essential businesses

Pet Store Looks for Ways to Safely Serve Customers During Coronavirus Outbreak

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Thousands of businesses aren't sure when they'll be allowed to open. Following Gov. Ned Lamont's order, only essential services can operate for the time being. Pet stores are among those considered essential.

Those staying open are doing what they can to keep themselves and their customers safe.

Inside Green Tails Market in Farmington, there are no customers browsing the shelves, but they're busier than ever.

"A lot of folks have been buying double the amount they usually buy. People have been buying something and then a couple days later buying the same thing again," said Green Tails Market owner Ann Fryer.

As online stores become less reliable with stock, the pet shop on Farmington Avenue has seen a surge in first-time customers. To keep up with the demand as well as the need to social distance, shoppers are being asked not to come inside. Orders are now all online, via text, or over the phone. Delivery and curbside pickup are the options available for customers to get their items.

For those choosing curbside pickup, customers are being asked to pop their trunks so workers can place the products directly inside and keep social distance.

"In order to keep moving and keep them supplied, we want to keep that physical distance, sanitize everything as much as possible, and limit the number of people in our store," said Fryer.

As customers continue to call in, they, like locally-owned shops all across the country are trying to predict the demand and balance that with how much product to stock.

"We don't want to have so much stuff that then when the pendulum swings the other way we have all this stock and no money to pay the bills. I don't anticipate that happening, but it's really a tightrope. We're really trying to have enough but not too much," said Fryer.

Fryer says customers have been understanding and supportive of the changes, and that they'll stay open as long as they can do it safely.

"We love this store so much, and this is literally what gets me out of bed every day because I love being here. And I love serving the community," said Fryer.

Because Green Tails Market already had a delivery option in place, it's been a bit easier to transition to the new way of serving customers. Employees inside the shop are also maintaining social distancing. Everyone is doing their part to get people the items they need but to also stop the spread.

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