In this series, we learn from small businesses across the country how they are adapting in the world of COVID-19.

 

Cathy Regensburger is the owner of Selections Boutique in central Massachussetts.  Selections' wide range of merchandise includes one-of-a-kind specialty clothing from well-known designers at highly affordable prices, craftsman-designed jewelry from all over the world, and a full line of complementary accessory items and gifts. In addition to their distinctive merchandise, Cathy and her team specialize in offering their customers a high level of personalized and individual service, ensuring each shopping experience is unique and exceeds expectations.  

 
 

What precautions are you taking to reopen your business?

Once open, we will be offering private appointments three days a week. We will be cleaning all surfaces in the dressing room after each use. All clothes that have been tried on will be hung in the back and steamed prior to being placed back on the floor. All employees will be wearing masks. We will be limiting the number of shoppers based on Governor Baker’s guidelines. Upon entry into the shop, customers will be provided with masks and hand sanitizer.

 

What are you doing now that you weren't previously?

I am providing virtual shopping experiences through Zoom and Facetime appointments. Additionally, I am doing curbside pickup, free shipping and personally delivering locally. In terms of changes in merchandise, I am now selling handmade, CDC approved, fashionable masks as well as beautifully packaged hand sanitizers and surface sprays. I will be carrying a line of products beautiful and practical such as antibacterial gloves and Safeguard bucket hats.

There are a number of premade signs by Staples that are helpful for my business such as “practice social distancing” and “curbside pickup.” I will be looking to Staples for items like plexiglass screens and other innovations to aid in social distancing, in addition to all of my usual office supplies to display signage. 

 

How are you communicating to customers that your business is now fully open? How are you communicating changes about your business to your customers?

I am communicating with my customers through weekly emailed newsletters, Facebook updates, and good old fashioned phone calls!

 

What challenges did you have to overcome?

The biggest challenge is that our customers feel safe enough to engage in the shopping experience. However, we are going over and above with our love and concern to provide a safe environment by offering private appointments, continual cleaning of surfaces and products and flexible return policies for customers who prefer to try on the clothing at home.

 

How are you taking care of your employees?

My employees and I are constantly in touch checking in on one another, trading ideas and sharing plans for reopening. All employees will come back as they are comfortable and will be provided with masks while they work.

 

What opportunities have you discovered coming out of this situation?

An opportunity for our customers has arisen to support our small business while also purchasing products they truly need.  I also offered discounted gift cards to give our customers the ability to support the shop while we were closed. Relationships have grown stronger as our loyal fans want so much for us to succeed!

 

What advice or tips do you have for other small businesses who are about to reopen?

My biggest piece of advice is to have personal outreach with customers in order to expand on the relationships you have created during good times. Call your customers, send a personalized email, offer a private appointment and check in on their wellbeing. It goes a long way!