IRONTON, OH (WOWK) — A sense of normalcy is returning to the streets in Ohio as Governor Mike DeWine is allowing retail shops to reopen. DeWine says this will allow for 89% of Ohio’s economy to once again be up and running.
At Unger’s Shoe Store in Ironton, they’re putting their best foot forward in keeping customers and employees safe.
“If you come here, and you don’t have a mask, we will provide a mask,” said Joe Unger, the owner of Unger’s Shoe Store. “Each person will receive a specialized fitting behind a shield, the area will be disinfected after each customer, and then we will have a line waiting in their cars so all social distancing guidelines will be intact.”
Unger’s, which has been around since 1937, was closed for 6 weeks. The last time the store closed was during World War II. However, thanks to the innovative thinking of his kids, Unger took his shop online, over the phone, and even offered curbside delivery. But even with these ideas, business suffered.
“Some days (business) was (down) 95%, other days it might have been 70%, but I’d say a good average was our sales were down about 80% throughout the pandemic,” said Unger. “Today is a great day,” he added, excited to reopen his store.
But while businesses across the Buckeye State are beginning to reopen, some of them are still siding on the air of caution. One of them choosing to keep their doors closed is the Vault Market.
“We wanted to make sure that we were safe and our families were as well,” said Abby Kuehne, who co-owns the Vault Market with Amanda Cleary. “My daughter has an autoimmune disease and her doctor wasn’t able to tell us that she wasn’t at a higher risk if she would get the infection through the virus.”
And much like Unger, the Vault Market has moved a lot of its business online; they’re even scheduling appointments for folks to come inside the store on the days they’re not doing curbside pickup. Kuehne hopes to open by the first week of June.
“When we do open, we will require everyone to wear a mask when they enter, and it does make you a little bit uncertain about what that interaction would be if somebody wouldn’t want to respect our decision as business owners to do so,” Kuehne said.
Next on Ohio’s list of businesses allowed to reopen are barber shops and salons on Friday, May 15, 2020, along with outdoor dining for restaurants and bars.