FAIRLAWN, Ohio – Shulan’s Jewelers have been in business for 99 years, selling diamonds, emeralds, pearls, watches, fine china, crystal, and more, but it has been difficult to reach the year 100.
Owner John Shulan said the store, which moved to a small Fairlalwn shopping street on West Market Street last year, has seen a 99% drop in business since Gov. Mike DeWine closed most stores. Ohio stores due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“It was devastating,” said Shulan. “Our business has evaporated. Right now it’s supposed to be one of our busiest times of the year.”
For the past week, Shulan has been receiving clients by appointment only.
On May 12, it will be able to reopen its doors with several security measures in place. Its employees will wear masks. There will be no more than three customers in the store at a time and Shulan said there will be “constant cleaning”.
“If people want to stop at the front door and get the package delivered to them, we’ll do that, we’ve been very careful to disinfect everything. All the doors – every time a customer leaves – we wipe it down. doors with disinfectant We have a hand sanitizer that anyone can use, ”he said.
Dr Amanda Weinstein, assistant professor of economics at Akron University, said when retailers resume operations, workers will need to focus on “service innovation”. By this, she intends to focus not only on the products, but also on different ways of reaching customers and offering them something new.
“If it’s delivery, if it’s suggestions of what to buy,” Weinstein said. “We really need our Ohio retailers to really innovate in how I can reach customers in a whole new way.”
Weinstein said the economic impact on retail, especially small businesses, has been huge. She said many stores will suffer for a while even as Ohio reopens.
“That will be until we have a vaccine. Once we have a vaccine and people feel comfortable going into stores and interacting with people, it won’t come back to the normal, ”she said.
Shulan received a Payroll Protection Grant and a $ 5,000 grant from Summit County designed to help small businesses affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
“These subsidies are essential for our survival,” he said.
Shulan understands that it may take some time for jewelry sales to return to normal and for some customers to feel safe in the stores, but he is delighted to be back in business, while keeping in mind. mind safety.
“Everything to make certain activities run safely. It is important to be safe. We have to be smart about it,” he said. “I hope that on May 12 we will have people walking again.”