A majority of small-scale vendors in Karachi switch over from one trade to another every winter.
During the three-month period from December to February, they can earn 55 percent more than what they usually earn during the rest of the year. Most of these vendors sell ice cream, kulfi, faluda and goal ganda during summer. As the temperature falls, they start shifting to additional food items to compensate for the decrease in sales.
Chaudhry Mehmood Ali, a famous kulfi vendor in Saddar, says winter months bring additional business. “We continue selling kulfi. However, we also start selling gajar (carrot) ka halwa in order to compensate for the decline in kulfi sales from December to mid February every year,” he says.
He says their kulfi sales decline by 35 percent during winter months. “However, we usually earn 45 percent more during these three months,” he says.
Ali says customers prefer halwa during the cold. “It generates more money for us,” he says.
Saleem Ahmad, who sells homemade ice cream in Nazimabad, starts selling corn soup during winter.
“I suspend my ice cream sales from December to February every year and start selling corn soup in the evening. This brings in more customers. I end up earning 40 percent more income,” he says.
Muhammad Anwer, a roadside kulfi vendor in Malir, says he starts selling peanuts, nuts and kazak (a sweet) during winter months.
“I have been doing this business for the last 18 years. I manage to earn more money during winters,” he says.
Muhammad Ramzan, the owner of an ice depot, says he stops selling ice during the winter.
“I sell quilts and pillows during these three months. I usually start in November and shift back to selling ice in March every year,” he says. Ramzan says he gets help from his son who sells quilts in other areas.
“I earn more than 50 percent of what I can make from selling ice, but I resume my ice business at the start of summer,” he says. He says he does not need any extra investment as his son also runs the quilt and pillow business year round.
Naseer alias Mamoon, a faluda and ice cream vendor in North Karachi says he starts selling biryani during winter. “I earn 45 percent more than what I earn during summers,” he says.
He says he is thinking about opening a biryani house and closing down his ice cream business.
However, around 30 percent of ice cream and ice sellers do not switch over to any other food business during winter months.
Sohail Ali, who sells homemade soft drinks in Nazimabad, says he starts working at a workshop during winters.