Fox Valley businesses reopening efforts see mixed results

Published: Jun. 4, 2020 at 6:13 PM CDT
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Getting back to business after a pandemic isn’t easy, but plenty of Appleton shops have been trying to figure it out.

Nowadays in a salon, things will look a bit different.

“We put up barriers between shampoo areas. We wipe down everything after we use it. We have masks available,” said Tobin Campbell, owner of Shear Chaos.

But Shear Chaos owner Tobin Campbell says, since coming back, business has been good.

“Our phones are crazy, they have peak times, but we’ve been very, very steady,” said Campbell. “Everybody’s been very patient.”

Other types of local shops aren’t having quite the same traffic.

“It’s been slower for sure. Definitely as I think to this time last year much slower,” said Christina Brown, owner of Hoot and Co.

But Brown still has other ways to provide for customers.

“I’m thankful to have a website, and have shoppers shopping on that website,” said Brown. “One thing that we were offering before we opened was curbside pickup and it turns out people are really liking that so we’re continuing that.”

For people who do shop in her store, Brown says she frequently cleans items that are touched often and will even steam any clothes that have been tried on between shoppers. She also provides hand sanitizer to customers.

"You could see people just happy to be out in a store and looking at things, so definitely excitement and kind of relief for 'Okay, I can actually go in here now,’" said Brown.

The Fox Cities Chamber’s Economic Development group knows it’ll take some time for business to recover after the pandemic

“A survey came out that said it’s gonna take, the majority of those respondents said, that it was going to take 10 months or longer to fully recover,” said Vice President of Economic Development Jayme Sellen.

But Sellen urges people to be patient and support local business as much as they can.

"Every business has different protocols because their business dictates that, and that they're really doing the best they can to make sure they're providing the good or service you require but doing it in a healthy way for everybody,” said Sellen. “It’s not easy to get back up and running, and it’s not easy to own a small business so the generosity of the community and the sense that we’re all in this together has been a really fun thing to see.”

That generosity and support, during and after quarantine, is something both Campbell and Brown say is key to keeping their business going.

“I do believe people are trying to shop local, I see a lot of support,” said Brown.

“Our clients saved us, our community saved us,” said Campbell. “I love our community and our clients and I want to thank all of them very much.”

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