It’s not just coronavirus worries that may be on consumer’s minds as the state passes the one-week mark of being in Phase 3 of Gov. JB Pritzker’s Restore Illinois plan.
Retail businesses were allowed to reopen with safety operations such as the required use of masks and guidelines to stay 6 feet spaced apart.
But Joan Protano, client relations manager at Becky Beck’s Jewelry Store in DeKalb, said the recent protests in DeKalb may be driving down afternoon traffic into the store.
“I think there was an uptick at first but it seems like maybe there’s some pulling back with things going on in the community and nationwide,” Protano said. “Some people were out early (Thursday) and it was slower in the evening, and I think that’s indicative of what’s going on right now. There’s still some fear of the virus out there but everyone has been respectful of the distancing guidelines.”
The Black Lives Matter protests that have been held daily locally since Saturday were spurred by the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was seen in a video kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nine minutes prior to his death.
Some shops on Hillcrest and Annie Glidden, along with Sycamore Road were looted Sunday, though did not appear to be connected to the protest which took place earlier that afternoon. As of Friday morning, no other looting incidents have been reported.
Becky Becks is on Hillcrest Drive, about 2 miles east from where Thirsty’s Discount Liquor had their glass door smashed. Becky Beck’s is closed Sundays and Mondays normally anyway, Protano said. She said they didn’t board up, but instead said “a lot of prayers.”
Lauren Woods, owner of Cracker Jax in downtown DeKalb, said they remained open on Monday.
“We were worried [after the looting on Sunday] but [the protesters] were peaceful and kind,” Woods said. “They are just saying what they are feeling. What happened was a terrible thing.”
Since reopening Friday, Woods said business has been a little slower than usual.
“It was a really good weekend,” Woods said. “A lot of regulars came by and were happy to see us again and we were happy to see them again. Just a lot of people out and about and shopping in a return to the new normal.”
Woods said the front of the store has sanitizer, gloves and masks for customers to use. She said there hadn’t been any problems so far with people refusing to use them.
Ken Eilliot, owner of Made Just For You gift shop in downtown Sycamore, reported the same thing as Woods and Protano – no issues with customers refusing to follow safety guidelines.
“There’s been no problems at all. No problems with crowing,” Elliot said. “Customers come in wearing masks, using hand sanitizer at will. We’ve got it at the front counter, and they’re taking care of business.”
Phil Henrikson, the owner of the Gaming Goose in downtown DeKalb, said business is slightly down but nothing that wasn’t expected.
“It’s nice to be reopened,” Henrikson said. “We had a lot of people eager to visit the shop come on it. They’ve been able to see we’ve stayed busy getting in new product, cleaning up in general but also the back end of the business the customer’s don’t really get to see. It helps us be more responsive.”
Protano said the company is running a special men’s showcase next week, with details available on its website.
She said everybody is doing what they can to be safe.
“A majority of people are coming in with masks,” Protano said. “If they forget we have masks they can avail themselves of or go back to their car. Everybody is keeping distance as much as we can. We’ve take precautions in the tools we use and the jewelry we’re bringing in. We’re just trying our best to be cautious.”
Source: The Daily Chronicle
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