Retail shops joined the ranks of businesses allowed to reopen Wednesday, giving them a chance to reconnect with their customers.

Businesses were shut down in March because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Poor Richard’s Books, 233 W. Broadway St., opened at 10 a.m. Wednesday with a customer waiting at the door.

“We’ve been doing curbside and online orders since we were closed to the public,” owner Lizz Taylor said. “It’s nice to see people, and everyone has been so respectful and appreciative of being able to come in and browse a bit.”

While the store was able to do business while closed, Taylor said it was 30% of what it normally does.

“We’ll gladly continue curbside if there are people who need it,” she said. “We have two sneeze guards at the checkouts thanks to Robert Kirkman with Three Elements Designs.”

Masks are available at the door for customers, as is hand sanitizer to use before entering the store.

“We’re just happy to have folks come in and get back to some kind of normal,” Taylor said.

Like Poor Richard’s, Nitro of Frankfort, 220 W. Main St., has been doing business online and curbside for the past two months.

“We’ve been closed since March when the edict came down from Governor Beshear,” sales associate Anna Latek said. “We’ve had online sales where people can order through our Facebook page or order online, and we’ve been shipping all over the country. We also have curbside pickup.”

Nitro, a women’s clothing and accessories store, reopened Wednesday at 11 a.m.

Customers are asked to wear masks and practice social distancing. Up to 16 people can be in the store at one time, and there is hand sanitizer available at the front counter.

“We were able to keep our customers safe and keep the company running,” Latek said. “Safety is still the most important thing right now for both the staff and customers.”

To that end, all clothes at the store are steamed before they’re put on display, and they’re steamed again after someone handles them.

“It’s the new normal,” Latek said. “I think it’s likely changes will be implemented, but in the end it will benefit everyone.”

Judith Searcy was glad to be shopping in person Wednesday at Nitro.

“It’s been stupid crazy,” she said of the last two months. “You could go to Walmart, Kroger and Lowe’s but not do retail, and they’re not wearing masks and not staying 6 feet apart.

“You can see by my three (shopping) bags here, I’m tickled to death to be able to get out.”

Big Lots opened its new location at 1300 US 127 South about the time other businesses were closing because of the pandemic.

Because Big Lots sells groceries, it’s considered essential and has continued doing business since its March 26 opening.

“Sales have been better than average,” Manager Dyllon Jennings said. “I think it’s because it’s a brand new store, a better location, and we’re considered essential as well.”

Harbor Freight Tools, located next to Big Lots, opened in February and has remained open during the pandemic.

ALDI, a grocery store next to Harbor Freight Tools, opens Thursday.

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