Retail and hospitality begins to open back up in Opelika and Auburn

Photo special to the Opelika Observer

By Bradley

A fog is beginning to lift across Auburn and Opelika as business begins to open for both retail and the restaurant industry. Local shops and eateries are making special arrangements for customers coming in and out to help ensure the safety and health of all our community.

In downtown Opelika, passers-by are few compared to what is typically taking place this time of year. Mothers are not out shopping for teacher gifts as usual and business minds are not meeting as often to brainstorm marketing over a tasty lunch. However, the efforts and desire to continue to serve one another well are very present.

Small business owners at Oliver Henry and Studio 3:19 have become quite innovative as they change up their retail environment, while still maintaining health and hospitality.

Stacey Jordan, owner of Oliver Henry, has put her entire store on-line for shopping and purchasing, something she had not done until the pandemic began. Jordan’s clients and customers who wish to stay away from social settings can look at her inventory on-line, make a purchase and then do a pick-up option instead of going in doors. This gives her customers the luxury of home design while still feeling a sense of control in their own environment.

Oliver Henry is open for foot traffic Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jordan commented that she has received new design clients lately as women are wanting to re-design existing spaces in their homes. This is a huge positive for Jordan. Like all small business, closing your doors is never what you anticipate, but seeing a silver lining among this crisis is what maintains hope.

Studio 3:19, owned by Molly Anderson, has begun fashion styling appointments for all its customers. If you are wanting to shop, you simply make an appointment and you get the entire store to yourself, paired with a try on session. This way, the customer gets specialized, one on one treatment and the boutique is able to maintain its social distance from person to person. Anderson likes this model of change as she gets to know her customers on a deeper level and share her passion for style.

Ross House Coffee in Auburn also opened their doors back up for sit-down style service for coffee, pastries and lunch. With their large floor plan and outdoor seating, there is plenty of room to enjoy your work or a chat with friends, while still maintaining health precautions.

Ross House is open Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Owner Tony Holt is thankful to get back going but also knows it will take time for people to feel comfortable and be ready to come and go again.

The Collegiate Hotel, owned by Kim and Brian Worth, re-opened its bar for those wanting to get out and about as well. They are fortunate in the aspect of having lots of outdoor seating and space for small groups and gatherings.

Their rooftop bar is one-of-a-kind with views of Samford Hall and a beautiful Auburn sunset. They have set their tables the proper distance apart and have one server bringing out drinks to cut down on persons ordering at the bar. It’s a nice space to enjoy just one friend or even a group of five for work or business.

Kim added that locals are also calling ahead to use their space for small, intimate celebrations with family. Worth commented that even though it’s an unusual time for all of us, people are still wanting to celebrate small and big milestones with the ones they love.

The bar at The Collegiate Hotel is open at 2 p.m. daily until. To make a reservation, call followed by the number 334-821-2646.


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