Local Retail Businesses Pivot to Keep Holiday Shopping Safe

By: Kady Weddle

As COVID climate heats up and the threat of businesses closing circle in, the holiday shopping season may look very different this year. As shoppers become more concerned for their health while getting out, local retail businesses are being forced to pivot their models in an attempt to reach their customers in a safer, more convenient way.

We’ve already seen a huge restructure in the dining industry as restaurants and coffee shops moved into offering online orders, curb-side pickup, digital menus, and a variety of delivery options. Now retail has seemed to followed suite.
SOAP Refill Station, located at 7441 Broadway Boulevard, has implemented a Friday Delivery Day. “As an ‘essential business’, we could and did remain open in our Brick and Mortar shop in Wald,” says Co-owner Anne Dezort. “However, we had to come up with a responsible way to get our customers what they needed in a sustainable and safe way for us as well as them.”

For only $5, orders will be left on customer’s doorsteps using a ‘no-contact’ method. Shoppers receive a text including a photo of items at their door, so they know to come out and grab their goodies when the coast is clear.

“Our customers love it,” exclaims Dezort. “I think a lot of working folks and home dwellers alike are happy to have a service that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, and also offers a way to manage the waste of single use options without leaving the home or office.”

Orders can be placed by calling the shop during open hours or by completing an online form. “For the most part, offering delivery kept our brand-new business a float in a very questionable time,” says Dezort. “We will continue to offer it as an option as long as folks want us to!”

Fiddly Fig, located at 9716 Holmes Road, has also added no-contact delivery options as well as curb side pickup to help keep their customers safe and healthy.
Waldo Jewelers is currently accepting individual appointments to buy client’s gold, silver and platinum as well as offer and utilize their repair services.

And even though exercise isn’t exactly retail, Blue Bicycle of Red Bridge Shopping Center encouraged members to take equipment, such as treadmills, spin bikes, and weights, home with them. In an effort to keep members healthy and continue to support them, Owner Jan Schmidt hopes that members will continue to support her when this is all over. “Any time you can maintain that connection (with your members) it definitely helps,” she says.

However, the most impressive adaptation comes from Sidelines Custom Floral Designs. Owner Karyn Brooke has curated and launched an entire online shopping experience called Hey Hootie.

“Our customers have trusted us for over 35 years to help commemorate all of life’s intimate moments and our hope is that they will trust us now to send them happy things straight to the comfort of their own homes,” says Brooke.

Customers are now able to peruse the same in-store merchandise they would find at Sidelines, but safely online. Items ship directly to the customer’s front porch and gift givers can even enclose a holiday message so purchases can be shipped directly to family and friends.

“We’ve been dreaming of being able to offer our unique finds online for years,” Brooke explains. “One good thing that came out of this crazy year is that we have had the time to focus and make it a reality. We get such a kick out of finding things to sell in the shop that we know our customers will love.”

So how did she arrive at the name, Hey Hootie? Well, instead of the normal expected profanity, Karyn has been known to say, “I don’t give a high hootie.” “Not a clue where that comes from,” says Brooke, “but we’re embracing it.”
So why the, “Hey?” Well apparently, it’s the way Karyn and her employees communicate. Nearly every sentence begins with, “Hey.” …”Hey, are those flowers ready,” “Hey, can you work Saturday?”… You get the idea.

In lieu of having to cancel her annual Holiday Open House and Private Shopping Nights, Brooke hopes this digital shopping experience will help her customers stay connected to the store and continue to enjoy the unique items and gifts Sidelines has to offer. You can visit the store at http://www.heyhootie.com.

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