By Barbara High

Tribune Staff Writer

KEYSER - Many local stores have had to adapt and change in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, and now they are looking ahead to a new normal as they make plans to move forward in life and business after the pandemic.

Two such businesses in the Keyser area are Boggs Supply and The Indie on Main.

According to Dawn Boggs, their longstanding business is currently operating from 8 a.m. to noon Monday though Saturday, and after hours by appointment. They also offer delivery; around 1 p.m. they start delivering the rental equipment and the retail deliveries of mulch, gravel, river stone and/or landscaping blocks.

“We have been making deliveries late into the night or making more top soil for the next day just to keep things going,” she said. “Our customers have been very patient with us and with our shortened hours.”

Boggs says business has been booming, with the phones ringing off the hook. As much as they didn’t like to limit their hours, however, the shortened hours will stay the same for awhile because they are currently understaffed.

“We gave each employee the option to work or stay home,” Boggs explained, adding, “With that being said, we were down to Bill, Curtis Ellifritz and myself to man the store. We try to keep Curtis outside with the customers and he can keep his distance from them while he helps load them.”

Boggs said their sons Aaron and Harris were working the store part time before the pandemic blew up and they have now stepped up and worked the store more than ever.

“Both boys are working long hours, then going home and getting their homework done,” she said.

“I think they both have a new awareness of how hard their dad works and what he does to make everything work for us as a family. Boggs Supply could not have stayed opened if it wasn’t for them,” said Dawn.

As far as trying to keep their employees and customers safe, Dawn says they wipe the counters and doors down with bleach water on a regular basis. They have been requesting customers to stand six feet apart. They have multiple bottles of hand sanitizer on the counter that two of their customers have graciously donated to their cause.  Many customers wear their masks, which Dawn says is great.

“We have had many customers call ahead with their order. We get it together for them and then take it to their vehicle so they do not need to come inside,” she said.

Looking ahead, Dawn says they would like to start opening back up to 5 p.m., but to do this they need employees to return to work.

“And before this pandemic started, we needed to hire a few new employees,” she said.

“We are eagerly accepting applications for counter help with loading abilities. Once we hire new employees and get them trained then we can stay open until 5 p.m. again,” she said.

And while The Indie on Main wasn’t able to keep its doors open to the public during the pandemic, owner Stephen Settimi is looking forward to reinventing his business a bit when he reopens on June 6.

The Indie, a theatre that also offers private showings and parties, was forced to close to the public due to social distancing requirements. Before the pandemic, The Indie was showing movies to the public and was able to offer private moving showings where the customers were able to bring their own movie or give the title and the theatre was able to stream it. Now they have only been able to market promotional filming for bands for videos or band promotions, and by appointment only.

Looking ahead, however, Settimi plans to reopen for movie showings when it is an option, and to also branch out to offer a Pie and Tea shop in the lobby. A dining area will be set up where people can come and try various pies made by locals. Different pies will be offered daily, along with tea from the local Nettle Patch.

The Nettle Patch is working with The Indie to make special blends to be available in the Pie and Tea Shop.

In addition, Settimi already has several events planned for June 6, including a family matinee of “Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs,” live music by the band Pinnacle, a later showing of “Reefer Madness,” and a local art display.

With the pandemic not going anywhere anytime soon, businesses are looking ahead of how to open back up or continue to operate during this time. Local stores are stepping up and continuing to care and serve their communities.