Reopening California: 3 SF businesses share how they're changing amid COVID-19 crisis

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- For the first time in nearly two months, retail stores reopened in San Francisco for curbside pickup. And the new rules are forcing business owners to get creative.

"It's been really tough... there's no doubt about it," said Donna O'Leary, owner of SF-based women's boutique, Ambiance. "We are changing everything."

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Like so many, O'Leary is re-opening her doors in a very different way.

"If people want to come up, we can show them the product with a glove and mask on," she said.

It's retail - redefined. (At least for now)

Here's what the new process will look like for Ambiance shoppers:

"You fill out a form and we pick out the clothes for you," O'Leary said. "A nice package of clothes, especially curated for you."

It's called an 'Ambi-Care package' and it's available for curbside pickup.

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Just like your order at Green Apple Books.

"Our whole business model changed to sort of a warehouse fulfillment, picking and packing," said owner Pete Mulvihill. "We're emailing and calling, instead of talking to people directly."

The usually crowded San Francisco staple off Clement St. is quiet inside with limited staff working.

"It's very strange to change from a store that I think existed because people like to browse and interact with other people," said Mulvihill.

Green Apple Books is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Consumers are expected to order and pay online. As expected, curbside pickup is socially distanced.

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It's a similar story for the line at Paul Robertson's floral shop off Balboa.

"We're now open, selling walk up bouquets, and hand-made bouquets," he said.

Robertson used to rely on big events like weddings and conferences to supply his business model. But, no he's pivoting his technique to solely focus on retail.

"I'm pivoting so my business will survive," he said.

Like all of these retail shops, Robertson is embracing these new challenges.

"We are keeping a safe social distance and allowing no contact forms of payment," he said. "It's the new world we're living in."

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