EAST AURORA, N.Y. (WKBW) — Retail stores on Main Street in East Aurora spent Monday preparing to reopen. Governor Andrew Cuomo said Western New York is expected to begin Phase II of reopening on Tuesday.
Customers would be allowed inside stores, currently only curbside pick-up is allowed. Denielle Webb owns The Dress Shop and put up Plexiglas at the counter, she made masks for her employees, and said she will be putting down social distancing markers. All that's missing for now are the customers.
"I get calls all day long, people asking when they can come in, and when they can start shopping again," she said.
Webb is putting other new procedures in place, particularly when it comes to the dressing rooms.
“When somebody tries something on, we’ll just leave it aside for 24 hours, and then we’ll put it back out the next morning," she said.
The store has suffered a 95% decline in business since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The nearly four decades old business had to do online orders for the first time. The return of customers also means the return of employees. Webb said she is bringing them back in phases after having to lay them off due to the pandemic.
Right up the stairs from The Dress Shop is the home decor and hand crafted goods store Recreate. Owner Carla Jennetti was just getting started, the store opened on February first.
“A blessing for me because as I said, I was only open for a month, so you had that first excitement of opening your store and seeing how everything goes and now I get to do it again," Jennetti said.
Sanitizing wipes now sit on the counter top. She said she will be frequently cleaning the surfaces in the store, especially the cash register and the banister after people come up the stairs.
Both business said they struggled with curbside pickup, and are looking forward to foot traffic returning to Main Street.
“This building has always been a retail building, and it probably hasn’t had a time in it’s history where it’s been this long since customers walked through its doors," said Webb.
People looking to shop will have to stick to more Main Streets and less malls. Malls are not a part of the Phase II reopening process unless the store has a separate outdoor entrance.