York County business owners readjust to the post-pandemic world

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Some York County businesses are finally readjusting to a sense of normalcy – although that doesn’t mean some newly acquired pandemic habits will go away.

Christina Clarke, owner of Sunrise Soap Co., for example, said she was quite happy to keep her plastic barrier on the checkout window. Although mitigation efforts across the state ended on Memorial Day, local contractors continue to do their part to ensure customers feel safe.

“I observed that people were more comfortable and saw people calling us in groups of seven or ten,” said Clarke, referring to Sunrise Soap Co’s DIY creation stations. “We leave it to the people to decide.”

While the COVID-19 pandemic has affected many local businesses like Sunrise Soap Co., located at 29 N. Beaver St., all has not been negative.

Christina Clarke, owner of Sunrise Soap Company, shows the store's expanded location.  Clarke expanded the store in October to provide more space for her DIY stations.  Photo by Tina Locurto.

Clarke expanded the store in October to a second building adjacent to its York location, providing more space for its DIY stations, which previously occupied a small corner of the original store property.

This extra space encouraged larger groups to book without fear of being crowded together, she said.

Additionally, the store’s wide availability for the 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. opening hours and curbside pickup can be helpful for customers who are always uncomfortable being surrounded by larger crowds – things they were offering even before the pandemic.

“We just like to give our clients extended hours if they don’t feel comfortable crowding in with people,” Clarke said. “We’ve always worked with customer safety, and then it got easier to enforce in the first two months of COVID when it turned into a ghost town. I feel like we didn’t have not missed a beat. “

Megan Derstine, a store associate, wraps soap at Sunrise Soap Company on Wednesday, June 2, 2021. Photo by Tina Locurto.

Likewise, Paulus Mt. Airy Orchards made changes during COVID-19 that orchard officials plan to continue.

Karen Paulus, co-owner of Dillsburg Fruit Farm, said she plans to continue curbside pickup opportunities and extend hours for personal pickup events in the spring, summer and fall.

Although Paulus Mt. Airy Orchards, located at 522 E. Mount Airy Road, is considered an essential business due to its farmer’s market, the farm closed briefly for three weeks before only opening until May. .

Karen Paulus, co-owner of Paulus Mt. Airy Orchards, is concerned about how the virus could affect the future of their berry and fruit farm in Dillsburg.  The farm relies heavily on customers who pick apples, strawberries and other fruit during the summer and fall months.  Tuesday April 7, 2020. Photo by John A. Pavoncello

Many orchard workers are considered to be at high risk of catching COVID-19, and Paulus said she personally didn’t feel comfortable opening until managers knew how to operate safely. security.

A year later, Paulus said all of his high-risk employees are fully immunized, giving him a lot of confidence to operate.

“They have a great time working together and they missed it when they couldn’t come,” said Paulus. “I think they feel like things are back to normal for them.”

She added that the nature of her business also lends itself to social distancing by providing plenty of outdoor opportunities rather than cramming into indoor spaces.

Camdyn Delicatei, 9, from Lewisberry, examines a freshly picked strawberry during the Strawberry Festival at Paulus Mt. Airy Orchards in Dillsburg on Saturday June 1, 2019. Photo by Dawn J. Sagert

“We’re just lucky to have a business that a lot of our offerings are outside of,” Paulus said. “It’s a beautiful day today, so people are going out to buy ice cream – people are coming to pick strawberries.”

As more York County residents are fully vaccinated, store owners say it’s a good sign that things are getting back to normal, including Alexandria Hammond, the owner of My Girlfriend’s Wardrobe.

The York-based consignment store relied on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention while operating throughout the pandemic. Now, people who have been vaccinated have the choice of whether or not to wear a mask in the retail store.

“I feel very confident and have more hope,” Hammond said. “The customers are really excited – they’re definitely getting more comfortable shopping now.”

During the pandemic, new cleaning procedures have become a habit for Hammond and will not stop anytime soon.

“We’ve always cleaned the store well. We just made it more visible to customers,” Hammond said. “We don’t hesitate to clean up while customers are in the store so our efforts are more visible.”

Going forward, Hammond said she looks forward to seeing more residents come to York to shop and eat, adding that she anticipates a large crowd for the First Friday.

“I’m really excited to see the downtown offices slowly bringing their employees back and to see people walking downtown again,” Hammond said. “Overall, customers are happy to see this change.”

– Contact Tina Locurto at [email protected] or on Twitter at @tina_locurto.

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