This is a weird time. In addition to muffins and omelets, Perkins Restaurant and Bakery customers can also buy toilet paper, bread and paper towels.
COVID-19 is limiting Perkins to carryout and delivery. But to augment its business, the restaurant is also selling “everyday essentials,” including meat and cheese, through its Perkins Market concept. The business hopes to return to normal life on June 1.
Many Grand Island stores, including Dillard’s, Kohl’s, Hobby Lobby and Burlington, have reopened after sitting out the coronavirus.
Some local stores, such as Hobby Town USA, never closed.
Ed Conroy, owner of the Hobby Town USA, said he stayed open to give parents and students things to do during the pandemic.
The store reduced its hours and sometimes went with a limited staff. But it continued to be open seven days a week.
Also staying open was the garden center in the parking lot of Conestoga Mall. The parking lot operation is one of 58 locations operated in Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska by Kaw Valley Greenhouses of Manhattan, Kan.
Business has been good, said Zoe Collis and Ulises Alba, who were working Thursday.
People are buying annuals and vegetables. In Collis’ opinion, “Annuals tend to be more pretty” than perennials. Popular flowers are petunias and geraniums.
The garden center got off to a slow start when it opened in mid-March. But business was strong before Mother’s Day, and has continued to be good when the weather is warm. The fact that the nearby mall was closed didn’t have much of an effect on their business, Collis and Alba said.
Stores that were closed seem happier now.
“It’s good to be back,” says a sign at Burlington, which reopened on May 15.
On a table inside the entrance, disinfectant and hand sanitizer are available. An employee limits the number of customers in the store when necessary and wipes down every cart.
“Welcome back,” says a sign outside Kohl’s. Another sign says the store is committed to a cleaner and safer shopping experience.
Kohl’s opened on Monday after being shuttered for eight weeks.
On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. to noon, Kohl’s is reserved for customers who are 60 and older, pregnant or have underlying health conditions.
Stores in the Dillard’s chain opened at different times, depending on local conditions. The Grand Island Dillard’s reopened May 12.
In many Grand Island stores, posted signs remind customers to stay 6 feet apart and maintain social distancing.
A sign at Dillard’s says the store has taken steps with the safety of customers and staff members in mind.
Those steps include reducing hours to allow for sanitizing and health screening associates before they report to work. Dillard’s employees are required to wear masks, and paper masks are available to customers by request. In addition, the store has temporarily suspended makeovers and modified bra fittings and shoe try-ons.
Hobby Lobby reopened May 11. “Thank you for your help in protecting our community,” says a sign.
At many stores, managers are not allowed to speak to the media without corporate approval. However, a Hobby Lobby employee said, “Off the record, it’s a good vibe,” meaning that business is good.
Driving around town, you see evidence that times are different.
Every Friday from 7 to 11 a.m., Hy-Vee is offering drive-up doughnuts. Hy-Vee Gas, meanwhile, sells drive-up doughnuts Saturdays and Sundays from 8 to 10 a.m,.
Many signs make it clear that doors are open. “We are open and here to help,” says O’Reilly Auto Parts on Webb Road.
At Home Depot, signs advertise the store’s curbside pickup service.
Conestoga Mall is now open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sundays.