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Local boutiques embrace curbside, digital sales

Local boutiques in Mid- and South County today transitioned to curbside and retail only models under Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s latest plan to slowly re-open the state.

Retailers are navigating this unprecedented time with poise, class and a little tech savvy.

WREN owner Chrissy Lee Mercer is opening her shop today for the first time in several weeks.

Chrissy Lee Mercer, owner of WREN, prepares the store’s Facebook page Thursday for today’s reopening of curbside and retail to go. (Cassandra Jenkins/The News)

“For me, the most exciting part is not only being in the shop itself, but seeing customers,” she said. “I didn’t realize how much I miss them. Just the human interaction with people, even from a distance, I am very excited for.”

WREN will be open on limited hours Tuesday through Friday from 3 to 6 p.m. for curbside pickup.

“That’s how it will roll for a little while,” Mercer said. “I will be doing the shopping for everyone by filming videos, taking photos and doing different things inside the shop to show everyone what we have.”

Chrissy Lee Mercer lays out an outfit to take a photo of Thursday to update the shops social media for online shopping starting today. (Cassandra Jenkins/The News)

Mercer said the toughest part of the transition is customers not being able to put their hands on merchandise.

“I think the hardest part of all this is that people can’t try it on and see if they like it or if they don’t,” she said. “I don’t know how accessible it’s going to be, but I’m willing to make it work in anyway that I can.”

The boutique located on Port Neches Avenue will have items available for viewing on their website, Facebook and Instagram.

Mercer said the use of social media will be the saving grace for small boutiques and shops.

“It’ll be people on social media meeting me up here,” she said. “No one is going to just get caught driving by the store. Social media is really the only thing to hang on to right now.”

Since everyone’s been quarantined at home, Mercer said she’s seen a large spike in followers.

“There’s been a growth that probably wouldn’t have taken place without everyone sitting home in front of a screen for most of the day,” she said. “Social media is driving it.

“On the flip side of this thing, I think it will be bigger and better for these small businesses still open. Whoever makes it through, their businesses will thrive for it.”

Owner of Simply Chic Boutique, 3515 Nederland Ave., Lacey LeDoux is designing a website to supplement the shop’s Facebook account.

“(This pandemic) has hit us hard,” LeDoux said. “I’m the only employee here right now and I’ve been working on our website every single day. I have been doing curbside pickup and delivery every day on my own.”

Simply Chic has seen sales slow by more than 50 percent in the last two months.

LeDoux said the community can help by viewing merchandise posted online.

“The community has reached out to us to see how they can help, what they can purchase or do,” she said. “I’ve told them to like, comment or share our pictures. Not everyone is in the place to buy products right now, but maybe that post can reach someone who is.”

To place an order, message Simply Chic on Facebook, text or call 409-748-0154 between 11-4 p.m.

Free local delivery is available for Port Neches, Nederland and Groves with curbside pickup available from 11-4 p.m.