Shoppers Slowly Embracing Reopened Businesses

Some non-essential retailers opened Wednesday, providing opportunity for shoppers, though many national chain stores opt to remain closed.

NBC Universal, Inc.

At South Windsor’s Promenade Shops at Evergreen Walk, shoppers were making the most of Connecticut’s reopening.

“It’s like a party,” said shopper Mary Beth Kelly.

Kelly drove across the state border to take advantage. She lives in Massachusetts where non-essential retailers remain closed. Surprised though, she noticed many of the larger national retailers weren’t open. Still she was happy to be shopping again.

“I’m glad to just be out of the house and walking around. I’m disappointed but I’m gonna save some money that way,” said Kelly.

According to Promenade Shops at Evergreen Walk management, twelve new stores were able to reopen Wednesday. Some national chain stores remain closed but could be opening soon.

“Any reopening has been very fluid at this point. I know that all of the national retailers that aren’t open today are looking forward to reopening,” explained Marketing Director Nicole Powell.

Business owners who did open today were excited but say the wait was difficult.

“Eight weeks felt like eight years,” said Tom Wholley.

Wholley and his wife Kathy operate Connecticut Mattress, which was among the many retail stores reopened today.

“I look at it as a brand new beginning for everyone and for our stores,” said Kathy Wholley.

Munson’s Chocolates is another business welcoming customers. Until Wednesday, the eight store chain had only offered curbside pickup at its Bolton location. To reopen, Munson’s reorganized stores to comply with social distancing regulations and CDC guidelines.

“We’ve been preparing like crazy for it. We’ve done a lot of changes in all the stores, just preparing for it,” said Rebecca Saint James of Munson’s Chocolates.

As part of the reopening guidelines, all businesses must adhere to safety rules. Surrounding Evergreen’s outdoor shopping property is signage reminding people to remain socially distant. There also sanitizer stations. Inside stores, masks are required by staff and customers.

Business Wednesday was better than it has been in several months although not yet to the point where it once was. Business owners who spoke with NBC Connecticut said the number of shoppers was lower than before the closures but that is to be expected.

“I think it’s just gonna take some time to get people out of the houses and to feel comfortable again,” explained Wholley.

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