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“If large stores open on Sundays, the market disappears”

Concern among the Bonavista flea market dealers about the proposal presented by the commercial agents, about opening the stores on Sundays and summer holidays. Everyone knows that, in Bonavista, Sunday is synonymous with a market. «If one day it rains or the morning is windy, the tourists will go to the shopping centers, instead of coming to Bonavista. We only need this. If large stores open their doors on Sundays, we are lost. They will end up sinking us, ”explains Juan Benítez, a member of the Taula de Comerç of the Federació d’Associacions de Veïns de Tarragona (FAVT) and a dealer at the Bonavista flea market.

The group found out about the proposal through the media, «and, immediately, the WhatsApp groups began to activate. The dealers complained and refused, “explains Benítez. The discomfort arose last week, when it came to light that entities, such as the Chamber of Commerce or Pimec Comerç, are working to seek consensus among the commercial fabric of the city, to be able to open on Sundays and summer holidays. And it is that the municipal government, following in the footsteps of the Barcelona City Council, only sees the option as viable provided that it has the approval of all those involved. Both large shopping centers and smaller stores.

The proposal, which despite being in an embryonic state, wants to be implemented from June 15 to September 15, talks about opening establishments from twelve noon to eight in the afternoon on Sundays and holidays in the summer months. The truth is that small businesses – of less than 300 square meters – can already do so, but the Chamber, Pimec and the shopping centers seek to open it systematically and regularly, so that Tarragona becomes a focus of commercial attraction to province-wide level. For its part, the municipal government sets as a condition that there is agreement between all those involved. For the time being, consensus has not yet arrived, bearing in mind that most of Via T’s associates – which represents more than a hundred businesses in Tarragona – flatly refuse.

«And us? Will someone ask us? Does anyone care about our opinion?” asks Raquel Alonso, who also runs a stall at the Bonavista flea market. “For our group, this initiative will be very detrimental to our sales. On the other hand, it will benefit the big brands and the shopping centers, which already work enough during the whole week”, argues Benítez. Dani Faura, who runs a clothes stall in Bonavista, is convinced that “if the proposal finally goes ahead, we will end up disappearing, because we will be left without the little tourism we have in summer.”
A few years ago, in the lobbies of the hotels in Salou, Cambrils and other coastal municipalities in the territory, there were flyers informing about the existence of the market. Even bus trips to Bonavista were organized. Of all that, there is nothing. “Instead of looking for solutions for the biggest and most influential fish, they should find a way to promote a market that, little by little, is deteriorating,” says Benítez.

“In addition, we will not be the only ones affected by the measure. In Bonavista, on Sundays, there is a significant movement of people, who also generate wealth in the neighborhood’s shops and restaurants”, explains the head of the FAVT’s Taula de Comerç.

Raquel Alonso sells bedding at the Bonavista flea market. «If the large surfaces open, at first the clientele will be distributed. But as the weeks go by, they will choose the malls. And it’s normal. It’s cooler there,” warns Alonso.

A group at risk

For the group of dealers, this measure could be the final straw that would end up breaking the camel’s back. “Sales have dropped by half in recent months,” explains Alonso, who adds that “before, people came from Tortosa and even from around Barcelona. Not now”.

The sector is also self-critical and recognizes that the level and quality of the product is not the same as it was years ago. «Before you could leave the Bonavista market dressed for a wedding. Not now. But the fault is not with the dealers, but with the abusive rates that we are paying. The expenses are so many that they limit us”, explains Benítez. Many paradistas do not have liquidity to face the new season.

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