Entering Phase One, many businesses open while some elect to stay closed

Phase One Preview

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - For the first time in weeks, stores are getting back to normal with customers now able to go inside and look around, thanks to Phase One of the North Carolina reopen plan. But some stores are still choosing to air on the side of caution.

In Wilmington, Phase One is music to the ears of many shop owners, but one small business isn’t jumping on board.

“I don’t want to put our customers or our staff at risk by letting them inside the shop right now, sharing that air space, being inside a confined space," said Matt Keen, owner of Gravity Records. “It’s too close to each other.”

Gravity Records moved to online sales with curbside pickup once stores had to close and say they’re content with that setup for now. They have a smaller staff and they’re doing well enough to keep the lights on. So, they’ve elected to keep customers out, for safety reasons.

”We shut the doors earlier than we had to, we’ll open the doors later than we have to, said Keen. “I would reopen right now if I felt like we could, I would love to have people coming in here and buying records, I just feel like it’s too early.”

But about five minutes away is Memory Lane Comics and the story is a little different for them. They plan to open Monday and they’ve already got preparations underway.

“It’s a lot of stuff to pick up and touch and clean so we’re requiring face masks, we’ll have a sanitation station right when you walk in, said Ben Motsinger, co-owner. “That’s just to make sure we don’t get sick with all the computers and stuff we touch all the time that’d mean we’re all going to get it.”

They’ve done okay with online sales, and the comic shop feels the cleaning measures, plus allowing only eight customers at a time is doing their due diligence. But comic shops are all about the touch and feel of the comic, flipping through the pages and letting your imagination run wild, something you can’t do from the sidewalk.

”We really want to get back more to that feeling when you walk in of wow look at that stuff and that’s hard to do when you’re looking through a window or looking at a website and we really want to get back to that and having that customer experience," said Motsinger.

Whether open or closed, everyone agrees today is a big step to a return to normalcy.

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