By Dennis Minich
Gradually, the business community in Cass County got back in business following the expiration of the stay-at-home order May 4. And while restrictions keep things from being “back to normal,” at least some businesses have been able to open their doors.
Golden Classics Jewelry was able to reopen having been closed since March 11. The opening allowed the store to be open for Mother’s Day.
“Mother’s Day is one of the major holidays for the jewelry business so it was nice being able to be open. We had some pretty good traffic the first week,” co-owner Tim Soulis said.
The store opened by appointment only for the first few days and Soulis said figuring out a way to stay open, but keeping everyone safe is a challenge.
“We are kind of feeling our way through this, what is the smart way to do business? We want to keep our customers safe, our people and ourselves safe,” he said.
In addition to jewelry, Golden Classics also does business buying and selling gold and silver. Soulis noted the market for the metals is in an odd shape.
“The law of supply and demand is out of whack right now,” he said.
The price of silver is down about 20 percent from before the COVID-19 outbreak, but there is very little silver available on the wholesale market.
“The supply is too low, despite the low demand,” Soulis said.
Troby’s Home Appliance Center was allowed to stay open as an essential business, but co-owner Earlene Troby said they mostly did repair work and sales for replacements until last week.
“It does bother us that we can’t provide the service like we’d like, but we are still open,” Troby said.
The store now limits just six customers at a time and Troby said most people have been very cooperative with the situation.
“People have been really good about coming in and getting what they need and not standing around. We’ve had people wait out front in their cars, like they are waiting for others to come out before they come in. They are doing what they are supposed to do,” Troby said.
One business area which was totally off limits during the stay at home were barber shops and beauty salons. Action at these businesses has been brisk since reopening last week.
Dusty Ferrell opened May 4, a Monday, despite normally being closed on Mondays. He was also open on Monday this week, but said he would go back to his normal Tuesday through Saturday schedule next week.
“I have worked by appointment only and don’t have people sitting in the waiting room. I have one person out then one person in,” he said.
He also noted extra cleaning measures have been instituted between customers, but he already “tore down” his work station after every customer.
The three major flea markets in the city all reported brisk business after reopening.
Lani Cook at Trade Fair said the store could have been opened during the stay-at-home order as an essential business since they sell food and home supplies, but were closed until April 29.
“We’ve had a lot of people come in her for Little Debbie’s and shampoo and
laundry soap. People are just glad to be back in here,” Cook said.
The store has partitioned off the store for a single entrance and a separate exit and marked spacing on the floor.
“We limited ourselves to 35 people in the store the first week, but we are big
enough we can have a lot of people in here and still not be at the 10 percent
level,” she said.
The store did shorten its hours the first two weeks, but will return to 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. next Sunday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
Lavonna Blair at Keepers Antique Mall said they reopened May 4 and have had steady business, but didn’t have to set any special precautions.
“Its not like we are going to have 100 people come in here. We have been a
little slow because I think there are still people who aren’t comfortable going out yet,” Blair said.
Rachel Ward, manager at Treasure of the Past, said business has been very
brisk since reopening on April 29.
“The first day was really busy and Mother’s Day was really busy. But we’ve been steady the whole time,” she said.
Ward noted they have had the single entrance and exit, but the main thing has been sanitation.
“We have been cleaning continuously,” she said.