COLUMBUS (WCMH) — As the state continues to reopen, many small business owners are welcoming back customers.

“I was so happy to flip the sign to ‘open’ today, but I was a little nervous to see if anybody was going to come,” said Stephanie Tersigni, the owner of Jolie, a boutique in the Short North.

While the Short North was noticeably more quite than a typical Tuesday, Tersigni said several customers did come into her store, and she is hopeful more will do so as more businesses reopen.

“With restaurants and patios being able to open soon, I think we’re going to see it [the Short North] come back to life soon,” she said.

One business owner also hoping that is the case is Jason Dowell, the owner of Fera.

Dowell held the grand opening for his denim boutique on March 15, but closed his store one day later as fears of COVID-19 grew.

“We are four people and we just wanted to keep us safe and obviously consumers safe, as well,” he explained.

Safety is still top of mind for Dowell and Tersigni.

Both are requiring their customers to wear masks while shopping. They are also providing hand sanitizer to shoppers.

As all businesses reopen, Joe Goodman, an Ohio State marketing professor, said this is a time filled with uncertainty, but he offered advice to business owners as they navigate this new landscape.

“Continue to think outside the box and find new ways to try to serve your customers and give them a sense of safety and security and confidence that they can shop and they can be with you and work with you,” he said.

On Friday, bars and restaurants will be allowed to resume outdoor service. Barbershops, hair salons, tattoo parlors, and massage services will all also be permitted to reopen.

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