Today, May 15th, marks the two month anniversary of when we temporarily closed our store doors. As you know, behind the scenes our team has been working hard to adapt — moving more online, offering 3x a week delivery to 10+ towns, and expanding our shipping. But regardless of how we all move forward over the next months...things are going to be different.
In that light we want to let our community know — though retail stores are permitted to open May 18th in our state, we have decided to delay opening our store space to the public.
Don’t get us wrong — we miss all your faces! We wish we could walk back into our sunny corner on College St. and swing the doors wide. We love being your go-to spot for unique gifts; we love sharing our passion for American-made with every passerby, catching up with regulars and meeting new ones and, of course, the hustle n’ bustle of Saturday shopping.
But if we open our doors next week, that’s not how it will look. All the science is telling us that this is a critical time to hold on to the progress we’ve made. With the safety of our at-risk staff, customers near and far, and vulnerable populations foremost in our mind — we want to make the right choice for our business.
For now, that is to stay the course we began on March 15th to move our store online and focus on delivery and ecommerce. Common Deer is available to you 24/7 at commondeer.com, and we’re just a phone call or email or direct message away most hours of the day or night. We hope you will support us through this tough decision, and adapt with us. The choice to open will look different for every small business. Margins in small retail are notoriously tiny (we do it for the love!) and these times are… testing even the strongest.
We built this business from the bottom up; and if the model we’ve relied on over the past seven years doesn’t work for the current moment...then we’ll continue to build a new one. We appreciate our state government’s measured approach and want to thank them for their efforts on behalf of small business.
The truth is, small business needs you all more than ever. Just because there’s an OPEN sign in a window, doesn’t at all mean that we’re out of the woods. Opening doors doesn’t magically make a pandemic (or the cratered economy, or unemployment) disappear. So many of us will be opening to empty streets, high costs, and difficult-to-enforce safety measures. Many will double or triple expenses to cover sanitation efforts. We’ll be wearing masks, but what if customers don’t? Will our cheery staff be ready for heated “civil liberty” debates with un-masked patrons? Please respect that every store is facing incredibly hard decisions. Please be kind to each other, and to staff and owners. And please, follow their guidelines or support them curbside.
All this to say: even though Common Deer’s front doors aren’t open just yet, we want you to know that we’re still here — albeit at a safe distance.
And don’t worry, soon, with unbridled excitement and emotion, we’ll swing those doors to our retail store wide and welcome you in with smiles, good tunes, and lots of cheer. For now, we hope you’ll continue to support us online. Know that our team is working hard and staying safe to keep you safe. We’re offering local delivery to 10 towns and growing. We’re shipping nationwide to reach our far-away customers and your loved ones. Every unique item we sell keeps 500+ American makers and artists working through this tough time. Including us!
From the depths of our hearts, thank you for being with us.
This is not easy, but we’ve dialed in a new heading, and with your continued support, we’ll get through these stormy seas together.
Sarah + Sharon
And the rest of the Common Deer team