No In-Store Shopping During The Pandemic
UPDATE: As of August 2021, in store shopping has reopened in our expanded showroom. Masks are still required for all staff and customers.
We have had many requests to reopen the store to customer visits. Unfortunately we will remain closed for the remainder of the year and into 2021.
While many other retailers are reopening, we are not a typical retail store. We are choosing to take a research-based, safety-first approach. Based on what the available research is telling us, with our particular space and typical customer visits, we cannot safely operate in store shopping. I thought it was worth taking the time to outline why, after consideration and analysis, we have come to the conclusion that we cannot conduct in store shopping safely.
Some background information: Before we closed in-store shopping in March by State order, our average customer visit typically lasted 30-60 minutes, with many stretching to well over an hour. We offered a hands-on shopping experience, which included ongoing interaction and information sharing throughout the visit. It's clear that when we re-open, this will still be the expectation.
Now, please consider that our retail space is quite small - only about 600 square feet. This doesn't allow for a lot of air circulation, or for social distancing. Research suggests (references below) that exposure risk increases drastically in enclosed spaces, for time periods of as little as 10 minutes. Even with properly worn masks (and we continue to see very poor mask adherence in public) this only extends the effective relatively safe period by another 5-10 minutes. That's about half the length or less of our average customer visit. That means the risk of transmission from an unknowingly infected individual, including potentially one of us, is in the very high risk segment, similar to a dine-in restaurant or bar. We've all observed what's been happening as these establishments reopen, and infections spike, forcing states to then reverse course and close these businesses again. We care too much about the health of our customers, and our own health, to take such risks.
By that same token, only one of us is working the store on a given day. We cannot achieve social distancing and a comfortably safe environment with both of us working at once, which would be a prerequisite before we would consider reopening for customer visits. We are also taking steps to clean and disinfect contact surfaces daily, as well as regular hand washing, and adherence to proper face masks and social distancing. This applies to curbside pickups, and our interactions with delivery carriers.
Also during this period, we will not be accepting trade-ins or consignments.
We are still here to help, and provide the same level of guidance and assistance as before. We will continue to offer curbside pickup and shipping, as well as phone and online support and consultation throughout this period. Jon and I both look forward to being able to return to business a usual and welcome you back into our store when we consider it safe for ourselves and all of our customers and community.
Thank you for your understanding and support.