Cherry Creek North businesses prepare for reopening with ‘back-in-business kits’

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DENVER (KDVR) — There are 300 businesses in the Cherry Creek North district’s 16-block radius. About 20 percent of them are reopening on Saturday.

“Seventy percent of them are locally owned small businesses, so it’s really critical that we’re supporting those businesses,” Cherry Creek North Business Improvement District’s Jenny Starkey said.

On Friday, the Cherry Creek North Business Improvement District gave kits to businesses that were packed with tape, masks, gloves and signage to help stores get a safe start to reopening.

“A lot of the stores you’ll see open tomorrow are fashion boutiques, art galleries, jewelers, the Ku Cha House of Tea,” Starkey said. “We have services like barbers and we have makeup studios opening, it really runs the gamut.”

A Line Boutique has over a dozen stylists who work one-on-one with clients to get the perfect outfit for them.

“I describe this as a hospitality company with inventory” owner Karmen Berensten said.

During the stay-at-home order, Berensten made a commitment to pay for everyone’s full salary and benefits.

“I kept them all whole,” Berensten said. “We have bled, bled, bled for this company but we made that commitment.”

To stay afloat without one-on-one customer interaction, A Line, like many other local businesses, pivoted overnight.

“We actually took our Cherry Creek location, covered up the windows and this became a warehouse,” Berensten said. “We’re now re-merchandizing all of our four stores.”

Along with city and county rules, A Line is customizing their safety procedures and moving hours around customers’ needs.

“Some people really want no one in here, so we’re doing appointments at 7 a.m. and 10 p.m.,” Berensten said. “We want to work when it’s convenient for you and we’ve always done that. We pride ourselves on that.”

Down the street at Ku Cha House of Tea, manager Xavier Dones spent the morning laying out tape every six feet around the shop.

“It’s going to be our new normal for now,” Dones said, adding, “I’ve been at home for 53 days as of today, so I’m very excited.”

Dones will be wearing a mask when he works with customers and will ring them up behind a plexiglass barrier.

Ku Cha House of Tea is also only going to allow three to four customers inside at a time and ask those waiting to socially distance outside.

For a list of businesses opening in the Cherry Creek North district head here.

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