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Hustle & Bustle at ‘Jom’e Bazaar’
Economy, Business And Markets

Hustle & Bustle at ‘Jom’e Bazaar’

Flea markets are an increasingly popular feature of most metropolitan areas. They provide shoppers with reasonably priced goods and represent an inexpensive way for entrepreneurs to establish and grow a small business.
The Friday market (Jom’e Bazaar), hosted in the indoor parking garage of Parvaneh (butterfly) shopping mall in Tehran’s Jomhouri Street, is presumably the most popular flea market in the capital. Generally referred to as Parvaneh Jom’e Bazaar, the flea market features a wide range of products including antiques, collectibles, handmade jewelry, artworks, and crafts by local artisans and designers, which are likely to have something to pique everyone’s interests.
Hundreds of vendors sell their wares on three floors of the five-story parking garage, while the top two floors are used as parking for the vendors. The market is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. every Friday but the vendors start setting up their stalls early in the morning. While the first floor is host mainly to antique sellers, the second and third floors display a wide range of goods including colorful rugs, clothes, decorative items, accessories, and more.
The market is run by municipal authorities who supervise the allotment of space to vendors and ensure the market’s safety and security. Temporary or first-time vendors can rent a small space, usually on the third floor, at the cost of $4 to $5 per day, but earning a permanent stall requires more formalities.    
Apart from hunting for second-hand curios, old memorabilia and collectibles, visitors also enjoy the convivial atmosphere of the market where they can stroll leisurely from stand to stand and interact with the designers and artists, young and old, who come to showcase their products while enjoying an interesting and sociable way to make extra income. Many of the artists have also set up websites where they advertise their products and attract more customers.
It is quite a common sight to see Afghanis, Turkmens and Kurds who come from other cities to present their wares, including hand-made embroidered fabrics and rugs, in the one-day market. Women comprise a large number of business owners in the flea market, selling various items including their own crocheted and knitted clothing items, accessories and even home-made food products such as dried herbs and pickles.
One common complaint about this bazaar is the poor quality of lighting and ventilation, which often makes it too hot during the summer and too cold in winter. The market can also get quite crowded, especially after 11 o’clock, making it difficult for the visitors to browse the vendors’ wares. But despite all these limitations, it manages to draw fans every week, who come hunting for a good bargain on their favorite items.

  Inspiration
The success of Parvaneh Jom’e bazaar has inspired many to establish similar style flea markets in other cities. Realizing the potential of flea markets in creating opportunities for the micro and small businesses, Tehran municipal authorities decided in 2013 to establish an outdoor weekend market along Tehran’s 17 Shahrivar Street. Temporary stalls are allocated by authorities to vendors and business owners along the street’s footpath on Thursday afternoons and Fridays.  
Holding day-markets to sell fresh food and agricultural products, cattle and clothes outdoors has traditionally been practiced in small cities and villages across Iran. Different week days are designated for similar markets in the northern province of Gilan, to enable the locals sell their fresh produce and domestic animals. But retro style flea markets such as Parvaneh Friday market are a relatively new concept in most cities.
Small no wonder that they have appealed to the younger generation, especially those in search of recognition for their art and craft. Tired of searching for jobs pertaining to their skills, many young and aspiring designers and artists consider such markets as a perfect platform to start their own businesses and showcase their creativity. The success of Parvaneh flea market best exemplifies how – when given even a small and dark stage to perform – creativity can draw people, every week.

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