Md Ahid Mia is a pesticide seller in Aruail Bazar under the Sarail upazila of Brahmanbaria, but his business has never been very profitable.
As an alternative, he started a side hustle of selling used doors and windows, and it turned out to be quite successful as he now earns at least Tk30,000 from this every month.
"I have been doing this business for six years now, and I sell 400 doors and windows annually on average. My monthly income from this business is Tk30,000 at least, but due to Covid-19, it is a little less these days," said Ahid.
Like Ahid Mia, 12 other individuals are involved in this business in Aruail Bazar. The practice that started on a limited scale 10 years ago is now a business that sells used windows and doors worth Tk5 crore every year.
A variety of wooden doors and windows are available at the shops of Aruail Bazar. The used windows and doors are purchased from local traders in Chattogram and Sylhet and are then brought to the Aruail Bazar.
Depending on the wood and size, each door is sold at Tk5,000 to Tk10,000. For every window, customers have to spend Tk900 to Tk1200.
"We buy each double door for Tk4500 to Tk5000 and every single door costs about Tk4,000 to Tk10,000," according to the traders of Aruail Bazar.
The traders also enjoy a profit of Tk300 to Tk700 per double door and Tk500 to Tk1,000 per single door. The market sells at least 7000 pieces of doors and windows annually.
The used door and window shops are popular among the low-income people of both Sarail and other parts of Brahmanbaria.
Mansur Ali, a resident of Baraichhara village in Aruail Union, said he recently bought five doors from Aruail Bazar for Tk20,000 while renovating his house.
"It would have cost me at least Tk50,000 to Tk60,000 to have these doors made, which I could not have afforded," he added.
Mansur commented that the shops have been particularly helpful for the low-income groups.
Anwar Hossain, a businessman in the bazar, said the business of used doors and windows is a year-round one. But, due to the pandemic, the business has been in recession for quite some time.
"The sales are less than half of usual but we hope the situation will get back to normal soon and our business will be back on track," said another businessman Nasir Uddin who has been involved with the used door and window business for nine years.
Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan, chairman of Aruail Union Parishad, said, "The old door and window business in Aruail Bazar is improving the economic landscape of the area."
He added that if the traders appeal to the authorities, they will extend all kinds of cooperation to help them (the traders) overcome the impacts of the pandemic.