Open for business

Fran Brownell

PRATT -- Parsons Jewelry, Memories and Simply Southwest were among several Pratt Main Street businesses that re-opened their doors last week to customers following the expiration of Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly’s stay-at-home order issued April 16 with a goal of flattening the curve of the COVID-19 global pandemic.

“It felt unsettling to be at home as long as we were,” Parsons Jewelry proprietor Steve Parsons said. “First two days back we had some excitement going on. We had some nice sales.”

Being able to be open in time for Mothers’ Day shopping was a benefit to both shoppers and the store, Parsons said.

“We’ve also had people looking for anniversary gifts to express their love,” Parsons said.

Along with jewelry, batteries were in demand at Parsons, located at 303 South Main.

Memories owner Cathy Hergenreder also said she was glad to be able to reopen her business at 110 South Main.

“It was the best feeling in the world to be able to open our door and let our customers in,” Hergenreder said. “We missed them so much.”

Hergenreder said her recent Facebook posting of colorful handbags that she lined up on the sidewalk in front of Memories and photographed from ground level captured attention.

“We sold out and I have more coming,” Hergenreder said.

Hergenreder said she worked at the store every day during the shutdown, even though she couldn’t open the doors.

“When customers returned, the first thing they said was how much they missed the aromas of our scented products,” Hergenreder said.

Another top seller at Memories, according to Hergenreder, is their line of CBD products.

“They’re highly used to reduce anxiety and calm people down,” Hergenreder said of the store’s Kansas-based Veo line of CBD products that include creams, drops and gummies.

Terri Siroky, owner of Simply Southwest, 213 South Main, said that her almost three-decades-old business got a headstart of the official reopening with carryout lunches and beverages, delivered curbside, before Simply Southwest re-opened its doors to the public on Monday, May 4, Gov. Kelly’s official reopening date.

‘It’s great that people can now come in for lunch and to shop,” Siroky said. “Everyone’s expressed how much they enjoy it.”

Siroky, who has maintained a Pratt Main Street location for about a since 1992 , said shoppers have been interested in a variety of merchandise, from gifts to new spring and summer fashions and accessories.

In keeping with social distancing regulations, Siroky said she has spaced the dining tables at the front of the store to comply with COVID-19 regulations.

The business will normally seat 25, but not all table are open to assure that state requirements are met, Siroky said.

The Expresso and Lunch Bar offers sandwiches and a variety of coffee and fountain drinks, including Frosticcino, a popular signature drink.

Employee Robin Langford is usually the one behind the lunch counter, taking orders and making sandwiches and specialty drinks as well as serving up spicy pretzels.

“We’re the home of the Twisted Sister Pretzel,” Siroky said. “We also sell the seasoned spice packs as well.”

Siroky summed up the impact of COVID-19 on her business.

“We had an amazing fourth quarter in 2019 and I bought accordingly, Siroky said. “Now I’m laying people off and our clothing line has missed part of its season.”