Texas Stores Begin “Retail To Go” in Reopening Process

Service will operate similarly to curbside pick-up at restaurants, store owners say

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As of Friday, retail stores across Texas were able to start offering “retail to go” after being closed to the public for several weeks.

The first phase of scaled back state restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic was announced last Friday by Gov. Greg Abbott, which included allowing businesses to conduct “retail to go” services.  

Lisa Dickinson, general manager of Parts Unknown in Fort Worth, explained it would work similarly to curbside services currently offered by restaurants. A customer would place an order either online or phone then pick it up outside the store’s designated area.

An employee would bring it to the customer's car using gloves and other protective equipment, Dickinson said.

“I think it’s a big deal, because it’s a step in the right direction for sure,” she told NBC 5.

Parts Unknown, located on Houston Street in Sundance Square, has been opened for three years. They sell products from about 40 different vendors.

Dickinson said she isn’t sure how much business curbside services will bring, but they have been in touch with customers ever since their doors temporarily closed.

“For the first couple of weeks, we just stayed home like everybody else. Then I started coming into the store on a Monday or a Friday just to kind of blow the dust off and make sure everything was good in there. We started doing some brainstorming, 'how are we going to make this work?'” she explained. “We’ve been sending pictures on our phone. We’ve been doing FaceTime events where we walk around the store and show them all of the products.”

Tammy Pastillo, owner of Yours Truly, has also turned to social media and technology to sell products while her shop is closed. Like Dickinson, she’s not sure what kind of an impact curbside will bring.

Using Facebook live on Mondays and Thursdays at 1 p.m., Pastillo said they’ve been offering their customers shopping in real-time.

“We love it. Customers love it. We can get a big audience right away with not a lot of effort. They don’t have to show up at your doorstep. They just have to log on to their phone or computer and they’re right there with us. Ready to shop,” she said. “We’ve got a following there, so we’re picking up sales. We have our regular customers calling in, but it’s slow. Overall, it’s very slow. We’re closed for the most part.”

Though the reopening phase for retail businesses remains uncertain at this point, Pastillo she said she will likely continue Facebook live sales even once the pandemic passes. For now, they will try out curbside services.

“Some action is better than none at this point,” she said.

Abbott is expected to give an update on reopening businesses on Monday.

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