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Downtown stores greeted with customers
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Raleigh Gilliam makes himself a big cup of frozen yogurt at Topz. The business reopened Friday.

Nearly every store on Main Street McMinnville has awakened from state-mandated COVID-19 closures and is open for business.

“It’s been so long I want to give all my customers hugs, but we’re giving air hugs instead,” said Juicy’s owner Mary Beth Laxson. “We’ve been really busy, especially the last couple of days. Our dining room has been open but so far nobody has sat down to eat. Everyone’s come in for takeout.”

Mary Beth also operates a Juicy’s in Murfreesboro where she says it’s been difficult to find employees because people seem to like earning an extra $600 a week in unemployment thanks to federal government stimulus funds.

“Restaurant work doesn’t pay that much so people are earning more by not working,” said Mary Beth.

At The Vanilla Bean Baking Company a sign was positioned outside the store to welcome customers on Friday. It said, “Life happens. Coffee helps.”

“It’s been fairly normal and that’s a good thing,” said Kayla Woodard who operates the bakery with her mother, Sally Roberson. “People are comfortable coming in.”

Thursday was the first day back at Evelyn Taylor Avenue, which enjoyed a strong retail day, according to owner Penny Jones.

“I hope people are looking to shop and get out again,” said Penny, who noted her store is not a greater source of germs than the big retail chains that have remained open. “I haven’t heard about any employees at Walmart or the grocery stores getting sick and they’ve been right in the middle of everything the whole time.”

Cumberland Biscuit Company is one of the few stores which is not reopening. Restaurant owner Anna Sands said they are waiting till June 1 to reopen that business. However, Topz Frozen Yogurt and Topz Metro Deli have reopened with Friday being the first day.

Raleigh Gilliam was one of the many customers who gravitated toward the frozen yogurt machines and made himself a tasty dessert after lunch.

Furry Tales had continued to groom dogs during the coronavirus shutdown, but Friday was the first day for the retail store to open.

Dog groomer Tiffany West was busy giving Zoe the dog a trim. She noted she’s also a licensed hairdresser who has been able to work on dogs but not people.

Diamond Jewelry Company has been located at the same spot on Main Street for 60 years. Owner David Stinson said it’s great to be back open, although it’s taken a little while to get up to speed.

“I’ve still been doing stuff for people, like for birthdays, even when we were closed,” said David. “Business hasn’t been the best but it’s all right. We’re going to make it through this.”

Morrison residents Bob Argo and his wife, Leslie, spent about two hours shopping downtown on Friday and eating lunch at Topz.

“My wife is a shopper,” said Bob while waiting outside Evelyn Taylor Avenue on a bench. “We like to eat at Topz because it’s good food at a fair price. It’s nice to see the economy picking up again.”

At Renewed Creations, owner Jennifer Bond had gone to online sales when her store was forced to close. She’ll also do curbside pickup for anyone who may be reluctant about going inside a store at this time.

“Today is our first official day and we’re back to our regular hours,” said Jennifer on Friday.