What We Did, and When We Did It
A Brief Timeline of Thinker Toys’ Pandemic Response
Thinker Toys closes to all in-store shopping for the next two-and-a half months. Most of our employees choose to stay home. Only the two owners and our manager are in the store during this time. We shorten our hours and move as much merchandise as is possible to the front of the store in what we call “Re-Imagined Window Shopping.”
We use sanitizer compulsively, wash our hands so much you'd think the only songs we knew were live Grateful Dead cuts (remember, they said wash your hands as long as two songs) and the married owners physically distance from the manager. At some point during this period we adopt mask-wearing, adjusting to evolving knowledge about the coronavirus.
Our employees voluntarily return. We expand our hours to reflect a "normal" schedule, although customers are still not allowed in the physical store.
We re-open to limited numbers of customers. We have just installed Plexiglas shields and take employee temperatures with a contact-free digital thermometer. We socially distance from each other and customers. Surfaces are still cleaned obsessively. Everybody wears a mask.
Thinker Toys takes its first online order since opening in 1994. It's for $15.99.
We install industrial UV-C germicidal lights in our HVAC system so that all of our circulated air is treated; lab tests have verified the efficacy of this against the coronavirus.
Our MERV filters are replaced following the recent smoky air conditions.
In a press conference the Governor mentions Thinker Toys and Annie Bloom's Books by name as example of independent businesses that deserve patronage. And the crowd goes wild. Well, our cell phones blow up for the next hour or so.
We install three free-standing HEPA filter air purifiers throughout the store. They are well-suited to the store square footage and complement the UV-C lights and MERV filters in the HVAC system.
We replace the original Plexiglas screens with a single panel that provides a more complete barrier between staff and customers. Side panels are also installed.
In the week ending 12/3 we take almost 200 online orders. Most customers pick-up curbside but many opt for free delivery for orders above $50 within 5 miles.
To be continued...