Retailers temporarily close in Jasper


Many retailers in Walker County and across the country have chosen to temporarily close as cases of COVID-19 increase daily in the United States.

Some parking lots in Jasper were an eerie ghost town on Friday due to multiple closed businesses. 

Hobby Lobby and Petco were the lone retailers still open in the Jasper Square Shopping Center on Friday. Signs at T.J. Maxx and Shoe Carnival read the retailers would be closed until further notice, while a sign at Five Below stated the store closed at 7 p.m. Thursday and will be closed through at least March 31. 

Just down the road, the Jasper Mall has modified its hours. The mall will now be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

The mall's parking lot was nearly empty on Friday. It's anchor store, Belk, will be closed through at least March 30, based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Other temporarily closed stores in the mall include Bath & Body Works, AT&T, Nail Galaxy, Moon's Day Spa and Cato Plus.

Deb & Co., Hibbett Sports, Joe's Shirt Shop, Shoe Department, GNC, Zales, Carol's and Fisher's remained open as of noon Friday.

Other stores remained open along Highway 78 as well.

The Rustic Rose was continuing to serve customers who needed flowers for a number of occasions.

"All we can do is count our blessings during this time," owner Jenny T. Busby told the Daily Mountain Eagle on Friday.

Busby said if she were forced to close, she will use social media to serve her customers and share items for purchase.    

Home Depot, Tractor Supply, Harbor Freight, Big Lots, Mattress Firm, Walmart, Marvin's, Jasper Pickers and others continued to serve customers on Friday. 

Automotive retailers and repair shops remained open as well. 

Burkes Outlet is closed to customers until further notice. 

In downtown Jasper, all businesses appeared to be open as usual.

Bernard's did announce an early closure at 2 p.m. Friday. 

General store hours at Bernard's have been amended and will now be Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9:15 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Wednesday from 9:15 a.m. to noon; and Saturday from 9:15 a.m. to 2 p.m.  

"For those who wish to maintain distance, we will be happy to serve as your personal shopper either by phone or video calls. We will also offer curbside pick up for all of our customers," Bernard's shared in a statement to Facebook. "We would like to thank everyone for their continued support during this difficult time. Our thoughts and prayers go out to our local, national, and global communities alike." 

Other retailers in downtown Jasper have stated their promise to offer curbside pickup as well.

Many hair salons in Jasper were also closed on Friday, due to a closure recommendation from the Alabama Board of Cosmetology. The recommendation came after Gov. Kay Ivey released a public health order on Thursday to restrict gatherings of 25 people or more.

Jasper Mayor David O'Mary said the city will, of course, see an economic impact from the closures.

"It's hard to say precisely what impact it will have," O'Mary told the Daily Mountain Eagle on Friday. "We just hope it's a short duration. Beyond that, it's important for all to understand this is not driven by a weak economy. It's driven by the coronavirus. It's impacting folks along the manufacturing chain, and it's impacting our suppliers."

He continued, "We will feel the impact of it, but we'll get through this."  

O'Mary said small businesses have been hit hard by the spread of COVID-19, including area restaurants that were forced this week by the state to restrict indoor dining. Many eateries have since transitioned to curbside delivery.

"As I walk the streets of downtown Jasper, it's pretty easy to know it's having a major impact on their revenues," O'Mary said, noting that restaurants are doing rather well with takeout options.

O'Mary said he hopes small businesses won't be forgotten during this time.

"We need to carry our lives on, in my opinion, in as normal a manner as we can. This will pass. Jasper is going to be OK," he said. "We certainly don't need to simply pull the curtain and move out of circulation, because that really has an impact. I encourage people to carry on as normal as they can. Whatever you need, buy it, because our economy has to go on."