Local businesses are carefully taking steps forward and hoping there are no new obstacles in the road. Customers are right there with them. Some are ready to go out, some are wanting to remain home. Everyone wants to continue supporting businesses and making the purchases they need, but still trying to figure out how it works in a reopening world.
“Customers seem excited to be out shopping,” said Christie Roberts, Moxie on Second owner. “They are still being cautious, but definitely ready to be out.”
David Wood, Bartlesville Development Authority president, said it will take more time to know exactly what impact the shutdown has had on local businesses.
“Obviously, the protective measures instituted with the emergency declaration on March 23 had significant impacts on revenue for our stores, restaurants, gyms, and entertainment venues,” Wood said. “Some were able to successfully pivot to a curbside delivery model, but many others were not. We’re not aware of a significant number of permanent business closures yet, but we won’t have an accurate assessment for several weeks after the governor’s Phase II reopening.”
Washington Park Mall, 2350 SE Washington Blvd., reopened its doors on May 5 after being closed since late March. While some shops are open, other mall stores and the movie theater have remained closed for now. For a list of stores that are open, visit www.washingtonparkmall.com.
Bartlesville Development Authority was in negotiations with a prospective new tenant for the JCPenney store space in the mall, which has been vacant since the national retailer closed several stores. Wood said the possible new tenant has delayed committing to leasing the mall space, but the business has indicated it will move forward with the plan “once conditions stabilize.”
The Shoppes at Turkey Creek plans to open later this summer in the former Kmart building at 501 S. Washington Blvd., according to BDA Vice President Jared Patton. Oklahoma City-based Foraker Properties is transforming the 96,000-square-foot big box space into storefronts to be occupied by Tuesday Morning, Burkes Outlet, Ollie’s Bargain Outlet and Dollar Tree. A planned development in the same area that would have Jimmy’s Egg by day and Bricktown Brewery by night remains in the works for now, Patton said.
While many storefronts have been closed, some have kept their doors open consistently. Overlees-Woods Lumber Co. at 4425 Nowata Road has continued to serve customers before and during the shutdown as an essential business.
“Given the circumstances related to social distancing and COVID-19 concerns, Overlees-Woods Lumber Co. has been extremely fortunate to be considered an essential business,” owner Lesley McKissick said. “We are grateful to serve the needs of our community during this trying time.”
Copeland Appliances, 3810 Adams Road, also has been open continuously due to having a FedEx-authorized shipping center located in its store along with the stock of washers, dryers and refrigerators. Owner Dale Copeland said despite all of the unusual circumstances, there has been an upswing in business in some categories.
Looking into the future, Copeland foresees probable complications on the horizon. Inflation is possible and shortages on some items, like freezers, might become an issue.
“The global supply chain to assemble many items has been disrupted and many things just can’t be gotten,” Copeland said. “Rumors of price increases are also on the rise. All in all, we might see a repeat of the 1979-1981 period when inflation and interest rates rose and supplies were erratic. That causes me to wonder if people won’t repair and keep things longer.”
Moxie on Second, a gift and clothing store located at 118 E. Second St., was among local storefronts that closed its doors to the public in late March as the shutdown of nonessential businesses went into place. Roberts kept an active social media presence going for her shop, offered curbside delivery and mailed items to Moxie customers. But nothing quite replaces the in-person shopping experience.
Post time: Jun-05-2020