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Local retail businesses begin to rebound through curbside services

Posted at 2:45 PM, May 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-08 22:15:08-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Local retail businesses are showing signs of new life Friday now that phase two is allowing specific retailers to begin curbside pick up options with customers.

23ABC spoke to the owner of the local House of Talula Boutique about how she plans to serve her clients using social distancing and new curbside pickup options.

After 21 years of styling her community, boutique owner Chris Ludwig had to close her doors due to covid-19, “We didn’t know which way it was going to turn and we didn’t know our next move and we were in shock.”

Ludwig said when she closed her doors, like many other owners her business started depending on her online platforms like her website and Instagram, “It definitely took off, it was the only way to reach our customers and it turned into one of our best selling avenues.”

Doing her best to stay afloat and still reach her clients, she started posting things like candles and masks on her social media accounts that eventually became some of her best sellers. However, eventually she had no choice and she started delivering clothes, household goods and other items from her store to her client’s homes in Kern County to help practice social distancing.

After months of having her product on lock down she finally has a safe and simple curbside system in place she can use legally, "They call or direct message us on Instagram, we send them an invoice, they pre-pay, we have our masks on, they call us when they get here and we run the items out to the curb.”

Along with her new hands-free square pay system app which allows clients to pay with out social interaction, she also extended her return policy to help customers try items on from home and return them if they don’t fit. Ludwig said she sanitizes all of the garments when they are returned to make sure they are clean and germ free.

Her sales have still dipped more than 60% but she did qualify for the PPE loan. Ludwig also said many of her local customers have stuck by her during this uncertain time by purchasing discounted gift cards to use later, helping her maintain and rebound during this pandemic. "I’m hoping that this is over soon and we can get back to our lives."

Ludwig said she appreciates all of the support from the community and she has already started researching how to install Plexiglass in her boutique. She says she will also likely only use one dressing room when she is finally allowed to reopen fully and she plans to minimize the number of people that are allowed in her store at a time.