Gingerbread Antiques in downtown Waxahachie is among the stores working to provide a safe shopping experience for visitors and residents alike during the pandemic.

“We have really tried to stick to the recommendations of the CDC, which include wearing a mask, washing our hands, sanitizing and maintaining social distancing,” manager Melissa Chapman said. “It’s the best way to protect our customers and staff.”

Efforts include placement of a touchless hand sanitizer station by the front door and a sneeze guard in place at the checkout counter. Signage reminds customers and staff of the governor’s executive order to wear masks; there’s also a fun reference of how to visualize the social distancing requirement of 6-feet is (it’s roughly the length of a bed, by the way).

“We have an ultra-clean store,” said Chapman, noting that customers have expressed their appreciation for the measures – and she’s also noticed more of a “looking with their eyes” approach in line with what would have been the childhood guideline of “look but don’t touch,” as they browse around (with plenty of room to spare) within the antique mall’s 7,200 square feet.

“It’s easy in here to socially distance and move through the building at your own pace and not be crowded,” Chapman said, noting that staff members are using sanitizing wipes on all high-touch surfaces such as the door.

“We’ve been pleased by the response of both our visitors and residents,” she said. “They’ve told us they’re pleased with what we’re doing to keep them and ourselves safe.”

Chapman feels the safe environment has drawn both old customers and created new ones.

“People can feel confident shopping at Gingerbread Antiques as we’ve made changes to ensure better health and safety measures are in place for our customers, dealers and workers,” she said, adding also, “Please consider the vulnerable among us and comply with Texas’ mandate to Mask Up while you shop with us.”

She firmly believes that the shop’s compliance with the governor’s executive order has, in turn, helped the business do well during challenging times.

“People feel safe coming in to shop,” she said. “And even with the economic downturn, we have been doing very well.”

As an example, with the shop only having been open half of the month of June, sales were 83-percent of what they were the entire month of June 2019.

“We consider that a huge win and July continues to be as strong,” Chapman said. “We feel it is possible to go out and shop and still be safe.”

One of the antique mall’s customers, Gina Mayes, shared her experience on Facebook, writing, “We just went there this morning and really appreciated that there was hands-free sanitizer and everything. We had a great shopping experience!”

Chapman believes that customers feeling comfortable, in turn, brings about economic benefit.

“We had a really great Fourth of July weekend and sales were better than 2019,” she said. “It really seems to work out. Most people coming in already have their mask on or put it on.

“Hopefully, we’ve found a way to work with it and live through it until the pandemic is over,” she said. “We’re able to do both, have good sales and be safe. Safety requirements don’t have to stop us.”

Gingerbread Antiques was due to celebrate its 25th anniversary in the spring; however, those plans have been put on hold until a celebration can be safely held.

“I believe we’re the oldest antique store in downtown,” Chapman said. “We look forward to celebrating that in the future. We hope to be here many more years to come.”

Gingerbread Antiques is located at 310 S. College St., Waxahachie.

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