Many downtown stores in Palm Springs have been closed due to COVID-19 concerns.
“We have seen friends on the street close their doors forever it would seem. Several galleries have gone out of business among others so it has definitely hit us hard here on main street,” said Christopher Kennedy, owner of Christopher Kennedy Inc. in Palm Springs.
To prevent further losses, Kennedy and other owners created Palm Springs Retailers United. The group has established a standard set of guidelines that will be put into place once stores are given in-store shopping clearance.
“In the absence of any guidelines coming from the state right now, we just got together on our own to say what can we do to inspire consumer confidence,” said Kennedy.
“We need to collectively figure out what is retail doing internationally because Europe is two weeks ahead of us, what are other states doing, what’s working and what’s not working,” said Brandon Lindley, the owner of Havaianas Palm Springs who is also part of the PSRU.
Together, they’re spearheading a curbside reopening for Memorial Day weekend, centered on the picture created by the artist Shag.
“So if you see this poster on a store in Palm Springs it means we’ve all committed to enhance safety protocols. Including putting on masks for all employees and guests, physical distancing of course, sanitation protocols and of course curbside pickup,” said Kennedy, alluding to a time when shops can reopen.
For the weekend, the image also means 10 percent of the participating stores proceeds will be donated to the Palm Springs Animal Shelter.
“They missed their annual fur ball which is a big charity event that funds them through the rest of the year, and so what better than for the small business community to engage with the animal shelter and donating and giving back,” said Lindley.
The alliance is encouraging local retailers and shoppers to take part in their curbside event this weekend.
“This is the big retail day and weekend for the entire retail industry for this time of year and we need to capitalize on it while we can, even if it means we’re just going to be doing curbside pick up,” said Lindley.
The shops involved have agreed to follow state mandated orders and say their efforts are to increase consumer safety while shopping downtown.