Retail stores in Kingston, Ont., partially reopened on Monday, marking the first day of curbside pickup and delivery across the province.
Since the coronavirus pandemic began and stores were forced to close, many didn’t resort to online-only shopping, such as Brian’s Record Option in the heart of the Limestone City.
“You can’t just shop at my store; it’s an experience to browse through the records, and me bringing it to the curb is just not the same,” said Brian Lipsin, the store’s owner.
On Monday, Lipsin said a handful of customers came by his store to pick up items. Global News spoke to one of the curbside customers, who said they’ve been waiting for Lipsin to reopen.
“I wanted to take advantage of buying locally and getting a surprise gift for a family member on their birthday,” said Karen Norman.
The downtown Kingston business improvement area (BIA) hopes buying locally will become a trend as the hundreds of downtown stores plan on following the lead of the stores that are deemed essential.
“Over the last couple of weeks, our grocery stores, restaurants and Terra Natural Foods have taught us some lessons on what works,” said Michele Langlois General Manager and Director of Market for the Downtown Kingston BIA.
Meanwhile, Lipsin says he’s been preparing for the day he can fully open his stores. He says he ordered a customized pexiglass barrier and has laid down red two-metre markers to ensure customer safety.
“We want people back in here, but we need to do it responsibly,” said Lipsin.
On Monday, Premier Doug Ford and his team released a statement on curbside retail and what it means for not only the customer but also employees.
“We are getting more people back to work when safe to do so and laying the groundwork for a full economic recovery,” Ford’s statement read.
“At the same time, we are moving carefully and cautiously to ensure we don’t put people at risk and remain ready to respond to any potential outbreaks or surges in cases.”
Over the weekend, Lipsin celebrated 40 years in business, an achievement that he says has come full circle, feeling as though he’s starting from scratch having to navigate through a new industry.
“It’s going to be run differently here; it’s just not the same,” Lipsin said.
“Now I have to get used to opening the store like nobody knew who I was.”
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