LONG BEACH (CBSLA) — It’s been one week since retail stores in L.A. County received the green light to open for curbside pickup.
Those who chose to take the county up on their offer to reopen are now figuring out how to operate with customers forced to shop from the sidewalk — or the internet.READ MORE: Kristine Lazar, CBS2/KCAL9 Investigative Reporter, Takes Home LA Area Emmy Saturday
Katie Barish, owner of The Better Half Boutique in Long Beach, said her store has been doing fairly well since reopening, thanks to social media and an influx of special occasions.
“Birthdays…graduations…Mother’s Day was huge last week for us,” she said.
Barish said she’s been posting all merchandise to the store’s social media accounts for customers to peruse. If they don’t find what they’re looking for, she is providing personalized recommendations.
“They’ll just message me and say like, ‘Hey, I need a birthday gift,’ and they’ll describe that person or whatever their needs are, and then I send them back ideas,” she said.
Better Half Boutique is one of few stores in the Bixby Knolls area of Long Beach that has decided to operate through curbside pickup. Most have kept their doors shut, including several clothing stores.READ MORE: Daniel Williams, 24, Arrested In Connection To Saturday Fatal Double Shooting In Downtown Long Beach
The stores that are open were visited by the city and given specific safety guidelines for operation.
“I’m spraying and wearing gloves and a mask and doing whatever I can to make sure [customers] feel safe,” said the owner of Stateside Craft.
He said while most orders come from online, many are picking up in person. So, the store is focused on minimizing contact.
“Take a look at what we have [online], and you can purchase from there,” the owner said. “I put together your order for you and leave it at the front door for you, so there’s very little contact.”
That contact and connection with customers is what retailers say they miss the most about operating normally. However, they agreed they’re grateful to be able to open their doors, even if it feels very different.MORE NEWS: LA County Continues To See COVID-19 Surge, Doctor Says Not Getting Vaccine Reckless
Gov. Gavin Newsom said that stores can begin to reopen for in-person shopping when individual counties feel they can contain COVID-19. Officials in L.A. County say they feel the county just isn’t there yet.