Some Cove businesses reopen, weigh in on service options
By BRITTANY FHOLER
Several retail businesses in Copperas Cove reopened Friday after Gov. Greg Abbott issued his recent Executive Order GA-16.
The order allowed for the reopening on Friday of non-essential retail businesses that had previously been ordered to close, though these services aren’t considered essential, they can be provided through curbside pickup, delivery by mail, or delivery to the customer’s doorstep in compliance with the terms required by DSHS. The DSHS requirements may be found at www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus.
Locally, Ann Slanis of Q.I.Y.- Quilt It Yourself, at 2703 Willow Loop in Kempner just off South F.M. 116, closed her doors for just over two weeks before she was able to reopen after filing for an exemption.
During that time, Slanis and a small group of women made masks for first responders in the area.
When Gov. Abbott issued his executive order closing non-essential businesses, Slanis went online and filled out an application for an exemption to allow her store to remain open. Her application mentioned the fact that Q.I.Y. was supplying the products needed for people to make face masks in the surrounding area.
She was eventually granted her exemption on April 14 and opened her doors back up on April 21 with restrictions: customers must wear a mask to enter the store; limit of five people at a time with social distancing guidelines being observed; staff will also wear a face mask and have hand sanitizer at the register and will wipe down the credit card reader and other touchable items.
Slanis said she has remained busy and still does not have elastic, something she called “a commodity more precious than gold.”
“I don’t have the same considerations as other business owners, so being open or closed is not life or death for me,” Slanis said. “However, I am happy that my quilt customer family can get the fabrics they need again, without having to resort to online shopping. That is definitely a hardship for a few of my ladies that are not computer savvy.”
GameStop at 301 Constitution Dr., has been offering curbside service throughout the pandemic.
Assistant Manager Alyssa Friedman said that towards the beginning of the stay at home orders, the store had been forced to close down for part of one day before being able to reopen again the next day. Customers can place their order by calling (254) 518-1702 or by selecting the option to pick up in store online at www.gamestop.com. Employees will call customers when their order is ready for pickup. The store offers the option for pickup at door or with employees going out to the customer’s car.
“Honestly, I feel like I like this a lot better,” Friedman said about the curbside pickup option. “When it first started, I was a little bit uncomfortable working with people coming in, but my management has been really great and has told me multiple times if I don’t feel comfortable working, I do not have to come in, just to give them a heads up about it, and I feel a lot better that I’m in a controlled environment still with people not coming in the store. I can make sure I’m wearing gloves and a mask when I go outside to talk to them, and when I hand it to them through the door.”
The store has been busy throughout, with some days busier than others, and people calling a lot, she added.
“We just try to help people as much as we can to get their video games, or I know a lot of people are getting PC accessories- keyboards and mouses and webcams too because everyone’s working online,” Friedman said. “Typically not what people come in here for on a normal basis but right now, we definitely have a lot more people buying stuff like that.”
In the same shopping center, at Suite #100, Sally Beauty Supply began offering store pickup service on Friday.
Customers can call the store at 866-234-9442 and request their items If those items are in-stock, they will pay over the phone and then go to the store to pick up their order. They can call the store or knock on the door to pick up their items. They can also order online at Customers can also order online at https://www.loc8nearme.com/texas/copperas-cove/sally-beauty/1104040/ and pick up at the store.
Across the country, Sally Beauty Supply stores are slowly opening back up to serve the needs of their customers. In some areas, certain stores have offered curbside pickup service all along during this time, while others closed completely.
Jeff Harkins, vice president of investor relations and strategic planning, explained that the reopening of Texas’ retail businesses helps ease the load on the Sally Beauty warehouses.
With the closing of the majority of Sally Beauty Supply stores, customers have had to resort to ordering their products online, which is great from a demand perspective, but not so much when it comes to keeping up with the orders, Harkins said.
On Sally Beauty’s Facebook page, customers have left comments on several of the brand’s posts about not receiving their orders yet.
“The problem is we’re not an e-comm business designed to handle 100 percent of our orders’ sales online,” Harkins said.
Historically, Sally Beauty has seen roughly five percent of sales online with the rest in store, prior to COVID-19, he added.
With the closing of stores and the online orders coming in, it has created a “bottleneck of orders,” Harkins explained.
Some stores in certain areas were offering curbside service and ship to store or same day delivery options during the stay at home orders. With the recent executive order, more stores are able to reopen, taking some of the pressure off of the warehouses.
“Opening these stores ultimately I think is helpful to give customers an option to come down and do curbside pickup versus trying to go through e-comm and having to wait a little bit longer to get the product,” Harkins said.
Harkins added that COVID-19 is a very different situation compared to the recession in 2008, which Sally Beauty also mustered through.
“It’s interesting to watch how this business operates,” Harkins said. “It’s a testament to our customer base and what we sell. Women, crisis or not, they’re going to take care of their hair.”
As of Sunday, big name retailers in the Shops at Five Hills such as Ross, Bealls, Burkes Outlet and Maurices had remained closed, while Rack Room Shoes was offering curbside service. In the Cove Terrace Shopping Center, Game Xchange also is offering curbside service.
The dining rooms of Copperas Cove’s restaurants remain closed, but many still offer curbside or other delivery options, as they continued during the disaster declaration. See Copperas Cove’s Takeout Tuesday page for a list of restaurants and their service options.