Stock Dubai Skyline
Dubai Skyline seen from Dubai Creek Harbour. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

I believe that every predicament that comes brings along a bunch of silent opportunities. As was the case for everyone, 2020 was tough for our building materials company - but we have overcome this pandemic era.

At a time when companies were laying off employees due the uncertainties and also not paying their full salaries, Danube was among the first to pay back the full salaries to all. We also hired few new people who were laid-off and their experience helped in our growth.

I have always believed the captain is as good as his team, and we are blessed with a team who can deliver against all odds. One would have to acknowledge that businesses faced a challenge that they not experienced in decades. However, organizations with resources, decent marketshare and nimble business models have been able to display great resilience in dealing with the constantly fluid situation. Due to the lockdowns and various travel restrictions, companies were downsizing imports, some of them even stopped them altogether due to uncertainties as well as the rising freight costs. We did not stop our imports despite the high freights as we had belief in our network and diversified basket of products.

Keep the goods coming in

We had two Danube Home showrooms within a 10 minute drive of each other, which resulted in internal competition. Hence, we took a decision to retain the Barsha Showroom, which is 100,000 square feet and gave customers a wider range. We ventured into luxury sanitary ware by opening Casa Milano on Sheikh Zayed Road, which features more than 40 of the world’s top-notch brands like Versace, Robertto Cavalli, etc.

It generally takes at least three years for a business to get a foothold or breakeven, but Casa Milano proved its mettle in the first year itself despite the pandemic.

With movement restrictions within the country during a significant part of the year and people being unable to travel as usual, it made them think as to how they can improvise within their homes. This led to a gradual increase in our sales. COVID–19 gave an opportunity to a lot of people to modify their house as they got enough time to think of revamp plans, not only in terms of interiors but also their bathrooms ,which are now considered as the ‘me’ space.

Home improv

Even during the worst lockdowns, construction activity did not halt in the UAE, mainly due to the upcoming Expo.

It is easy to swim with the tide - to swim against it and emerge triumphant is where the true character of a company is seen.