Many local businesses are still providing services while trying to maintain safety and guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This article is the first of a Record-Herald series where information from local businesses will be shared as they navigate the pandemic. The following information was collected from Lisa Faber who is the owner of Boutique on Main, Shannon Jacobs who is the owner of Indigo Roots Studio, Terry Gruber who is the owner of True Blue Tattoo, and Mandy Miller who is a realtor of Weade, Llc Realtors and Auctioneers.
According to Faber, Boutique on Main reopened on Thursday. Both of her employees, Ali Reeves and Carissa Hostetler, held out during the closure and are now back in the shop helping her.
For now, the shop is planned to be open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The hours of operation will be re-evaluated once the stay-at-home order is up, according to Faber.
In order to keep staff and customers safe, Faber explained that anytime clothes are tried on, but not purchased, those clothing items will be taken to the back to be steam cleaned and then put back out for sale the following day. The staff will be wearing masks and while customers aren’t required to wear masks, they are welcome to do so.
“They’re going to be disinfecting high-touch areas and cleaning throughout the day after every customer leaves. We have hand sanitizer for the customers and then the girls have hand sanitizer too,” said Faber.
There will also be markings on the floor for checkout to assist customers with staying six feet apart.
“We’re pushing our website as well,” said Faber. “We’re doing live sales once a week right now, but that will be pushed up to a couple times per week.”
Those live sales have been conducted throughout the pandemic while the boutique was closed and did well for the business, according to Faber. These live sales are held on the business Facebook page, “Boutique on Main.”
Faber shared that she did apply for a small loan — the emergency disaster loan — in early April and received it this past week. This loan has assisted with the reopening and with providing a bonus to her staff.
Faber further explained that she did not apply for the loan program for PPE that could be forgiven, as it has many stipulations that make it difficult for her smaller business to obtain.
Boutique on Main, 145 N. Main St. in Washington C.H., can be reached at 740-313-7013.
According to Jacobs, the retail portion of Indigo Roots Studio reopened on Thursday. For the time being, the hours will be Thursdays from noon to 5 p.m., Fridays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“We’re changing stuff up — 10 to 50 percent off of all of our retail stuff right now,” explained Jacobs. “We’re trying to move the inventory. We ordered so much stuff right before COVID happened. We were gearing up for the spring and so, now we have all this new stuff that no one’s even seen.”
“Everything has been super cleaned. We have cleaned the entire space, from ceiling to floor. All of our employees are going to be wearing masks,” said Jacobs. “We do ask that customers coming in wear masks just to be safe, but of course we can’t enforce that. And then wiping down all the touched surfaces.”
Although they usually don’t have too many shoppers in the downstairs retail space at once, they will be trying to limit the number of people allowed in the small space to five at a time, according to Jacobs.
As the classes side of Indigo Roots’ yoga studio counts as a gym, they are not yet able to reopen that side of the business. Per the recent orders from Ohio Governor Mike DeWine that gyms can reopen on May 26, that’s when the studio’s classes are planned to restart.
“Our main goal is to get the actual classes going again,” said Jacobs. “That’s really what I’m hoping to be able to transition to — creating new classes, some new workshops.”
Once classes can resume, the upstairs studio space is much bigger than the retail space downstairs, making social distancing much more doable and should allow for more than five people to be present at once, according to Jacobs.
Jacobs further explained that some of their plans for when they reopen classes include asking patrons to bring their own tools (such as yoga mats or blankets) for classes if the use of them are desired, as it would be difficult to properly sterilize the studio equipment between sessions.
“For right now, we hope that people who will come to the classes will bring their own things,” said Jacobs. “We do have mats at the studio that can be used. We’ve cleaned them all, and they’re all bagged individually so people can check them out, and then they have to turn them in to be cleaned after class.”
They are also considering another venture outside their studio.
“We’re hopeful that we’ll be able to do our big retreat. We moved it — it was supposed to happen in June, but we’re moving it to September. I’m hopeful that can still happen, because it is an outdoor yoga festival we do at my parents’ place in New Holland.”
The festival could be impacted if gatherings of more then 10 people are still not allowed as it tends to be well-attended and includes vendors.
“We’re trying to adhere to all of the recommendations and all of the rules,” said Jacobs. “It’s just a whole way of rethinking how you do things. It’s like — ‘okay, we just have to be really conscious of how we are taking care of ourselves, and how we’re taking care of our customers and students.”
Indigo Roots Studio, 118 W. Court St. in Washington C.H., can be reached at 740-572-0629.
According to Gruber, tattoo shops were first ordered to close on March 18 by Governor Mike DeWine during the efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“Being self-employed, the staff and I were not eligible for unemployment benefits, and therefore had to get other jobs to hold us over until we could reopen,” wrote Gruber. “When the Governor announced that he was reopening barbershops, and hair and nail salons, we were shocked that we were not included. Our industry has always been held to the highest standards of safety in compliance with the health department.”
Gruber explained that since opening True Blue Tattoo in 2012, safety has been their number one concern.
“We keep records for every customer, each procedure, what materials were used, lot numbers and expiration dates for all materials to track any potential health risks. We tattoo our customers in private rooms and limit them to one visitor. All of our tattoo equipment is either disposable or covered in a disposable plastic barrier. We disinfect the shop before we open, after we close and in between each customer using medical-grade cleaners,” wrote Gruber.
Each tattoo artist sees two-to-three customers per day during normal operations. Also during normal operations, staff wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) while tattooing, including aprons which are not required by law, according to Gruber.
According to the business’s Facebook page, after the recent order from DeWine allowing tattoo shops to reopen, True Blue Tattoo reopened on Friday by appointment only and are keeping the lobby closed. Customers who were already scheduled for appointments are being contacted in the order the appointments had been scheduled. Once those customers have been serviced, new appointments will be taken.
“We will be working overtime to try to get caught up so bear with us,” explains the post.
According to the post, all customers are being required to wear a face covering, come alone for appointments, and are asked to wait in vehicles until a call or text is received to come into the lobby (as the lobby will be locked).
“We have always gone beyond what is expected of us to ensure sanitation,” wrote Gruber. “Two weeks before we were forced to close, we had already implemented wearing face masks and goggles, closed our lobby, went to appointment only and asked customers to come by themselves to prevent overcrowding. Going forward, there may be additional safety guidelines required by our local health department that we will gladly follow. We have taken this pandemic very seriously from the beginning, and we will continue to do so. It is our hope that everyone else will do the same.”
True Blue Tattoo, 251 E. Court St. in Washington C.H., can be reached at 740-335-4465.
“(The Weade) office has continued to stay open as real estate was deemed essential,” explained Mandy Miller in an email. “While business has stayed steady, we have taken precautions to keep clients safe. When showing homes, all clients are asked to respect social distancing with their agent, to not touch doors and light switches (the agents handle those and wipe them down upon leaving homes), to sanitize their hands before entry and leaving.”
For clients that prefer it, the company is now offering virtual tours. Just in case clients still want the in-person tours, there are safety precautions in place that agents must be aware of when showing homes, according to Miller. Shoe covers and sanitary wipes are also accessible.
“We recently held an open house for one of our online real estate auctions, and it went very well. We only allowed five people in the home at a time, we marked spots six feet apart to allow for social distancing, and we wore masks as well as followed sanitary practices,” wrote Miller. “We are also hosting an online personal property auction. As we generally hold an in-person auction once or twice a month at the Weade auction center, we moved to the virtual option to respect COVID-19 safety precautions.”
Within their office, staff are wearing masks that feature the Weade logo and are using a sanitation station that is set up inside the office entrance.
“The real estate market in Fayette County has continued to stay hot considering interest rates are so low,” wrote Miller. “We are also experiencing a shortage of homes for sale, so when they come on the market and are priced right, they go under contract very soon, often with multiple offers.”
The Weade, Llc Realtors and Auctioneers office, 402 E. Court St. in Washington C.H., can be contacted at 740- 335-2210.
Local businesses and/ or independent contractors wishing to share information on how they are operating, procedures being undertaken during this time, reopening dates and information, etc. are welcome to contact Jennifer Woods by email at email@example.com or by phone at 740-313-0355.