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Andersonville's Alamo Shoes Adjusts As Stores Are Back Open, But Traffic Is Down

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Illinois has been settling into Phase 4 of reopening during the coronavirus pandemic, but remember life before Phase 3 – when dining inside restaurants was not allowed and shopping in some stores was banned?

CBS 2's Lauren Victory took us to a family-owned business in Chicago to check on things a month after reopening.

The last time we were inside Alamo Shoes, at 5321 N. Clark St. in the heart of Andersonville, customers were not. Before Phase 3, founder Sol Price showed us life in quarantine.

His storefront from 1971 literally operated outside from the store's front.

"I miss the interaction with customers," Price said at the time.

But now, shoppers are able to peruse in person. We're a full month into reopening, and sales are slowly, but steadily, climbing.

"There's still customers who have trepidation and concerns about coming in," said co-owner Richard Price, Sol Price's son.

And people simply aren't walking by as much.

Richard Price has been closing earlier these days because nighttime business normally picked up from restaurant-goers in Andersonville is down.

"Additionally, while we're not in a tourist area of Chicago, Andersonville is an awesome area and we're not seeing outside visitors to the area," he said. "Traffic for June was down about 45 percent. Our business was down about 45 percent."

That's better than the average across the U.S., at least according the Census data. National numbers for June's retail sales were not available yet as of Monday, but consider that some states allowed stores to reopen in May.

Even so, U.S clothing and accessory sales were down 63 percent when compared to May 2019, according to the National Retail Federation.

Richard Price often hears from sales reps in other areas.

"When I tell them my percentage decrease, they say that's pretty consistent with other stores that they service," he said.

CBS 2 asked the NRF for a June retail store prediction. The organization declined to give us a specific estimate, though their economists recently said the "pandemic recession could already be easing."

Alamo Shoes certainly hopes to heal, as it goes on providing the best support for your heel.

The Census will release relevant figures for June on July 16. Meanwhile on Tuesday, the National Retail Federation is holding a webinar about store traffic trends and changes in shopper behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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