Monday, April 19, 2021

Customer Safety is the Top Priority for Southlake Businesses

Life may never be as it was before the COVID-19 pandemic, but many Southlake businesses are adapting to a new normal to ensure customer safety is the top priority. From retailers and restaurants to services and more, Southlake businesses are committed to providing a safe, clean environment for customers.

From offering one-on-one advice and design assistance for creating custom apparel (as well as bags, drinkware, office supplies and tech products), to giving customers the ability to see, touch and compare styles, Custom Ink opened its doors to customers in September. Facing the dual challenge of being a new business and operating during a pandemic, Custom Ink goes above and beyond recommended safety guidelines regarding COVID-19.

“We’re excited to show how this community and business can continue to grow and thrive despite the challenges of the pandemic, and we’ve taken a wide range of steps to protect the health and safety of our customers. One of the cool things we’ve done is to add a new option for customers to have appointments via virtual phone or video consultations, rather than visiting the store in person,” stated Amanda Kindel, the Southlake location manager, adding that virtual appointments will likely remain a permanent offering.

Serving businesses and schools, as well as individuals looking for customized items for themselves, their families and groups, Custom Ink is focused on creating the safest environment possible. The Southlake location has rearranged its space to create safe customer zones that promote social distancing and only allows one customer group in the store at a time. Surfaces are disinfected after each visitor, masks are required for both staff and customers, protective barriers are at each consult table, and complimentary hand sanitizer and masks are available for guests.

“Especially in these crazy times, it is truly heartening to see the power that something as simple as a custom t-shirt has to help unite a group of people together. Whether it’s a fundraiser to support a local animal rescue, a cancer survivor ordering shirts for their family for an annual charity run, or a business owner designing gear for their team – it all has a meaningful impact on peoples’ lives.”

As an essential business, Hollywood Feed is one of a few Southlake retailers that has remained open throughout the pandemic. The natural and holistic pet specialty retail store offers the highest quality dog and cat foods, USA-made treats, toys, beds and more.

Hollywood Feed implemented safety precautions at the start of the pandemic and continues to clean and sanitize the store frequently. Floor markers are used to offer customers guidance in maintaining six feet of separation within the store. Like many retailers, Hollywood Feed recognized the need to offer additional avenues for customers to obtain products and expanded its same-day delivery, began offering curbside pick-up, and offers one- or two-day shipping.

“Both our staff and customers are appreciative of the efforts made to keep them safe. While in-store traffic has not been as heavy as it was pre-COVID, we’ve seen a significant uptick in delivery and curbside services, so we’ve adapted nicely to helping our customers continue to get natural and holistic pet products they need and will continue these services post-pandemic,” stated Shawn McGhee, president of Hollywood Feed.

Hollywood Feed launched Hollywood Feed University, a pet wellness education resource, just prior to the start of the pandemic and the resource has gained even more momentum as people have made the shift to online learning. Virtual classes are currently available free of charge on topics including pet nutrition, physical and emotional wellbeing, behavioral issues, training techniques and more. Pet experts teach the courses and hold Q&A sessions with attendees.

Restaurants have been one of the hardest hit businesses during the pandemic and Redrock Canyon Grill is no exception. The sophisticated, yet comfortable restaurant offers a lively “exhibition kitchen” that specializes in southwest favorites. Closed for several weeks at the beginning of the pandemic, the restaurant has been operating at limited capacity since reopening.

“We are still seating 50 percent capacity so our guests can feel safe while dining with us. There are a lot of people coming in daily who say it’s their first time to eat out in eight months,” stated Kelli Grimes, the proprietor of Redrock Canyon Grill’s Southlake location.

Safety, now more than ever, is the main priority for the restaurant. In addition to employees wearing masks, a daily log is kept for each employee, their temperature is taken, and questions are asked about any potential exposure to COVID-19. If an employee answers yes to any question, they are sent home to quarantine and must bring back a negative COVID-19 test result before returning to work.

“Before COVID-19, we always sanitized our menus and completed detailed cleaning duties daily. That will never change for us. But since the pandemic, we have taken additional safety precautions. Sanitizing stations have been set up throughout the restaurant and all restaurant door handles are sanitized every 20 minutes.”

Additionally, Redrock Canyon Grill has revised hours due to the pandemic and offers curbside pick-up, which allows guests to enjoy menu items without setting foot in the restaurant.

“We will continue all sanitizing efforts at Redrock Canyon Grill, pandemic or not. By participating in Southlake Safe, we hope our guests feel safer when coming to our restaurant.”

A mainstay for activity in the community since 1999, Southlake Tennis Center (STC) was closed for two months at the outset of COVID-19. The city-owned facility offers indoor and outdoor tennis courts, with 19 lighted hard courts, adult league play, a junior program for all ages and levels, private and group lessons, and tournaments.

“We spent a lot of time while we were closed thinking about how to make STC the most inclusive facility. We got together with the facility managers of other local public facilities to come up with some guidelines that we could mutually implement when we reopened. We did a survey of our players prior to reopening and asked them to identify their concerns,” stated Mia Gordon-Poorman, general manager of Southlake Tennis Center.

In addition to equipping tennis pros with PPE essentials and increasing the cleaning frequency of doors and high touch surfaces, Southlake Tennis Center has made hand sanitizer available in nearly all parts of the facility, permanently opened court gates, installed acrylic barriers to protect staff and players, implemented ‘no contact’ front desk procedures, and reduced the number of junior program students, among other changes.

“I have so many players who have thanked us for our guidelines. People don’t often realize how many people are caring for elderly relatives or have high risk spouses and children at home. These people deserve the opportunity to play at our facility. In some ways, it is these players who need tennis as an outlet for the stress in their daily lives the most.”

Business is anything but usual due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but many Southlake businesses are playing a significant role in ensuring customer safety. All of the businesses mentioned in this article are participating in Southlake Safe, a business support initiative launched by the City of Southlake in an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. By signing the Southlake Safe pledge, business owners demonstrate their commitment to protecting the community by following recommended health and safety guidelines.