As non-essential businesses got the green light from the governor to reopen their doors on Friday, Chris’ Halifax Barbershop opened its doors at 99 S. Main St. for business for the first time.
Even though he was open by appointment only, owner Chris Owen had a client in his barber’s chair all day long.
“I opened bright and early, at 6 a.m. I’m working 6 a.m. until 6 p.m. today and tomorrow. I’ve got people lined up all day tomorrow, and I’m working on Monday, too,” Owen said. “I was planning on eight-hour days, but a lot of people have been without haircuts for a while. I’m trying to do as many people as I can.”
By 5 p.m. Friday, Owen had cut the hair of 16 clients. One of those clients was Stanley Noblin, who was glad to see a barber shop open in downtown Halifax.
“It will enhance this area,” Noblin said. “It will definitely help brighten up this part of Halifax.”
Owen had planned to open his barbershop on March 24, but he was unable to do so because of the governor’s executive order mandating the closure of non-essential businesses including barbershops. The order was lifted on Friday.
Although the delayed opening was not ideal, Owen said he was able to do some additional work to the building before opening the barbershop, such as refinishing the floors. And his first day of business confirmed that there is a need for a “hometown barber shop” in downtown Halifax.
“It’s been a great day. I’ve gotten a warm reception,” Owen said.
Just down the street from the new barbershop, a family-owned restaurant that has been in Halifax for 15 years, the Molasses Grill, was staying busy. Co-owner and chef Steven Schopen and staff member Nicholas Johnson worked steadily bringing out customers’ orders for curbside pickup and placing them on a table in front of the restaurant.
Although there was no physical contact between the restaurant staff and guests, the customer service was in no way lacking. Schopen greeted each customer who came up to the table and made sure the customers’ orders were ready to go.
Molasses Grill temporarily closed at the end of March because of the COVID-19 pandemic and recently reopened for curbside service only.
“We started the regular curbside service on May 7. We want to keep it as contactless as possible to keep everyone safe,” said Lauren Schopen, daughter of owners Steven and Karen Schopen. “We like to remain flexible and adaptable to our customers’ needs. After 15 years of business, we’re going to continue to adapt to meet the needs of our community.”
Since the restaurant’s reopening, Lauren said business has been steady.
“This community is so supportive and has the best regular customers. We have been so blessed by our guests who have been dining with us for the past 15 years,” Lauren said.
She added, “We try to offer as many local ingredients as we can and try to partner with other local businesses and farmers, and we’re glad that we have still been able to do that during this time.”
KJ’s Cake Creations in South Boston has had to make adjustments and become creative in ways to keep business flowing into their South Boston business, and after a few weeks of uncertainty owner Kisha Jackson says that she is seeing things improve.
Jackson said that when the coronavirus pandemic first came into Halifax and a doctor at the hospital tested positive, she had a decision to make. She said a lot of traffic from the hospital came into her store daily, and she had to decide whether to remain open or close her doors.
She was able to find a way to do a little of both. First she changed her hours of operation from being open on Thursday, Friday and Saturday to pick up and preorders only.
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, they take preorders via text and use those days to shop for the supplies needed and to make sure the shop stays clean and sanitized.
At KJ’s, they wipe down everything in the morning and also about halfway through the day. They change gloves each time they move to a new order, and they also wipe down the counters and door handles when a customer exits the store.
Jackson says that the pre-order business has done very well for them, and they are going to continue operating under the pre order system for the time being. She said even though the governor has started phase one of the reopening plan, she feels that the pre-order plan is working for them.
Another benefit of the pre-order system Jackson says is cutting back on waste. She said at times they would have two dozen cupcakes leftover and other items, but now that they know exactly what they need to prepare each day, it has cut back dramatically on waste leaving little to none.
It has been a change for Jackson and KJ’s Cake Creations in the last several months, going from having 40-50 people in and out of the shop during the day to some days bringing in less than $30, but Jackson feels that things are getting better and that they will continue to get better in the weeks and months ahead.
Mark Smith, general manager at Terry of South Boston says that they have been “maintaining” since the coronavirus pandemic hit and have been encouraging customers to shop online.
While customers have the option to shop online and have the dealership deliver the vehicle to them, Smith said that their showroom is still open as well as their service department.
The service department is still providing full service for customers including state inspections.
Smith says that while things have been a little slow compared to other years, they are still able to do business.
Terry of South Boston is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. and on Saturday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.
David McCollum of McCollum-Ferrell Famous Shoe’s in South Boston said he has been open since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, and while there have been good days and bad days, they are starting to see an uptick in business lately.
McCollum said that there have been certain lines of shoes such as Birkenstock that have really helped them. With 26 different styles, there has been a demand with the spring in full swing and the summer months fast approaching.
He said Mother’s Day weekend was their best days by far since the coronavirus pandemic began. McCollum said two different times over that weekend they had to have people wait outside of the store because they had met the limit of patrons inside.