SMITHVILLE — Business owners in the community say they are excited and eager to reopen, now that stay-at-home orders are lifted.
Throughout the city, most businesses downtown have reopened, as well as limited businesses in Major Mall and Hillside Plaza along U.S. Highway 169.
“Yes, I was eager to reopen,” Crafters Corner owner Louise Keeton said. “I miss all the people.”
While her shop is now open for business, and has seen several customers through its doors since reopening, Keeton said she and her customers keep a distance of 6 feet and she disinfects surfaces regularly. Keeton said she also has a basket of face masks for guests, if they feel more comfortable wearing one.
“I also have ones with kittens on them for the younger people,” she said.
Although she’s able to have the shop open, Keeton said she hasn’t been able to restart basket weaving or stained glass classes yet due to restrictions recommended by health professionals.
“I can’t wait for things to be back to normal again,” she said. “It’ll be nice to see the downtown buzzing again. We are a pretty close-knit group down here.”
The downtown business owners support each other too, Keeton said. Some business haven’t reopened for regular hours like alterations or photography. Keeton said she keeps those business cards on the counter of her shop and that other businesses do the same in an effort to drum up customers.
As for some of the other downtown businesses, owner Jean Roe of Jean’s Flowers said she’s been delivering flowers contact-free the whole time.
“I use a Kleenex to ring the doorbell and then stay in the car until they pick them up, so it isn’t quite the same but safer,” Roe said.
Some impacts she’s seen are on the wholesale end as some flowers have been in short supply since the pandemic. However, she said her Mother’s Day business looked the same as it always does.
In a similar spirit, locals are happy to be out and see people out since reopening. Sarah Helm and her friend Rita White said they were excited to go back to their home congregation at Emmanuel Bible Church.
“I took my granddaughter driving yesterday,” White said. “She is 17 and trying to get her license, and there was so much more traffic. We did it last week and then we did it this week and there is so much more traffic, just right here in Smithville.”
Most eager to get back working with children, White said she participates in Awana and children’s ministry.
“I’m looking forward to that,” White said. “My husband and I have done a lot of things, projects at home. So I haven’t really struggled with it.”
Helm said things can’t open up soon enough for her. Although she enjoys spending time at home, she is excited for her children and herself to get out and about.