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ILLINOIS REOPENS: 'It's nice to have the door open again'
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ILLINOIS REOPENS: 'It's nice to have the door open again'

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The door was open, letting Friday’s sunshine and, hopefully, customers into Rock Island’s Inspiredesign Jewelry as many Quad-Cities businesses embraced looser COVID-19 restrictions in Illinois.

It had been awhile since that door had been open to foot traffic — late March in fact, Mindy Diaz, the shop’s owner, said.

“It’s very nice to have the door open again,” Diaz said.

It was about 11 a.m., and in the shop’s first hour, it’d already seen about a half-dozen customers, Diaz said. The traditional busy time is around lunch, when people use their break to swing by.

An hour later, at Silvis’ Sunny Cove, two masked women browsed the arts and crafts on display — wall hangings, insects crafted from wire and colored glass containers, soaps and more. After a moment, they were joined by a third.

Sunny Cove also opened late Friday morning, and had seen a dozen customers by lunch time, Michelle Praught, one of the owners, said.

“I think people are kind of itching to get out a little bit,” Praught said.

She and Diaz both said online sales helped their businesses during the weeks that Illinois was shut down to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

“It wasn’t completely awful because we were able to sell,” Praught said.

Diaz said Inspiredesign didn’t break any records during those weeks, but her business stayed afloat.

During the shutdown, she made bracelets comprised of leather and colored stones which she marketed to her customers online as “pandemic bracelets,” Diaz said. The first batch sold out within four hours.

Diaz said she also created a dropoff system for customers who needed repairs on jewelry.

Carmen Fuentes, of Carmen's Jewelry, was cleaning the windows of her shop Friday afternoon. She opened at lunchtime and had also seen a couple of customers.

Funtes said she stayed closed during most of the shutdown. In recent weeks she started doing some repair work by appointment.

The shop is doing OK financially despite the closure, but she has missed her customers, she said.

“I hope they missed me too,” Fuentes said.

The customers of the three businesses will see some differences from normal operations when they visit in the coming weeks because the coronavirus still looms.

Diaz installed a wood and plexiglass barrier on her counters to help maintain separation between her customers and employees.

Both she and Fuentes have face coverings ready for customers who do not have their own.

Fuentes is only going to have two customers in her small storefront while Praught said Sunny Cove can accommodate up to four under current pandemic restrictions.

During the closure, Fuentes said she thought about her life.

She decided to scale back her hours, and will be closed Sunday through Tuesday, she said. Her new hours will be from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday to allow her more time for herself.

Fuentes, however, said she is not getting out of the jewelry business, which she loves. In September, the shop will have been part of Moline’s Floreciente neighborhood for 27 years.

“I’m not ready,” she said.

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