EAST LYME, Conn. (WTNH)– Hardware stores aren’t necessarily facing hard times during this pandemic.
Cash True Value in East Lyme sometimes sees 600 customers a day.
“It’s actually been our busiest Spring we’ve had in recent memory,” said store manager Nick Wrobel.
Along with requests asking customers to wear masks, is a ‘help wanted’ sign on the front door.
“We’ve recently filled three positions and we’re looking to fill two more within the next couple of weeks,” said Wrobel.
He was quickly able to fill positions in the lumber yard with young people who don’t mind working outside. But it’s been harder to find people who want to work inside the store, even with the precautions taken. Plexiglass barriers are at every register, masks are mandatory for workers, and six feet social distancing is required.
“I feel like some people might have some apprehension to working somewhere that’s inside or working with the public right now too, which is probably understandable honestly,” said Wrobel.
Grace, a boutique just down the street in Niantic, plans to welcome customers inside again June 1.
“We’ve changed our whole layout to create lots of room in between displays,” said store owner Rachel Rinoski.
She says they have kept busy with curbside deliveries and Facebook live sales Thursdays at 6.
Some of her employees aren’t returning when they reopen.
“They might live with someone who has a compromised immune system and they don’t feel comfortable being out in the workforce yet at this point because they don’t want to get themselves exposed to anything and they’re really not going out at all,” said Rinoski.
Others not returning are older and in the more vulnerable population.
During the Department of Labor’s weekly press conference the deputy commissioner said those folks can continue to receive benefits and also said the number of claims has dropped a bit since the state’s first phase of reopening May 20.