Pandemic takes shimmer off Bengaluru’s trophy business

Business City COVID-19 Economy Sports

With no event or competitions, stores revenue hit

Bengaluru: Trophy and medal shops across Bengaluru have incurred losses due to the pandemic.

“We had no money during the lockdown. Business was low last year and is still low. We don’t know how to get out of this situation,” said Kalpana Gowda, a sales retailer at Mr Kings Trophy, Chickpet.

According to Just Dial listings, the city houses more than 100 trophy and medal stores. A lot of employees working in these stores were laid off and a few are still working on half salary.

Lalitha G, a saleswoman at Rakhra The Sports House, Malleswaram, said: “Our peak business is from March to May, and the business was hit last year during this season. We are still working on 30% salary.”

In August 2020, Kalpana got a call from her store owner asking her to come back to work. When she walked into the shop she works for, she realised four of her colleagues were laid off during the lockdown in 2020.

In 2021, business improved for trophy shops, but the second wave of Covid-19 has impacted sales.

Santosh P., the owner of Saga Sports and Trophies, Gandhi Nagar, said: “Our business depends on gatherings and competitions, but because of the virus, they are not happening. Last year after the lockdown we started our business from zero. Now again it’s back to zero because of the second wave.”

The pandemic brought sporting events across the world to a standstill. One of the major sources of income for trophy stores is activities conducted in schools and colleges. Fearing the virus, educational institutes have taken a step back from large gatherings. 

Shivananda HB, Physical Education Director at the JSS Academy of Technical Education, said: “We did not conduct any sports activities for the last academic year. The Visvesvaraya Technological University has cancelled this year’s athletics meet. So we did not invest in trophies or jerseys this year.”

Lokesh SP., head swimming coach at Jyothy School, said: “We did not allow kids to enter the pool. We didn’t organise our annual sports day either this year.”

With employees of companies working from home, their events are also conducted virtually. This has led to a rise in the demand for e-trophies.

“We have supplied trophies for corporate companies like IBM, Rolls Royce, and a few medical institutes. But this year we did not get any orders from them. All their events were virtually conducted,” said Santosh.

Event management companies that spent lakhs of rupees on trophies are also being forced to adapt to the changes, and design e-trophies.

Pooja Kaushik, Managing Director of Evento Tech Events & Training, said: “Most events are being conducted online. We are now designing e-certificates and e-trophies. We will not invest in physical trophies unless a client specifically asks for them.”

Decathlon Sports India’s annual event, Sports Utsav, has been cancelled this year. According to an employee at Decathlon, Bengaluru, the company invests more than Rs 10 lakh on medals for their annual sports fest.

Patriotism made Santosh cut his trophy import from China by 50% after the India-China face-off.

Gajanan Hegde, an expert in marketing and sales, said: “Trophy and medals categorise under small scale businesses. Once the virus’ peak is over, their revival will be quick. The government will not be able to help since it’s difficult for them to focus on small businesses. With the vaccination drive in place, the economy will see betterment this year.”

With the ongoing pandemic and the second wave peaking, the threat of small scale and unorganised workforce is constantly under threat; which might force shutdowns and job losses again. 

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