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Downtown businesses eager to welcome customers

LAURA JAMESON/THE EXPRESS Steve Sachetti, owner of The Bike Gallery, helps complete an order for Bob Dwyer of Mill Hall, at left.

LOCK HAVEN — Since Gov. Tom Wolf ordered all non-essential businesses close their physical location, downtown Lock Haven has been much quieter. Many business owners have waited with a bit of anxiety for the green light to open their doors again.

That green light came in another color however when Wolf moved Clinton County into the “yellow phase” of his reopening plan, which allowed many businesses to reopen on May 8.

Since that day, shops up and down Main Street have begun to reopen… while following safety guidelines, of course.

For many the chance to reopen is a relief after almost two months of uncertainty.

Due to the increase of people participating in outdoor activities, The Bike Gallery has seen a major uptick in sales and repairs, owner Steve Sachetti said.

LAURA JAMESON/THE EXPRESS Paula Neyhart, owner of The Bus Stops Here, shows how she’s able to scan items while still using a homemade sneeze guard in her store.

“I’m so busy I don’t know if I’m coming or going,” Sachetti said while preparing to do repairs on a bike Thursday afternoon.

Sachetti said he’s requiring customers wear masks when they enter the building and he’s sanitizing high touch areas frequently.

The closure of businesses did take a toll on the shop, but Sachetti believes that won’t be a problem due to the increase of sales.

“It hurt us for about a month but we’re making up for it real quick,” he said. “We’re going to be fine, no doubt.”

Addie’s Inc. Jewelry and Watch Store has also begun offering in-store services and is doing fine so far.

LAURA JAMESON/THE EXPRESS Phil Reeder, goldsmith at Addie’s Inc., reviews an order form from Jan Fardella, of Mill Hall.

“It’s been slow. It’s just now starting to pick up,” goldsmith Phil Reeder said. The store reopened on May 8.

The jewelry story isn’t seeing a lot of sales but have been making more repairs lately, Reeder said.

“It’s not a real busy time of year for us but we’ve been getting a lot of people asking for repairs,” he said.

The American Rescue Worker’s Thrift Store isn’t getting as many customers as before the pandemic but they’re getting there, Manager Gina Johnson said.

“Business isn’t at the point it was but hopefully everything in town will begin to open up and we’ll see an increase,” she said.

After the store first closed, staff cleaned everything in the place and continue to routinely clean items with Clorox daily. They’ve also limited the number of people in the store to 15 including workers and require everyone wear masks, Johnson said.

“The fitting room is closed and we spray the carts down between use and clean everything down each night,” she added.

Lanning Music has also seen a flood of customers since first opening last Friday, according to the store’s manager Brittany Johnston.

The music store is offering sales and repairs of instruments in-store but lessons remain online, Brittany said.

“Brad has select lessons online but pretty much everything else is in-store,” she said.

For some stores, reopening was vital to keeping the lights on and doors open.

“It was a real kick to be closed for six weeks. The bills don’t stop and it was a tough few weeks,” Paula Neyhart, owner of The Bus Stops Here, said.

Neyhart said she’s been getting a steady number of walk-ins and calls for specific appointment times since reopening, but not like before the pandemic.

She’s placed a sneeze guard in front of her check out counter, a hole cut in the clear plastic to give her a way to scan items and for customers to pay. She’s also limited the number of customers in her store.

“I don’t have an exact number but a sense of it. If you look around here you see it’s hard to maintain social distancing,” she said about the store packed with educational toys and classroom supplies.

Neyhart explained she remains at her front counter and watches carefully to see how many enter her store.

If someone who already set up an appointment time is in the store and a walk-in customer asks to enter, she’ll see if the first customer is comfortable with having another person enter at the same time. If they would prefer no she’ll ask the other customer to wait, she said.

She also sanitizing frequently and made masks mandatory inside the store.

Addie’s Awards & Custom Printing has also taken a blow in sales due to the pandemic, even with their doors reopened.

“We’ve had a lot of cancellations because of school closures and sport cancellations,” co-owner DeAnna Steve said. “We’ll be feeling this for awhile.”

The store has been conducting sales and consultations by phone, 570-748-9060, and email, addiesawards125@yahoo.com and continue to do so.

Walk-ins are also welcome but they’ve limited access to the store, with a station set up near the front door.

“We’re still taking orders through walk-ins, email and phone,” DeAnna said.

She noted that they’ve expanded their services to include apparel.

“That’s something we were starting at the beginning of the year before the pandemic,” she said.

The store’s Facebook page “Addie’s Award & Custom Printing” offers more information on the services they provide.

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