How have things changed for you since you’ve been allowed to re-open?
Well, first, there’s the general answer that everyone else is also experiencing: my customer counts are low. I’ve cut back on hours, and don’t stay open late, because the restaurants are not staying open late. I don’t work on Sundays. Like all the other businesses, I have hand sanitizer, and everybody who comes in is required to wear a mask.
Another thing, although the tourists we all relied on are not here yet to the extent they were in previous years, I have, however, had some visitors come in each weekend, so that is a good sign. These people are mostly from Washington, DC, just looking to get away. I think people are traveling to areas that are a little more opened up other than they are. I’ve had visitors from the Philly area as well.
Now let’s talk about some of the real positives. There’s been a common misperception as to parking space. Although lunchtimes can still be a little bit tricky, the rest of the time is not a problem. Parking shouldn’t change when they close off Washington Street, either. As Ross (Benincasa from Discover Easton) indicated, there are nearly 900 spaces, either downtown or touching downtown. Now that’s a lot of space.
There is one more difference that I should mention. In this particular trade, stock is always changing anyway, but I think a lot of people used the time they had off to clean and consolidate and get things in order in their houses, which of course, has benefited my business. And so, the influx of new stock has been much higher and much steadier. So frankly, if you were thinking of coming down, probably now is the best time to shop, because there’s a lot of new inventory.