Approximately 15 shops and restaurants on Al Merqab St. have until the end of April, to move or the shops’ water and electricity will be cut off.
“Our boss has not found a new location yet,” said Mohammed Abid, who has been working in the approximately 20-year-old Dry Cleaning Laundry for 20 years. “We won’t function without electricity.”
The stores received a letter in January from their landowners to find a new place to set up their shops for a shopping mall but now shop owners were told to leave by the end this month, April, or their water and electricity will be cut off.
“We haven’t found a place,” said Sha Mohammed who has been working in Gulf Star Saloon for 14 years. “Rent is high, it’s a problem.”
Al Merqab St. is a popular shopping destination in Doha, Qatar where there are approximately 250 tailors, supermarkets, butcheries, traditional Arabic and
Asian restaurants, traditional artifacts, pharmacies, car rentals, travel agencies, electronics shops and much more. A whole block with approximately 30 shops has been demolished in the beginning of March.
Al Azizia is one of the common options for the shops to move to. “Maybe Al Azizia, it’s cheap,” said Mohammed about the saloon. “Business here is good, there is no other place better to do business,” added Mohammed helplessly.
Al Malaki, a men’s accessorize shop, has already found a place to re-open their shop in Al Azizia. The shop is still running in Al Merqab but once the decorating and licensing of the new shop is finished, the staff workers will move to Al Azizia. “The problem here is the rent,” said Kunhiraman who has been working in Al Malaki for five years. “It’s getting higher but we have no income.”
“If he cuts it then we’ll move,” said Tamer Sharif, who has been working in Al Rumaihi Butchery for two years, about the landowner cut off the electricity. “He may be bluffing.” If the electricity does get cut off then it will be the end for the approximately 20-year-old butchery shop because they do not plan to open anywhere else. But the butchery shop already has a branch in the northwestern neighborhood, Madinat Khalifa.
(This article was written April 12)