Empire Mall, Best Buy begin re-opening plans

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — For the first time in weeks, there were cars out in the parking lot of the Empire Mall.  It’s one of several major retailers now re-open for business, with some added precautions.

“It’s been a long seven long weeks since we’ve been closed and shutdown,” Sioux Falls Nestle Tollhouse Cafe owner Lindsey Schliemann said. “We had only been open literally three months and ten days when the mall decided to close, we definitely understood why, but it was disappointing to close so soon after opening.”

Schliemann says she is happy to finally get her new business up and running again and see visitors return to the mall.

“I’m extremely excited, as any business owner probably knows, being closed doesn’t stop your bills coming in and I personally have missed cookies,” Schliemann said.

Simon Property group, the corporate owners of the mall, won’t allow media inside right now, but Schliemann gave us a look inside at some of the changes they’ve made to help keep people safe.

“They’ve got the play area marked off where that’s closed, common areas like the merry-go-round out in front of our store, that’s blocked off,” Schliemann said. “The food court we see is all split apart for the six feet distancing, so its great to see that they’re taking all of those precautions to let everybody stay safe but still come out.”

“We’ll also have employees wiping down every surface that the customer touches, so for example, if a customer is demo-ing cell phones, that employee will immediately wipe down wherever they touched the product,” Matthew Smith, a spokesperson for Best Buy said.

This week Best Buy in Sioux Falls also started allowing customers in its store, but by appointment only.

“There will be a limited number of people allowed in store at any given time,” Smith said. “They will be paired with just one Best Buy employee, whether that’s a Geek Squad agent or a blue shirt and that employee will accompany them throughout the store until they leave.”

The change won’t bring back any furloughed employees yet, but it is a new addition to the curbside online pickup orders Best Buy has been doing since late March.

“We have been hearing form customers that they could benefit from being able to work one-on-one with an employee face-to-face and actually touch the product.

Nestle Tollhouse Cafe will also be adding curbside pickup, where customers can stay in their car and get their cookies, cookie cakes or ice cream delivered to their car right outside the Applebee’s Mall entrance.

Best Buy customers can make in store appointments online or on the app. The Empire Mall is now open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays.

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