Richmond business owners prepared as Phase One of reopening nears

Posted at 12:05 PM, May 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-27 14:09:50-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- As Mayor Levar Stoney announced that the city will begin to cautiously enter into Phase One of reopening Friday, Richmond business owners said they have a plan in place -- and are ready.

"We keep hoping to see the parking lot full again," said James Kinard, owner of 'For the Love of Chocolate' in Carytown.

The gourmet treats shop has remained opened through the entirety of the pandemic, since non-essential retail businesses could do so as long as they followed guidelines of 10 or less people inside.

However, Kinard said his store is actually considered essential since its grocery -- but not everyone knows that.

"Obviously we put things on our website, Facebook, our phone message. It is interesting that people, even with all that information, people don’t quite believe we’re open," Kinard said. "So we get about 60 calls a day wondering if it’s true we’re open."

But those kinds of calls may not come as often in a few days.

Wednesday morning, Mayor Levar Stoney announced that the city can cautiously enter into phase one of reopening Friday.

Kinard hopes that will relieve some confusion and bring in more business.

"It will definitely bring people out who then will wonder, 'oh I guess everything is open!' And it’ll definitely increase our traffic," Kinard said.

Meanwhile, Paul Watson, co-founder of Ledbury said their doors closed in mid-March barring private appointments. However he said the business wasn’t greatly impacted by the city’s delay in reopening.

"We were always targeting late May, so it wasn’t too much of an inconvenience for us," Watson said. "I think a lot of it came down to availability of staff, comfort level with opening up that soon."

Watson said the new plan is to open Ledbury’s doors on Tuesday, June 2, with slightly different hours and safety guidelines in place.

"We will obviously cap the number of folks through the doors at one time, asking people to maintain social distance, we’ll probably limit the number of people who can use the try on rooms at once so that we can be sure to clean try on rooms and other surfaces between customer’s visits," Watson said.

Both owners said they will require customers to wear masks and will follow other safety guidelines.