San Francisco small business owners preview this week's retail reopening

The return of retail will mean major modifications for businesses that can restart.

Two small business owners in San Francisco said they have a business plan that will have them operating in a way that complies with social distancing and changing consumer demands. But the big unknown is: Will people shop? 

Kevin Ryan is co-owner of Green Apple Books in the Richmond District.

He's hopeful about the possibility the city will start allowing curbside pickup Friday for small retailers.

"We're ready to go. We've been thinking about this for a while," said Ryan.

He said the store is large enough that he's able to bring back his employees with social distancing. 

"We'll have employees stations in different parts of the store.  One to hand out the books at the door. One to gather the books and one to ring them up," said Ryan.

Curbside delivery will help  turn the page for his business..

Ryan said customers can order online and pick-up in person, "This way, they can call us in the morning and pick it up in the afternoon."

He enlisted the help of San Francisco supervisor Dean Preston who wrote a letter urging city officials to allow curbside delivery for small businesses.  

The letter said in part, "We would like to prioritize curbside delivery for businesses that primarily provide what we call "essential home recreation, including books, puzzles,  games and educational materials."

Preston told KTVU, "Arts and crafts, and other materials are healthy and constructive ways to past time at home. We think it's important to everyone's mental health. 

On Divisadero at Hayes, the owner of Asmbly Hall clothing store said he has mixed emotions about opening just for curbside pickup.

"I'm apprehensive to be honest with you," said Ron Benitez.

He said online sales and curbside pickup won't bring enough business to cover his rent nd expenses," I don't think customers may be ready to go out shopping just yet."

Benitez said his inventory will reflect trends inspired by the pandemic.

Consumer demands will be different in this new world of zoom meetings. 

"People aren't buying pants, bottoms because they're doing meetings you can only see their tops," said Benitez, "Offering stuff that's comfy, cozy at the top, more jewelry."

Back at Green Apple Books, Ryan said it's hard to know what to expect, "Everyone's still uncertain about getting out and being around other people, being out in public. Everyone's going to tread lightly. 

What we know for sure is things will be different.