Since May, Sumiati (63), not her real name, has been unable to pay for bank loan instalments. Her grocery store in Teluk Naga, Tangerang, only has few buyers since the pandemic took a hit. Other than bank loans, Sumiati and her family sometimes also face difficulties in fulfilling their daily needs. She was forced to lay off shopkeepers and chose to manage the store by herself because she cannot pay wages.

Unfortunately, this is something that happens to many people in Indonesia. There are nearly 4 million traditional stalls and grocery stores across the country, which is part of the 67 million small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Indonesia (as of 2019). When the pandemic storms hit, there are 236,980 micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) that were directly affected (according to call center data at the Ministry of Cooperatives and SMEs). The main problems are lower sales and demand, hampered capital and distribution, as well as raw material scarcity. One of the sectors that experiences the worst impact is retailers, who were in the second place with 25.33 percent.

The activity restrictions due to the pandemic have forced traditional stalls to adapt with a significant change. The urge to always being clean makes people more careful in choosing places to shop. During the pandemic, cleanliness is one of the main aspects that is greatly considered by consumers.

Lower consumers of traditional stalls will result in less revenue and make it difficult for shop owners to survive. In a more massive scale, this will also lead to millions of job losses. Data from UKM Center at the Faculty of Economics and Business  University of Indonesia (FEB UI), MSMEs  absorb around 97% of the total workforce and many of them are traditional stalls. Therefore, there must be more efforts from related parties to save traditional stores from the pandemic hit.

Gerakan Toko BERSAMA: Social Consortium to Help Traditional Stores and Stalls

The vulnerability of traditional shops due to COVID-19 pandemic has prompted a number of parties to take action and provide solutions. Gerakan Toko BERSAMA (clean, healthy, advance) came as one of the solutions to empower traditional shops and stalls that have been affected by the pandemic.

Coca-Cola Indonesia, Coca-Cola Amatil Indonesia and QASA are collaborating through Gerakan Toko BERSAMA to encourage traditional shops and stalls so they can survive the pandemic. Gerakan Toko BERSAMA  (GTB) is a social consortium, a collaboration of various parties with their respective roles. The social consortium involves UKM Center FEB UI to consult and give suggestions in the program development as well as provide educational materials for traditional shops and stalls.

GTB also asks for guidance and support from the Ministry of Cooperatives and SMEs so the program can go hand in hand with the government’s empowerment programs. As part of SMEs, traditional shops and stalls have significant contribution the economy.

The initial stage of GTB social consortium is aimed at providing security and comfort for people to shop at traditional stores and stalls, while supporting the government’s efforts to prevent COVID-19 spread.

Hygiene Standard for Traditional Shops and Stalls

As the first step, GTB will provide socialization and educate store owners on the operating standards for clean, healthy, and safe stores as a preparation for the new normal by distributing free e-books and videos  that can be accessed in GTB official page: www.gerakantokobersama.com

The purpose of socialization and education is to increase store owners’ understandings in implementing hygiene and health protocols while running daily operations. The hygiene education materials are compiled based on official references from the Ministry of Health.

As owners of traditional shops and stalls are having more understanding on health protocols, it is hoped that it will provide a sense of security for consumers when visiting the stores to shop.

Other than education on hygiene, the GTB social consortium will also provide financial and management education for traditional shops and stalls. The program includes financial governance, inventory management, category management, promotion, etc. 

Looking forward, GTB social consortium aims to help traditional shops and stalls connect with business enablers such as e-wallet, micro-lending institutions, supply chain development, and others.

It is hoped that these traditional stores, which have received education from GTB social consortium, will become more efficient, advanced, and able to provide the best service for consumers. A more efficient and advanced business will surely increase its resilience in facing crisis.

“We give our biggest appreciation to Coca-Cola, UKM Center FEB UI, and QASA for Gerakan Toko BERSAMA initiative as one of solutions for owners of traditional shops and stalls to not only survive the crisis but also improve income and business capacity as a preparation to enter new normal by implementing standard operating procedures that are clean, healthy, and safe,” said Minister of Cooperatives and SMEs Teten Masduki, during his remarks at the launch of social consortium of Gerakan Toko BERSAMA on Monday, June 29, 2020.

During the launch event, Minister Teten also said that GTB efforts to empower traditional shops and stalls by providing financial and management education can create a momentum to accelerate transformation and digitization of MSMEs in Indonesia, as they are the backbone of people’s economy.