Reopening California: SF retail shops survive 1st week selling curbside, but is it enough?

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- San Francisco retailers survived week one of curbside service -- we followed three business owners along the process.

Meet Donna O'Leary, owner of Ambiance, a women's clothing boutique in San Francisco.

RELATED: Here's how curbside pickup went at Bay Area mall, chain stores

"Curbside pickup for our kind of retail is kind of a joke," O'Leary said, with a laugh. "We really haven't had much of anything."

For O'Leary, curbside just isn't going to cut it.

"To be perfectly honest, the rent keeps having to be paid," she said. "We're already out half a million dollars."

O'Leary has set up what's called an Ambi-Care package where consumers can fill out a profile online and Ambiance staff will pick out clothes that match the online profile.

"How much longer do you think you can survive doing that," ABC7's Stephanie Sierra asked.

"Not long," said O'Leary. "Maybe 2 months."

RELATED: Napa County 1st in Bay Area allowed to reopen dine-in restaurants

It's not quite as bad for Pete Mulvihill, owner of Green Apple Books.

"I wouldn't say it's much busier than it was... when we were closed really," he said.

Mulvihill is solely relying on online orders.

"If we had to operate like this for 6 months, it wouldn't work," he said.

LIFE AFTER COVID-19: Here's what restaurants, gyms will look like

Green Apple Books allow consumers to browse and order books online and pick-up curbside.

"Customers need to be able to look around," he said. "We have people asking to have staff FaceTime, walk around and show the books."

Paul Robertson is a retail florist in San Francisco who transformed his business model from events to curbside flower sales.

"Do you think you're going to make it?" Sierra asked.

"We'll make it... we'll make it."

In the past week, his curbside shop average 80 transactions a day.

"It's helping at least pay my bills."

If you have a question or comment about the coronavirus pandemic, submit yours via the form below or here.
Get the latest news, information and videos about the novel coronavirus pandemic here

Copyright © 2020 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.