By Nathan Ham
Many people were happy to be out of the house and able to enjoy a sunny but chilly afternoon on the streets of Blowing Rock. Shoppers had a chance to visit their favorite retail stores after Governor Roy Cooper’s stay-at-home order was lifted and Phase 1 of reopening the state began at 5 p.m. on Friday.
“Families were glad we were back open, and we were glad to be able to help them start their summer wardrobe,” said Corinna Dietrich, owner of Almost Rodeo Drive.
People were shopping with a purpose, going in and picking out new clothing items, and happily making their purchase before going to the next store on their shopping list.
Monkee’s of Blowing Rock, owned by Jessica and Kenneth Wehrmann, were definitely ready to be back open.
“It was a lot busier than we anticipated. People were ready to get out and shop. I think people were respectful of each other for the most part,” said Jessica. “We are just trying to do all we can to keep everybody safe. We’re being extra careful and extra clean and I am encouraged that we are headed in the right direction.”
The owners noted that a lot of the shop visitors were people from neighboring counties making day trips and some seasonal homeowners that have been up here for a while and finally took advantage of being able to go out and shop.
Jessica says that they had been in touch with the Small Business Association and the National Retail Federation for guidelines on reopening, social distancing, and cleaning procedures.
“We are lucky that we have two doors so to control traffic flow, we have an entrance door and an exit door now. Our fitting rooms are open and we have a rack where customers can hang the merchandise they didn’t want and we will steam it to sanitize it before it goes back on the rack. For shoes we have an aerosol disinfectant spray that we are using on all of the shoes that are being tried on,” Jessica said. “At the beginning of the day and between customers, we are sanitizing the checkout counter, credit card machines, door handles, chairs, and any hard surface that is potentially collecting germs.”
Customers are not required to wear a mask, but Jessica says that employees will be wearing masks and they will have masks to give to customers if they would like one and also nice handmade masks for sale.
For those that are still hesitant about getting out and shopping, Monkee’s can still meet their customers’ needs.
“We took the shutdown time to work really hard getting our web presence created. We now have a fully shoppable website that can supplement our business and we do have a lot of customers taking advantage of it and using the pick up in store option. They still get to have that local buying connection,” said Kenneth Wehrmann. “They can pull up outside and we will run the bag out to their car. It’s a way that we have been able to take good advantage during the time we were unable to open to shoppers.”
Monkee’s of Blowing Rock is a ladies’ fashion boutique located in downtown Blowing Rock. They offer designer shoes, clothing, and accessories. Store hours are Monday – Saturday from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. with private shopping appointments available at 10 a.m. Monday – Saturday. Monkee’s will also continue curbside service and web sales at monkeesofblowingrock.com.