Rebuilding America: Retail businesses staying busy in the Lake area

There was a long line of customers waiting to get in when Marshall's opened back up on Thursday in Osage Beach.

As retail outlets begin to open back up, customers will see some changes to the way they do business. In some cases, occupancy will be limited and many employees will be undergoing pre-work temperature checks and wearing masks. For the most part, it will be up to customers to decide if they are wearing a mask and to abide by the 6-foot social distancing rule. 

The Osage Beach Outlet Marketplace is back open seven days a week. Hours are Monday-Saturday 11 a.m.-7 p.m. and Sunday noon-6 p.m. According to the company website, several measures to reduce employee exposure including pre-work temperature screenings are being done. Tenants are encouraged to implement COVID-19 safety guidelines and protocols, as well as have employees wear masks. Enhanced sanitizing and disinfecting, reduced occupancy, social distancing and other practices are being carried out at Simon properties across the country. 

Marshall’s/Homegoods in Osage Beach opened back up on Thursday. Hours are 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday. While customers are not required to wear a mask, associates will be. Occupancy restrictions are also in place.

Even thrift stores, many that rely on sales to keep non-profits up and running, greeting customers once again. The shutdown not only impacted sales but the donation of items as well. Household goods and clothing that stock the shelves at the thrift stores were not being accepted, but all of that is changing. 

The Hope House in Miller County opened May 27. The thrift store hours are 9 a.m.-2 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The food pantry is operating it’s regular hours 9 a.m.-1 p.m.  

According to their Facebook page, the thrift store is dealing with limited space and will be using extra care in handling whatever comes in. Drop off hours are 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday. They will also only accept five trash bags (13 gallon size) of clothing at a time.

The Dogwood Animal Shelter’s thrift store in Camdenton hosted a couple of Facebook live sales during the shutdown to increase profits but by keeping the store closed it took a hit to their budget. With approximately 200 animals to care for, the organization has asked for monetary donations to help supplement funds. 

While many stores are still trying to figure out how to operate under new guidelines, some never even closed. Slumberland in Osage Beach was designated an “essential service” because they sell medically-assisted chairs and adjustable bed bases. The’ve kept their doors open. 

With 20,000 square feet of showroom, general manager Darryl Cunningham said it is easy to maintain social distancing guidelines. Employees are using caution, frequently sanitizing everything from door handles to restrooms and keeping their distance from customers.  

Cunningham said they experienced a decrease in customers walking through the door the first 10 days of quarantine but after the first round of stimulus checks were distributed business picked up. While foot traffic continued to be slower than usual, those coming in were serious about buying. So much so that they are on pace to have the biggest month in sales at the Osage Beach location since 2008. Cunningham contributes the increase in sales to residents (including second homeowners) spending more time at home. They are choosing to upgrade or replace furniture in order to be more comfortable. 

Cunningham said they are grateful to have been able to stay open and assist customers, sometimes by making private appointments. 

“You feel for the other businesses,” he said. “We feel fortunate to have been able to open and that our customers have supported us so well.”

Shopping Reinvented:America's stores, malls reopen with masks, curbside pickup and closed fitting rooms

One store at the Osage Beach Outlet Marketplace had a masked employee offering hand sanitizer and masks before customers entered the store.