Tinwala said.
Girgian bags are known to many children in Kuwait, but girgian boxes are used by adults to store girgian gifts. “Kids are into smaller bags of gifts, but adults want it bigger. The boxes are colorfully designed. Those ordering such boxes are private companies and government ministries,” he said. “The bigger the box, the higher the price – small girgian boxes will cost you KD 3, while larger boxes cost around KD 15.” The boxes are made of wood and corrugated tin, and embellished with designs distinct to Kuwait. “The design and combination of colors are unique to Kuwait – they are very Kuwaiti and popular,” Tinwala added. His shop is known to some in the market by the name of his father Sameer. “He is into the electrical and construction supply business. Eight years ago, my father added this business. I’ve been running this shop for the last six years, one year after I graduated from college in India,” he told Kuwait Times. Adnan admires his father because of his never-say-die attitude. Sameer started working in Kuwait as a carpenter in the woodworking industry in Shuwaikh industrial area. One day, his friend offered him a shop, which he stocked with electrical and construction products. Sameer still runs that shop.
Eight years ago, he diversified his business by opening the box workshop in Souq Safafeer, a traditional iron and tin market in Kuwait City. Souq Safafeer’s history can be traced back to the early 1950s. It eventually became known to many in Kuwait as a popular destination for people seeking corrugated tin, iron or stainless steel products like braziers, cargo trunks, storage lockers, barbeque stands, cooking pots and even caskets for the dead
By Ben Garcia