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Stores welcome back customers

After being closed for more than two months because of the stay-at-home order put in place to stem the spread of COVID-19, Little Red Barn Door owner Sylvia Torres is glad to see customers walking through the doors of her store again.

"It's definitely nice to have the store open and see the smiles and that everybody is happy," she said. "It's kind of hard to see because people are wearing masks, but you can still tell. You can see the smile in their eyes."

More businesses are expected to reopen Friday when the state enters phase 4 of Gov. JB Pritker's "Restore Illinois" plan. That includes movie theaters, like the Classic Cinemas Charlestowne 18 movie theater in St. Charles.

While Little Red Barn Door was closed, it was able to continue to sell merchandise through a hastily created shopping website. Little Red Barn Door is located in the Berry House on South Third Street in downtown Geneva.

"We didn't used to have a shopping website, but when this whole thing happened, we created a website where you could shop," Torres said. "So we did have a lot of people still being able to get things from the store that way and we were doing local delivery. Then once May came around, we were able to do curbside pickup."

Customers walking in the store must abide by health guidelines such as wearing a face covering. There is also a limit on the number of people who can be in the store at the same time.

"We only let in a few customers at a time," Torres said. "It's usually not more than five people. We took some stuff out of the store to make it a little bit more social distance friendly."

A hand sanitizer is also located at the entrance to the store. Customers are asked to sanitize their hands before they walk into the store.

Her customers are following the rules.

"I haven't really had any issues with people not following the rules or anything like that," Torres said.

Little Red Barn Door is in the process of expanding its existing space. The pandemic had pushed back the start of the project.

"We're going to be on the second floor of the Berry House and on the main level of the Berry House," Torres said.

She also owns the Little Barn Baby store just a couple of doors down from Little Red Barn Door. That store also has reopened and Torres has enjoyed seeing customers back in that store.

"You see kids and pregnant moms and everybody so excited to come in," Torres said.

Business is up at Kiss The Sky record store in Batavia since it was able to reopen.

"For the month of June, I am up 25 percent over a year ago," said Kiss The Sky owner Steve Warrenfeltz. "So business in June has been really, really good."

He attributed the jump to people wanting to start shopping again.

"I think there is a lot of pent-up energy among people wanting to get out and enjoy music and enjoy life the way they used to," Warrenfeltz said.

And he said there are plenty of people wanting to support local businesses.

"We've taken a hit in the last two and a half months," Warrenfeltz said. "This store in particular in two and a half months lost $25,000."

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