BOCA RATON, Fla. — Shoppers are slowly trickling back to retail stores and consignment shops across South Florida.
“It's our first day back, and you know what? We've already had our regular customers [come in] that I've been friends with over the years,” said Susan Merkel, manager at the Tri-County Animal Rescue Thrift Shop in Boca Raton.
Proceeds from the thrift shop go to a medical fund at Tri-County Animal Rescue. The store is back in business, but operating with new restrictions during the pandemic.
“I'm only allowing three customers in the store at a time. I have my new plexiglass and mask. Everyone who comes in the store must wear a mask,” said Merkel.
Merkel said the thrift store is holding off on donations during this time of transition.
Economists say the retail industry will face unique challenges as South Florida continues to reopen.
Dr. Scott Pearson, associate professor of finance at Palm Beach Atlantic University, said stores will have to adapt in order to succeed.
“Those of us that are going to make it through, we're still going to have to do a lot of adapting. We're going to have to really rethink.
We're going to need governments to give us the flexibility to rethink and re-adapt and adjust. The recovery is going to take some time,” said Pearson.
The Consignment Exchange in Boca Raton will continue to bolster its strict cleaning regimen to boost customer confidence amidst the outbreak.
“When anything comes in, we inspect it carefully, make sure it's clean and free of tears, rips, or any type of damage,” said Noris Landi, owner of The Consignment Exchange. “We're very careful of what we have and how things are treated.”
The Consignment Exchange said what really sets them apart is the relationships that they have with their shoppers who enjoy the personalized experience the store provides.
After 20 years of success, Landi is dedicated to ensuring the next chapter of their business is handled with care.
“We’re very diligent as far as making sure everything is safe when people come in and even when they leave. We’re not taking anything in new from people we don’t know just because we have so much stuff now,” Landi said about their strategy to stay safe. “We’re at consignment number like 1,600. That’s the vast [majority] of consignors we have already. With those people, we can stock our store very well. ”