DuBOIS — “It’s almost like Christmas again,” said Gene Fyda, who along with his wife, Marianne, are the owners of The Peaceable Kingdom in downtown DuBois, one of the retailers in Clearfield County who were permitted to reopen last week after some restrictions imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic were lifted.
The custom framers and art suppliers, who have been in business for more than 45 years, reopened Friday morning and “we were busy right off the bat,” said Gene Fyda. “People were coming in until around one or two o’clock, and then it kind of fizzled off. But people are anxious to get out.”
Prior to the shutdown in March, Fyda said customers had dropped off custom framing work.
“So we had that to do, and then we had the usually 101 things that you don’t have a chance to work on during normal hours,” said Fyda. “And so we got caught up on a lot of organization and pricing, and things like that. That kept us busy for a few weeks. But it definitely feels good to be open again.”
Just across the street, Darius Clement, owner of Junk Dealer’s Daughter, and buyer Kathleen Clement, Darius’ mother and the inspiration for the business and its name, also are happy to be back open.
“As long as everybody is responsible in following the guidelines that have been set for us — and of course we are following the guidelines — I really think we’re back,” said Kathleen Clement. “I really think that people have watched their money and I think that they’re hungry to start shopping again.”
Madison Stoltz Jensen, owner of Madison Marie Bridal in downtown DuBois, said she is happy to be back in her store and serving the women in the area.
“During the yellow phase, we are operating by appointment only,” said Jensen. “We normally only offer appointments for brides shopping for wedding gowns, but now you can make an appointment for any occasion. We are doing this to limit the number of guests in our store and are strategically scheduling the appointments to give us enough time to sanitize the dresses and the dressing rooms.”
Jensen said each customer is currently allowed to bring one guest with her to her appointment, and Madison Marie Bridal is providing Zoom video chat for those who cannot attend.
“We kindly ask that everyone in the store sanitizes their hands upon entering,” said Jensen. “I wear a mask for the duration of the appointment, and customers are asked to do the same. The process is working very well so far. A lot of brides have anxiety right now, but I am happy to at least be able to help them find their dream dress and check one more thing off their list.”
Brady Street Florist owner Jennifer Jackson said although her downtown storefront is still closed, she has offered no-touch delivery services throughout the pandemic.
“My Mother’s Day was the best one in years,” said Jackson, noting she had more than 250 deliveries on Saturday and was still fulfilling orders Tuesday. “I just am not staffed yet to handle it. I have been amazingly busy. I have a take-out window in the back alley we’ve been using. I am hoping to open up the store this weekend.”
In Sandy Township, the new Hobby Lobby craft and home decor store opened in the Sandy Plaza located at Route 255 and Shaffer Road as well. The 55,000-square-foot building, formerly occupied by Kmart, had a steady flow of customers Tuesday.
“We’re glad to see our vision realized and we’re thrilled to see Hobby Lobby open,” said LG Realty Advisors Inc. Shopping Center Manager Brian Gumberg. “Safety is our number one priority and we hope that shoppers and visitors to the plaza continue to practice social distancing and face coverings while enjoying a little bit of retail therapy.”
Dunham’s Sports, also located in the township and in the DuBois Mall, also reopened as part of the transition to the yellow phase of Wolf’s plan.