Tepid start for Vineyard storefronts

As phase one kicks off, down-Island streets are quiet.


Updated 7:50 pm

As part of phase one of the state’s reopening, a number of business types were able to reopen Monday, including retail storefronts and barbershops. But with the ongoing pandemic, the streets were quiet in Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, and Vineyard Haven, where the Vineyard’s storefronts are concentrated. 

Rainy Day owner Melissa Scammell is taking phone and online orders, but said business is “not even close” to what it should be for the time of year. 

“We’re anxiously awaiting June 8 so we can open,” she said. “Hopefully it’ll be June 8.”

June 8 could mark the start of phase two, which, barring any changes instituted by Gov. Charlie Baker, will permit shoppers to enter retail establishments. 

Claudia Canerdy, owner of Claudia Jewelry in Edgartown and Vineyard Haven, said she’s been busy getting prepared to open. “I have worked a couple weeks to get it organized and ready,” she said. “I don’t expect much at all from curbside.”

She’s had two sales and two inquiries thus far — “better than nothing,” but not like Memorial Day weekends of old, she said. She hasn’t even opened her Vineyard Haven store. “I just can’t deal with more than one at a time at this point,” she said. 

“There’s not a whole lot going on,” Brickman’s manager Vasska Fondren said. “Definitely not like Memorial days of the past.”

Edgartown Books manager Mathew Tombers was a bit more bullish. “It’s going well,” he said. “The phone has been ringing really regularly since 11 this morning.”

Tombers said he’s been leaving customers purchases outside the bookshop in blue bags.

Lazy Frog co-owner Jake Gifford said that from Frisbees to cribbage, most items in the store are available online. The store is offering free delivery across the Vineyard. On Wednesday, Gifford said, the Lazy Frog will celebrate its 15th anniversary. The store opened Monday. 

“There’s not a lot of people walking by,” he said. 

Phase two will restart Frisbee golf on the Vineyard, he said, and with it the Frisbee golf leagues. 

With those leagues sidelined, he said, “It’s been just a really weird time.”

With hair salons and barbers allowed to open in the first phase, there’s been a flurry of activity.

Gypsy Barber owner Kevin Brooks said it’s more costly now to cut hair, as a new apron and new sets of gloves must be used for each haircut. Masks, of course, must also be worn. He pointed out beard work is presently unavailable, because there’s no way to do it with a mask on the person getting his beard trimmed.

Louisa Gould, owner of the Louisa Gould Gallery, said she’s been open year-round, with gallery offerings available on the web. She has been running a benefit art show for Island Food Pantry. “There’s over 77 pieces that are available,” she said. 

Both her gallery and the artists give a percentage of sales from the artwork and jewelry to the pantry. This amounts to between 10 percent and 20 percent per item, she said. 

Benefit sales have been sufficient “to keep going,” she said. Therefore, she said, she is extending the benefit until June 30. 

She expressed her gratitude to repeat clients who are supporting not only the food pantry with certain purchases but artists in general with each purchase. “Over 60 percent of artists around the country are completely unemployed right now,” she said. 

Salissa King, owner of Sea Spa Salon, said she opened her doors at 8 am Monday, and by Tuesday evening had seen roughly 50 clients. 

“Women who had been waiting for their haircuts gave it to their husbands because they needed it more,” she said. King said it’s been hot and a bit awkward for her staff to work in masks and face shields, but the clientele keep their minds off that.

“Everybody’s been really happy,” she said. “Their spirits are high coming in here.”

King said her salon is not working at even 50 percent capacity. 

By phase two, they will do body waxing and nails, among other things. She said “clients are chomping at the bit” for nail work, and she’s learned of some misguided home pedicures. “People have been trying to bribe us to do it on the side, but we haven’t succumbed to that,” she said.

By phase three, she said, they’ll be able to do facials, lash extensions, and makeup, among other things: “We probably lost 80 percent of our wedding business this year. So that’s a big hit.”

But she noted she expects her biggest October ever, as many weddings have been rescheduled for that month. 

Updated with more businesses commenting. –Ed.



  1. I can see new gloves between hair appointments but a new apron? If everyone is wearing a mask, what will contaminate the apron? Water from a shampoo? Doesn’t soap and water kill the virus and how likely would it be to actually have the virus on your hair???
    That’s overkill and costly.
    Of course, there will be people that say you should still be hiding at home….I say to these people, if everyone is wearing a mask and you are washing your hands (like you have been all along) I think you are pretty safe.

    • I don’t know who you are or where you got your medical degree. Until I do I’m not certain what you think really matters. Also, if a barber feels safer with wearing PPEs who are you to judge how they go back to work?

      • Maybe he never had his hair cut and doesn’t understand the physical contact— or how virus droplets get around.

    • Masks, depending on the fit, may catch 50% of your droplets, as a minimum.
      The rest will go on mostly on the apron.

  2. Just because Proudamerican made a stilly statement you assume they are a he? What’s that all about????

    • You’re right. I should have said, “maybe they never had their hair cut…”. These days it’s no longer proper to use the singular “he” to cover both genders when the specific gender is unknown. And when it became too awkward to always write “he or she,” the use of “they” became grammatically acceptable to use to cover either sex in the singular. My blunder, sorry.

      • Jackie, it’s my biggest source of grammatical frustration and akwardness. “He” can be perceived as sexist even without that intention, “he or she” gets tiresome with repetition and sometimes has a snooty ring, though maybe that’s only in my head, and “they” just sounds wrong, nonono singular/plural mixing ahhhhhhh, even though it’s acceptable. English experts really stuck it to us by not coming up with a solid solution to this pickle sooner. Don’t feel bad.

        • Ajay, we’re not able to peek at other posters in that way through our computers or devices. Least I hope not. Visuals are not really helpful in determining pronouns here.

        • Ajay– once again, I award you the “most irrelevant comment of the week award”. Really? “All we have to do is look”???????
          So are you going to post a photo that George will allow so that we may know your gender ? And then should we expect every poster here to show their genitalia so we know if we should call them ‘he” or “She” ?
          what the fence are you trying to say ?
          get a grip, and quit with the incredibly ignorant comments already.

          • Donald,

            Aquinnah’s response to ajay is funny, measured, informative and kind, with minimal wording. Classy. A+

            Then you had to barge in (see Robin C’s old post). Your response to ajay is just the opposite, in my opinion. D-

            “And then should we expect every poster here to show their genitalia so we know if we should call them ‘he” or ‘She’?”

            In many cases, how would showing their genitalia let us know, “if we should call them ‘he” or ‘She’?” Riddle me that!
            And I thought you were familiar with the times we live in! Sheesh…

            Let me use your own words (not mine) next:
            “get a grip, and quit with the incredibly ignorant comments already.”

            All in good fun, Don. Enjoy the rest of your day!


            Required reading:

            -sex and gender identity

  3. Island businesses should blame their plight on the terrible attitudes displayed by year round residents towards visitors. If you make the place an unwelcome place to come to, guess what? No one will come.

  4. I have opinions just like all of you that commented after me.

    Never said I had a medical degree. New News I don’t care what you think either, I’ve read a lot of your posts on the times and I gotta say, well I can’t say or they won’t show this comment.

    The comment was regarding hair cuts and how they said it was expensive to change aprons and masks, ect between each customer, I won’t be afraid to go to get my haircut as long as everyone wears a mask.

    BigT does it matter if it’s a man or a woman who made the comment?? See previous sentence as to why I made a comment. What’s silly about it?? Just because it’s a different opinion than yours??

    I’m just sick and tired of hiding out and everyone telling me how scared I should be.
    I wear my mask, I have since this all started, which is well before the governor said we had to! I wash my hands like I have OCD. I stay away from family and friends and rarely go to the store. I AM doing my part. I’m just tired of the sky is falling attitude that everyone keeps repeating and it’s all you hear on the news!

    kaledg, I agree with your statement.

      • ajay
        I hope masks are effective, aren’t we all betting our lives on it? There’s so many conflicting reports about what is safe or not safe….it’s just tiresome.

  5. To clear the air my intention was to poke some good at at Jackie for assuming you were a he because your comment was not agreed with. As in it must be a he because a she would never make a comment like that.
    As for the comment being silly to me it is. Why change gloves, brushes, combs, scissors and what ever else wipe down the chair and then use the same apron that has been in contact with all of the above and then some.
    That’s my view.

    • BigT, your statement is appreciated. I was just agreeing (with the story) the fact that all of this PPE stuff is expensive. I watched a news story regarding dentists, one dentist has invested thousands of dollars in UV equipment to sterilize her rooms after each patient and she is now charging an extra $20 per person trying to recoup her investment. Maybe that’s what some of these businesses need to do. It hurts our wallets but until they find a vaccine or this virus goes away, this might be what we have to do.

      • proud- I am agreeing with you . Security and safety have always been expensive– seat belts, air bags, crumple zones on automobiles. Look at the slopes on the interstate highways that help avoid rollovers if you go the road. just putting a line on the right side of the road, rumble strips, little indicators in the middle of the road that are reflective, and slightly raised so you know if you are crossing the center line are all expensive, but add to safety.
        Look at what happened to airport security in the last 20 or 30 years.
        Look at security barriers and cameras in all buildings from schools to private residences.
        The cost are staggering– but security and safety are a priority.
        And these security services and regulations provide jobs.
        Lee Iaccoca was wrong when he said mandatory seat belts would bankrupt Chrysler. The people were happy to pay a little more for a safer car.
        I think we are still willing to pay more for our personal security to protect ourselves from a serious pandemic.
        Personally, I will spend whatever i have to insure my survival.
        Better broke than dead.

        • I agree with both of you. Safety measures are expensive but necessary for now.

          Alternative solution: Flowbees could make a comeback. ????

        • “But Satan answered Jehovah: “Skin for skin. A man will give everything he has for his life”. (Job 2:4).

  6. Our small, local businesses are in trouble. Consumer spending is way down not only because people are afraid to shop and stores have been shuttered. Even with a surcharge to cover the health safety costs, which most folks understand, the fear factor is not what is stopping people from supporting Main Street. People’s slashed incomes are a big part of this. With a financially insecure future and high unemployment, shopping/spending for anything except basic necessities is out for many. Even a haircut can feel like an unnecessary extravagance.

  7. The FlowBee has already made a its Big Come Back!
    They have been sold out every where for a few weeks now.
    Shops are opening lets get a hair cut locally and try to save a business.

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