Local retailers ready to carefully reopen

Laura Haftel is counting down the hours until Monday. 

“We are very anxious to get our doors back open.  So happy to know we’re going to do that on Monday,” Haftel said.

Her children’s store, Tugboat and Bird, has been a staple on Park Avenue in Winter Park for 20 years.

“So we really miss our customers. We really miss that interaction with them. We’ve been here for so long that we’ve made a lot of friends in the community. This is the place on Saturday morning, kids go to the farmers market and then they come to the store and they play,” Haftel explained.  

She’s still mapping out what her store's new normal will look like. 

“We’re going to be very cautious and very measured in how we open our doors,” Haftel said. 

She’ll have hand sanitizer on hand and she and her staff will be wearing masks.  As for her customers,

“We haven’t really thought that through yet. Maybe not require it, but suggest it,” she said. 

She’ll be staffing the store with fewer employees per day than usual, limiting the number of customers inside and adjusting Tugboat and Bird’s hours. 

“We’re going to shorten our hours to like 11 to 4 to allow for private shopping appointments in the morning and private shopping appointments in the afternoon. I think that that’s what people are feeling comfortable with,” Haftel said.

The stay at home order pushed beef up her social media presence and start selling toys and clothing online. 

“The very first thing we did was build a website, like in 3 days,” Haftel said. 

While filling online orders has kept her busy, she’s anxious to get back to selling face to face. 

“We’ve just gotten to know our customers very well with their children so we’re really excited to get them back in the store in a limited capacity, but we’re just excited to see everybody,” Haftel said