GALION — With Ohio gradually opening back up for businesses, Galion-area shops and restaurants are taking steps to get back in business, too.
Terry Croyle, owner of Granny’s Kitchen on Charles Street, was bubbling with enthusiasm this week as workers connected new Plexiglas petitions to booths and ceiling to separate patrons.
Diners in Ohio can resume indoor eating Thursday, May 21.
“We’re just so excited,” she said Monday morning. “We’ve got a number of things going on. Workers are here right now putting some Plexiglas between between the booths, and in the areas where we have tables with chairs they are hanging some real thick plastic from the ceiling to separate those areas. It looks pretty good. It’s not the best-case scenario, but it will make us compliant.”
Croyle says business has been down 75 to 80 percent in recent weeks due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“I expect a nice crowd,” she said. “I know some people are still going to stay home. I understand that, but we’re looking forward to seeing some of our regulars.”
Granny’s has taken a double hit in recent weeks as work on sewer lines has caused recent road closures on Charles Street.
“But when this is over we’ll be on city sewers, and that’s a big positive,” Croyle said.
Joel Darling of JDM Construction did work at Granny’s that included more than just Plexiglas.
“They were doing some other work, so I asked if they could work on the dining room, too. They did a great job,” Croyle said.
The new partitions are clear, easy to clean and don’t interfere with traffic flow in the dining room. Repairs to an outside wall run into by a vehicle necessitated additional work indoors and some plumbing updates are complete.
“We’ll be able to be open for business. That’s what it all boils down to,” she said. “We need to be open for our employees and ourselves. We need to be open to survive, so we’re doing what we have to do.”
Croyle explained they will have to limit the number of customers to maintain the social distancing recommendation, saying some of the four-person booths will become two-person booths.
“We’re so relieved to be able to open back up Thursday,” she said.
She also is thrilled that all employees who were working there before are coming back.
“We don’t know what this is going to bring. I know we won’t be back 100 percent at first,” she said. “There are people out there who are probably going to be afraid to come back right away, because everybody is scared. But I think there are a lot of people looking forward to coming back.”
Debbie Payton works at The Copper Horse Antiques in Historic Uptowne Galion and is related to owner Terry McMillen and Renee. The Copper Horse opened for business last week and customers have trickled in.
“People have to get used to places being back open again,” she said.
To keep safe and sanitized, Payton said she does wear a mask and uses sanitizer.
“I’m wiping down the doors and I have Lysol spray that I’ve been spraying after people leave,” she said. “This has been a very scary thing … and it still is. We’re not limiting the number of people because we don’t have that many people come in at one time.
“We’ve been closed for a couple months. Luckily, we had enough money to pay the bills, but if this had gone on very long, they had considered closing down,” she said. “We’re glad to be back open, and I hope things continue and we don’t have to shut back down again.”
Across the street at The Topia Boutique, owner Amanda Wiggins will take things slow when opening her shop back up to customers. She’s started off with a sidewalk sale last Saturday and will be having another one this Saturday outside her shop from noon to 4 p.m.
“I don’t have dressing rooms open, so you’ll just have to buy knowing that’s your size. That’s one of the tricky parts with having apparel and fashion. A lot of women do want to try things on, but once I have them inside my door how do I make that safe?
“We are actually phasing it in,” she said. “When the virus hit, I took that time to do some improvements inside my store and there are still actually a few things I have to do, so we’re not officially open yet. When we start to phase back in to in-store shopping, I want to do appointments only that first week, that way I have enough time to thoroughly steam and disinfect every item of clothing these women are touching or trying on before the next set comes in. I just want to make sure everything is as safe as possible for the next customer that comes through my door.”
Wiggins expects to start taking appointments for in-store shopping the first week of June. She will require visitors to wear face masks. She also will wear a face mask and she is putting up plastic protection around the checkout and hand sanitizer by the door.
To make an appointment, Wiggins said people can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or reach out to her on Facebook Messenger and Instagram.
“I’m implementing an appointment system on my website so they can actually go on the website and see which slots are available and book online right there.” The website address is www.shoptopiaboutique.com.
Another positive change coming, Wiggins said, is a name change for the boutique.
“A new name for a fresh start,” she said.
The new name will be “Flourish.” She noted people will still go to the same website to make appointments, as she is going keep that link active and it will redirect them to the new website.
“It’s just a name change,” she said. “We’re growing and I’m just growing it into a new brand. And I like the idea Galion is flourishing and I really like what that name represented.”
Newly-installed Plexiglas partitions are barely visible at Granny’s on Ohio 309. Owner Terry Crowley said she is excited about welcoming customers back into her dining room on Thursday.
New partitions required to separate diners are ready and still allows plenty of sunlight into the dining area.