There is a worldwide viral pandemic.
I imagine you have heard about it. My Studio Shop has been closed since the beginning of March and it is now July. Even though my shop just opened in September 2019, business was regularly increasing and I was having the best time running a retail store. But alas, our doors have been closed for over 100 days now.
So what next? People are asking - When are you going to re-open? Are you open yet? Are you opening soon? Are you open NOW?
Here is my answer: I have no idea. My shop is really small which presents a challenge when you need to stay 6 feet away from each other. Our neighbor, Clawson’s Deli was responsible for about 95% of our foot traffic, and they have also been closed since March. I was waiting to reopen until they did, but they have not yet opened. A couple of weeks ago I learned that they will re-open in August as a to-go-only establishment. I can’t wait for their sandwiches again! Unfortunately, it means that my foot traffic will not return because their customers will not be allowed inside to eat or wait for their order.
Our building has a locked door to get in - this keeps us safe and I love that, but it also means no one will be stopping by our store on a whim, even if I was fully reopened.
So luckily for me I have a website and we have curb-side pickup. I’ve been shipping products for almost 15 years so I have a handle on that, too. I have tossed around the idea of opening one weekend a month as a special event, maybe tied with a fundraiser?
But you guys - I’m still scared of this virus. My kids may not even be able to go back to school. Even if they can, should I send them? It seems irresponsible to send them to school when they catch regular colds at school on a regular basis. COVID-19 seems easier to catch than a cold, so you know, it seems unwise.
artwork by Daniel Gurwin
In the meantime, we are wearing masks and washing our hands and social distancing from each other in the studio as we make jewelry and pack orders. I am still ordering new fun things for the shop, just in smaller quantities. If you want to come and shop, I’m happy to let you in to browse (with a mask on). I know this too shall pass. I’m thankful for every order that comes in.
To all of my friends and colleagues in the retail industry, hang in there. We are in this together!