Retailers slated to reopen in time for Mother’s Day

Published 4:55 pm Thursday, May 7, 2020

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Just in time for Mother’s Day, a number of local retail businesses will be reopening this weekend, as the North Carolina enters Phase One of a three-step reopening process.

While some local retailers have continued to sell their wares online and via curbside pickup, others have had to close their doors for more than a month.

With Phase One of the reopening process removing the distinction between essential and non-essential businesses, this weekend is the first time many retailers have been able to reopen, or felt comfortable having shoppers in their stores.

For the staff at Little Shoppes and South Market Antiques, the decision to close came March 17, before Gov. Roy Cooper’s stay-at-home order went into place. Now, eight weeks later, store co-owner Pat Lewis says the store is ready to open its doors Saturday. They’ll be open from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and the same hours Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays for the rest of May.

“We’re limiting hours, we’re doing social distancing, we’re going to wear masks and strongly urge our customers to wear masks,” Lewis said. “We’ll have hand sanitizer at the front and back doors and keep wiping everything down with disinfectant. We want everybody to be safe, but we do need to get a little bit of business going.”

Lewis says that Mother’s Day is typically a big holiday for shoppers, and she’s hoping that people will be ready to start supporting small businesses again.

Lewis’ other business, Cups and Cones, which she also owns with Rebecca Clark and Jayne Meisell, has also reopened for takeout as of last week, after being shut down since March 25.

“Some people are out of work and are not going to have any money to spend, so I understand that, but I think that everybody wants to help out the small businesses as much as possible,” Lewis said.

Just down the block from South Market Antiques, Lemonade Art Gallery is another business preparing to reopen its doors this weekend. Gallery owner Carol Mann says her business has been closed since March 23, but she’s “cautiously optimistic” about this weekend.

“We’re going to be open 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. just on Saturday, we thought maybe to welcome Mother’s Day,” Mann said. “For the rest of the month, we’ll be open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays for the rest of May. We’ll reevaluate at the end of the month.”

Because space can be tight in her shop, Mann says they’ll probably only let in a few people at a time, and do everything else they can to protect the health of both shoppers and employees.

Across Main Street, at Wine & Words & Gourmet, store owner Mary Mehlich says her business has been subsiding on curbside orders of wine and beer, with customers either calling in or messaging their orders through Facebook. She’s taking orders Fridays from 2 to 6 p.m., and then Saturdays from 1 to 5 p.m., but she’s not quite ready to reopen her doors to customers. For her, it’s a decision to protect her own health.

“People need to understand that this is a very virulent kind of virus,” Melich said. “It’s not you’re typical flu. People need to understand that it’s highly contagious and for people like me, and older folks who have health issues, it jeopardizes them.”

A detailed listing of guidance for businesses reopening is available at