FARGO - Several small businesses in downtown Fargo’s 400 Block are reopening Friday, May 22, after more than two months of closure to slow the spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Zandbroz Variety, Stabo Scandinavian Imports, Unglued, and Boots & Heels made the announcement Thursday.

“Beginning tomorrow, May 22nd, your favorite shops on the 400 Block will be OPEN for in-store shopping,” said the notice posted to three of the four business’s Facebook pages.

“We’ve considered, and carefully weighed what re-opening should look like in order to provide our community the shopping experience it deserves while prioritizing health and safety. We’ve collectively concluded that we feel comfortable and confident welcoming you back in our shops to gradually get back to the 400 Block experience we all miss,” the notice said.

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Zandbroz Manager Jose Danz said reopening has “been a long time coming. The whole time we’ve been closed, our No. 1 priority has been our staff and our community.

“With every decision we’ve made, the health and safety of everyone involved is our first and foremost priority,” Danz said.

Danz asks that people respect each other as they take “small steps to return to something we took it for granted” in being able to shop without worry.

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Working in the new circumstances brought on by the pandemic will be a slow and steady process, she said.

Danz said Zandbroz could probably have stayed open, like many big box stores. And they could have absolutely reopened three weeks ago. So their decision to remain closed longer has been a hit on their bottom line.

“Business hasn’t been normal for 10 weeks. But I want to stress that we’re so grateful for what we have been able to maintain,” Danz said, thanking her employees and customers.

“It’s forced us to adapt and it’s forced to evolve in ways that I wouldn’t have predicted,” including creating an online store, something that hadn’t topped her to-do list before the pandemic.

The Facebook notice said the shops are asking customers to adhere to several guidelines:

  • Masks are a must. If you don’t have one or forget yours, they will be provided.
  • Hand sanitizer will be provided and required upon entrance to each shop.
  • No large groups. Shopping is allowed in groups of up to three people.
  • Each shop will limit the number of guests allowed in at one time to ensure adequate social distancing space.

“Each of us on the 400 Block are grateful for the patience, support, and understanding gifted to us over the last several months. We’re stoked to welcome you back into our shops and hope you’ll continue to adapt with us with respect and a sense of humor,” the notice said. “Finally, we want to assure you that this isn’t the ‘new normal.’ This is simply the new right now. The 400 Block will always prioritize community above all else, so we’re continually shape-shifting to do what’s best for you and us!”