Overcoming obstacles: Downtown Noblesville businesses adapt to restrictions due to COVID-19

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Many businesses will likely experience a significant drop-off in sales due to closures and limited business hours with precautionary measures in place across the nation to limit the spread of coronavirus.

But in downtown Noblesville, some niche shops and single-location storefronts and restaurants around the square are getting creative to get through the tough time.

Nearly every business on the square has altered its usual operation in some way, from closing completely to switching to online-only sales or limiting hours.

One of the busiest spots on the square, Noble Coffee & Tea, has locked the café doors and is offering curbside service.

“We had already been trying to figure out what was going to happen next. With Ohio and Illinois closing, I knew something was going to happen in Indiana,” Noble Coffee & Tea owner Robyn Littler said. “Out of an abundance of caution, we decided to close the café (March 16), get it sanitized and have limited contact.

“So, people can call in or order online. When somebody pulls up, we bring it out, so it’s safer for our employees and just reduces exposure.”

Littler said sales are down significantly from this time last year, but she knows other businesses are in the same boat.

Lil Bloomers owner Shauna Metzger pauses outside her store, one of the few on the block to remain open March 18.

Shauna Metzger owns Lil Bloomers Children’s Boutique at 876 Logan St. Although the store is still open, she’s said she’s hoping people will support the businesses through online orders if they don’t want to leave their homes.

“Honestly, it’s really affecting us,” Metzger said. “(March 17) we had no sales, and (March 18) we’ve had two online sales but no one came in the store. We’ll just try to keep promoting online (mylilbloomers.com), do live Facebook sales maybe, things like that.

“We’re just going to try to adjust how we can. Never in my lifetime did I ever think that something like this would happen.”

Metzger also has opened the store’s back party room as a place for kids to stay while their parents are at work.

“As of right now, we haven’t adjusted hours, but what we have done is open up our party room for people who have no place for their kids to go since daycares have closed,” Metzger said. “We’ve had a few people take advantage of it. We’re doing it week by week, and it’s limited to 10 kids to create those social-distancing boundaries.”

Foot traffic downtown is light, but support for the small shops is clear, with positive chalk messaging marking downtown sidewalks to store owners and employees buying from each other.

Noble Coffee & Tea barista John Austin delivers a curbside order.

ADJUSTMENTS TO SHOPS ON THE SQUARE

As of press time, downtown businesses on the square have made the following changes:

STORES

RESTAURANTS




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