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Frequently Asked Questions in 2021

April 20, 2021

Since the beginning of the year, we’ve gotten lots of questions from shoppers, especially those who haven’t been here in a while. Today, we're providing answers to the questions we hear most often.

Why doesn’t the store look as full as usual?

There are lots of reasons for this. 

First, many of our vendors are slower than normal in delivering goods this year. Items that are imported are especially unpredictable as there are many ships waiting offshore for docks to open up so they can unload their goods. And last week, we received a note informing us that one of our larger shipments will be delayed more than a month because of the large ship that blocked the Suez Canal a few weeks ago. 

Second, more of our orders than usual are getting modified or cancelled, and many vendors are not shipping all of the merchandise we ordered. They’ve been affected by COVID like everyone else and are receiving fewer orders from stores than usual. When items in their lines don’t reach the minimum order quantities required by factories, those items are not produced.

Third, we’re ordering smaller quantities of some goods. Our store traffic is picking up as more people get vaccinated and feel comfortable coming in, but we’re not yet as busy as we were pre-COVID, so our order quantities are affected.

I’m used to the way the store used to look. Why did you move things around?

There are many reasons for this, too.

First, in order to minimize one-on-one interactions, we set up a central check-out area at the front of the store. That area is where our teas used to be, near the front door, so teas have moved into another part of the Gourmet department. 

Second, face masks have been our best-selling item for the past year, and as our selection expanded, we expanded the space they are shown in. They're now in the area that formerly held our Vera Bradley and Alex and Ani collections. 

Third, we used to have our Christmas rooms open all year long. But we do very little business in the Christmas rooms during the spring and summer, so we’ve taken Christmas off the floor until July, when it will return.  When our Christmas Department returns, it will share space with our Conservatory, which does most of its business in the spring and summer.

If there’s something in the store you can’t find because it’s not where it used to be, ask one of us, and we’ll point you in the right direction to find its new home.

Is the Atrium Café open?

Yes, our café is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11am - 3pm.  And we’re once again taking reservations for parties and showers, following state mandates for how many people can dine at any given time.

Why did the store close for the whole Christmas season?

Even though we were fully stocked for Christmas, COVID numbers were rising rapidly in our area, and we didn’t want to take any chances of any of our staff getting sick because they came to work during a dangerous time.  We are not an essential business, and we heeded the governor’s call for people not to go out other than for essential items.  We're pleased to say that nobody on our staff contracted COVID during the time we were closed.

I’ve heard the store is closing or was sold. Are either of these true?

No! And no!! We get the question about closing during the first few months of every year, when our winter stock is on sale and before all of our spring stock has has arrived. This year, we’re hearing this question more often than usual, and we think it’s a combination of our slower-than-normal deliveries (see #1 above) and the fact that we were closed for two months in the winter (see #4 above). As for the store being sold, it’s still in Mike’s hands, and he’s not thinking about selling it.

Will you be having your big sale at Swedish Days this year?

We don’t yet know what Swedish Days 2021 will look like.  All we know is that it will happen from June 24-27.  Once we get more direction from the government on what safety standards will be in place at that time, we’ll decide what we can do to make it a fun event for you while keeping it safe for everyone.

When will you resume you normal hours?

We’re watching week by week to see when people shop, and we’ll adjust our hours as demand increases. Right now, we’re open from 11am - 4pm Tuesday through Friday and on Sundays, and from 11am - 5pm on Saturdays. We’re currently closed on Mondays. So far, this schedule has worked for the vast majority of people, but we’re hoping that as the weather improves and the days get longer, more people will be shopping and we can justify increasing store hours.

Is there anything new in the store?

Goodness, yes!  Every room is full of spring merchandise, and more is coming in every day. Our goal is to always give you a fun experience when you visit. We know that’s more important this year than ever, and we're honored when people tell us they haven’t been anywhere in a year, and The Little Traveler was the first place they visited when they decided to go out shopping again.

Are you going to continue selling online?

Yup! Now that we’ve gone through all the work of setting up and fine tuning our webstore, it will stick around. It’s a convenient way for folks to shop if they don't live in our area, and for those who are local, it’s often convenient to shop online and do curbside pickup. Our webstore now features well over 1000 items, and we’re adding to it every day.

Little Traveler
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