Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear’s planned day to allow the re-opening of retail stores was likely marked on many calendars. After being cooped up in their homes a few months, folks were itching to stretch their legs and open their wallets.
Local businesses of Mayfield prepared to reopen their doors to eager buyers on Wednesday. That day came and went with store owners and customers alike rejoicing in being able to take another step towards a new sense of normalcy.
Sherry Elliott, owner of Katie J’s, and her staff made sure their shop was ready to go on the big day with a deep cleaning, appropriate signage, staff wearing masks, and hand sanitizer for customers who walk in the door.
They did not have to wait long for foot traffic after opening.
“We’re real excited that people were here within the first 15 minutes of opening,” Elliott said. “Feels good.”
Her cliental did not need much guidance either, as she said they were all “really respectful” of social distancing. Elliott added that everyone had come in wearing masks, as well. Nevertheless, her store and clients were glad to have the shop open again.
“People just seem to be so excited to get out,” she said. “And of course, we are (excited) to have our customers back.”
Initially, Katie J’s and a few other small businesses were in a group chat, sharing ideas amongst each other for getting through the government shutdown. Elliott said some of those businesses had been allotting and sharing merchandise to help each other out.
“I’ve been in business a long time, so I think that’s great,” she added. “Because sometimes through the years, I feel like it hasn’t always been that way.”
Currently, Katie J’s is open from 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Monday through Friday. However, Elliott said she will remain open as long as she has customers to serve. The business phone now forwards calls to her personal cell, so customers could potentially call after 3 p.m.
Katie J’s was not the only business ready on opening day. The Good News Shoppe had also deep cleaned their store and placed signage, making sure customers knew they were following the guidelines set by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Store owner Leisha Doran said their staff is wearing masks, as well. In addition, hand sanitizer, disposable masks and gloves are available to customers who feel they might need them. Also, their entrance was left open, so customers did not need to touch the handle to go in or out of the store.
Doran said it was a great day for customers and staff, alike.
“So far, our people, they’re excited, we’re excited,” she said. “We’re just having a happy day!”
Wednesday saw 20 customers between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., which Doran said is “a good steady day.” To help guide their cliental, Doran taped markers near the registers to signify where they needed to be for proper social distancing. If the store gets too congested, she said customers may have to wait in their car, but that it would not an issue if it came to that.
To keep their business afloat through the government shutdown, Good News Shoppe implemented curbside service to continue connecting with their customers. That service is still available to people wary about stepping out into public. If they prefer, they can even have the item shipped to their homes.
The curbside option, she said, could potentially become a new mainstay for customers.
“We wouldn’t mind keeping it,” Doran said. “We would love for people to come in, but at the same time we know everybody’s busy and if that’s needed, we’ll do whatever we want. We just appreciate everybody.”
The store still offers its other services as well, such as delivery to funeral homes, bereavement, and free gift-wrapping.
Good News Shoppe is open from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. from Monday through Friday, and from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturday. However, like Katie J’s, Doran said her store will operate as long as customers are inside, or even if they call after hours.