Local business owners are excited to reopen stores

Retail businesses set to reopen

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Governor Kay Ivey’s order, which temporarily closed stores six weeks ago, was lifted at 5 p.m. allowed some businesses to reopen.

Shops Like Off The Beaten Path Antiques & Gifts in McCalla decided not to open, postponing its reopening until Friday. Owner Cindy Berry, said she wanted her vendors to have plenty of time to set up, and disinfect items, before the store opens.

“Obviously we are Lysoling and sanitizing everything,” Berry said. “Before we leave tonight, we’ll mop everything with Clorox. Everything will be sanitized, and we’ll keep that going throughout the day tomorrow with guests coming in,” Berry explained.

Meanwhile, White House Interiors in Birmingham welcomed customers with a “Mask and Gloves” party. Staff greeted customers at the door donning masks and gloves. They also handed out coupons and special incentives to guests.

Both store owners said adjusting to this “new normal” will take some getting used to, but it beats staying closed.

“I think it’s going to be fairly easy for us,” said White House Interiors’ owner, Ann Marie James. “But we’re also going to be very mindful. Most importantly, we’re just ready to interact with our customers again. We have a nice loyal following, and we’re so grateful for that. We’re looking forward to seeing our customers again, and offering them some good deals,” James said.

James explained that social distancing won’t be a problem in her 24,000 square feet furniture store.

She said there’s plenty of room for 144 customers to browse without crowding each other.

She and staff members have been practicing staying six feet apart from each other as they work, and have placed markers on the floor, so customers can stand a safe distance apart at check out.

Only 30 customers at a time will be allowed inside Off The Beaten Path Antiques & Gifts, adhering to Governor Ivey’s policy of 50% capacity in stores.

Berry said customers, vendors and staff will need to stay a safe distance apart while shopping, and hand sanitizer will be available.

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