Arpi Roadside Market Falls On Hard Times
The busy roadside market near the village of Arpi on the Yerevan-Syunik stretch of highway has fallen victim to a recent change in the law regarding the payment of permit fees.
Only a few vendors are left selling a limited variety of local produce.
The roadside market was a fairly bustling stop for tourists from Iran and native Armenians travelling through Vayots Dzor to other locations.
Vendors say that they used to be regarded as individual proprietors that paid 25-30,000 AMD in taxes during the middle of every month. As of April 1, when the changes to the law went into effect, they must now fork over 185,000 AMD at the start of each quarter.
As a result, many vendors have packed up and left. Some are now working for the owner of the market, Arpi native Gagik Petrosyan. He works as a bodyguard for former RA President Levon Ter-Petrosyan and used to be the police chief for a number of local communities.
Vendors say that Petrosyan’s business isn’t doing so well and that they don't have all that much to sell.
A man who has been selling his wares at the market for the past 10 years frowned when we asked how the market was doing.
“We used to have a lot of people stopping off here. Today, only three buses of Iranians and two cars have pulled in.”