Some small businesses make changes for safety’s sake as reopening begins

Erie County

At first glance, Phase 1 doesn’t look much different than before.

It’s hard to find many businesses doing anything differently than they were before.

Curbside pickup at Runners Roost in Orchard Park looks very similar to what they were doing for weeks before Phase 1 kicked in.

“Most importantly, what it goes change if anything, I’m allowed to have more than one employee in the store with me to help operate. Even though we were operating curbside before, for me to answer phones, try to answer emails, order the regular operations was a challenge for sure but now I could have an employee here today helping,” co-owner of Runners Roost Rob Fox said.

Whether it’s the Elmwood strip or Main Street in Williamsville, most stores are still closed, either because they’re not ready yet, or curbside pickup is not practical, or their employees are in no hurry to give up the $600 unemployment benefit.

Co-owner of Campus Wheel Works Ethan Johnson says, “Their employees may have had to go on unemployment now are getting an extra $600 a week and that has made it very interesting to convince people to come back to work in what could be considered a more dangerous situation for possibly less money.”

Clayton’s Toy Store in Williamsville has been doing curbside pickup before but still can’t allow customers inside.

It’s the oldest continually operating toy store in America but without allowing customers to bond in and browse the items, it’s still far from businesses as usual.”

“The only thing that is a little bit different really is the thought of bringing some staff back to help us out getting the orders out and helping customers,” co-owner Kellie Klos says. “As of today, it’s still phone orders and web orders and running all around the store trying to help as best we can.”

And until more storefronts open up and more people feel comfortable window shopping, small shops like Time and Time Watch and Click Repair is still doing appointment only work in Phase 1.

Co-owner David Joseph says, “in people’s mind, it would be relaxation. They would walk freely and get their services done without any hesitation yet we keep the restrictions of being socially distant from each other, so we protect each other, so that is why people are not coming so the businesses can not afford the full fledged income.”

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