Small businesses react to Gov. Ivey’s new order allowing some to reopen

Updated: Apr. 28, 2020 at 4:38 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Tuesday was a day many small businesses in Alabama have been waiting for - word they can reopen to customers. Governor Ivey provided the OK for certain businesses to reopen as of 5 p.m. on Thursday, April 30.

Small retailers have been struggling to survive with the stay at home order in effect. While many shifted to an online business, it was still hard and not as profitable as having their doors open for business.

Ken Shaia of Shaia’s in Homewood applauded as Governor Ivey announced he and other retailers could reopen their stores this week. “We appreciate Governor Ivey. Some businesses must open now or die,” Shaia said.

Shaia’s has been selling clothes for a hundred years. The last four weeks has not been easy for them or any retailer forced to close business and if they had to stay closed, some faced an uncertain future.

“It would have been disastrous. It was really hard. My great grandfather has a saying: take care of your customer or somebody else will,” Shaia said.

Shaia added despite the good news, he will not open immediately. “We are going to let our customers tell us when they want to reopen. We will be practicing all the things Governor Ivey had in her recommendations,” Shaia said. That means social distancing, restricting store access, and keeping it sanitary.

Shaia has kept 12 of 13 employees on the payroll. The one who left is always on his mind. Shaia has a plea for people in the area: Support local retailers over online services - they need all the help they can get.

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