With the announcement of curbside pick-up for retailers being an option, a few businesses around Carver County are finally getting the chance to start reopening. While this is helpful to them, many businesses are preparing for the second phase: a full reopening. With May 18 just around the corner, many owners are looking to the future, and what they will need to do given the current events.
For many businesses, delivery has been the go to option for the last month of shelter in place, if they have one at all. Essential businesses have had a bigger range of options, such as Watertown Pharmacy offering limited delivery and curbside pick-up for prescriptions, or Norwood Young America’s The Quilting Grounds’ online store front and bringing orders out to customers in front.
Restaurants throughout this process have been figuring out how to stay afloat while maintaining the new health codes. For some, such as Mario’s Italian, were already set up for delivery. Other restaurants had to adjust quite a bit to the idea of delivery and take out, even completely changing their hours to meet the demand. R&B Café in Watertown, known for breakfast and lunch, has moved to dinner hours for takeout, for example.
Despite the challenges, though, many businesses are hard at work.
“We received a lot of orders for Mother’s Day,” said Liz Cham, owner of Gemma Floral and Gifts in Norwood Young America. “We’re going to be only doing delivery moving forward, and we’re offering it to all the surrounding communities.”
Mario Cortolezzis of Mario’s Italian fame has also seen a lot of activity over the last couple months. Cortolezzis has been underway preparing for a new restaurant while keeping up with deliveries and the food truck. Even then, though, he admits that the business is seeing some challenges.
“Restaurants already have tight margins, so we’ve had to reinvent ourselves every week just to keep them up,” he said. “There’s just nothing that replaces dine in and alcohol sales, even with the truck and delivery.”
Even with just curbside pick up, businesses are finding ways to work.
“We of course cleaned our coffee pots and everything involved before, but now we’ve been treating the whole store the same,” said Stacey Horton, owner of The Quilting Grounds. “Once things open back up, we’ll keep cleaning.”
Rose Rosdahl, owner and pharmacist of Watertown Pharmacy, echoed this.
“We’ve been doing a lot of cleaning to get ready for opening,” she said.
Watertown Pharmacy even reopened itself last week, with a few caveats in order to keep everyone, staff and customers, healthy. For one, no one can be in the store without a mask, per CDC recommendations. While there isn’t an exact limit on how many people can be in the store, Rosdahl did state that they would limit if needed. Customers are also asked to come through the entrance in the hallway of the building, not the street entrance, as it’s easier for the staff the check if a customer is adhering the mask requirement.
For some, though, that planning ahead comes with a few concerns. In Cortolezzis’ case, the concern with reopening is still the uncertainty of the timing.
“If we were told we could reopen tomorrow, I don’t think we could,” he said. “I’d have to order everything I need, wine, food, everything, and capacity is just another thing to think about. We’d need time to get ready.”
For others, though, they’re ready for the possible reopen.
“Our supplies aren’t from China, so we didn’t experience the drop a lot of people did,” said Horton. “Some deliveries are a little slower, but for the most part there hasn’t been a big slow down.”
What all the business folks in Western Carver County seem to agree on, though, is that the community coming together made everything just a little more worth it. Whether that was community members ordering their favorite food for takeout and delivery to help out restaurants, customers quickly adjusting to an online marketplace and respecting social distancing, or local chambers and community members donating their money and time to help out.
“I’m really thankful for the community for everything that they’ve done through this time,” said Rosdahl.
“We’ve thankful that people have been thinking of us for Mother’s Day,” said Cham. “We’re hoping to get ready for graduation soon.”
Gemma Floral and Gifts will continue doing delivery in NYA and surrounding communities throughout the stay at home order and beyond. Visit their website gemmafloralgifts.com to browse their options. The Quilting Grounds is taking online orders as well and they bring your order out to the curb. They also have their coffee available for takeout. Visit thequiltinggrounds.com to take a look at their stock. Watertown Pharmacy is officially open for retail, and all they ask is that customers come to the hallway entrance and wear a mask. Mario’s Italian is still offering delivery and takeout, and their foodtruck is still going around to parks throughout Minnesota. Call 952-955-2115 to order your favorites.
These aren’t the only businesses offering curbside pickup and delivery. Visit Facebook pages and websites to see what your favorite shops, salons, and more are doing during COVID-19.