As the end of King Father Norodom Sihanouk’s three-month mourning period nears, flower vendors say the period has been a lucrative one.
Ken Vy, owner of Vy Nich flower shop in Phnom Penh, has sold flowers for more than 10 years and says demand has seen a dramatic spike in the past three months.
“At the beginning, the sales were booming,” Ken Vy told the Post. “Not only I am stocking the flowers for selling during the former King Norodom Sihanouk’s final funeral day, but other flower sellers are too.
“The final day of the ceremony may be good for sales. Everyone will carry flowers for offering, and many people will come to Phnom Penh to worship.”
A majority of the mourners are purchasing better quality – and more expensive – flowers, Vy added.
“On normal days, I sell $10 photos with flower garlands, but since the mourning period started, buyers are ordering bigger and more expensive purchases than before,” she said.
“Before funeral days, I sold between 50 and 100 bunches of flowers a day, but during the King Father’s funeral ceremony, I sell around 300 bunches per day,” she added.
Vy said she had ordered thousands of flower trees to sell on the day of cremation, adding that vendors would not increase the price past 2,500 riel (about $0.63) per bunch, up from 2,300 riel.
However, she also noted that while she is happy for the business, she also feels great sorrow for the passing of the King Father, who died on October 15 in Beijing at the age of 89.
“I cried after hearing the news of his death and during the days of the [return] ceremony,” she said. “I won’t be able to stop my tears from falling again during the cremation day.”
After the funeral, sales will drop back to normal, she said.
Srey Touch, owner of Srey Touch flower shop near Wat Preah Puth Meanbon, said her income had doubled in the days after the King Father’s death, though now business has slowed down a bit.
Most of her flowers are imported from Vietnam, while her best-selling Cambodian flower is the lotus.
“I would cry whenever I turned on the TV during the first few days [after the King Father’s death],” she said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Rann Reuy at firstname.lastname@example.org