Tourists, high-end shoppers slowly returning to Rodeo Drive
California allowing some retail businesses to reopen Thursday
California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Monday that some clothing stores, bookstores, sporting goods stores and florists can open for pick up as early as Thursday, but dine-in restaurants, shopping malls and offices are to remain closed.
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The Maseratis, the Rolls-Royces and the Mercedes-Benzes were back on Rodeo Drive on Tuesday — along with a few high-end buyers — as America’s most fashionable shopping street slowly got back to business.
Just a few days after Beverly Hills officials announced the high-end boutiques lining its most exclusive street could reopen for curbside pickup, shoppers began tentatively making their way onto its wide sidewalks and narrow roadway.
They came looking for things like Gucci handbags, Salvatore Ferragamo shoes, Louis Vuitton belts and other items with names that scream out to passersby, “This is ridiculously expensive.”
One young man pulled up in front of the Fendi store, paid for a pair of shoes and sunglasses that he quickly tossed into the back of his red convertible sports car as he explained they were gifts for his wife, then sped away.
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Nearby, Delicia Cordon of Atlanta stood outside the Gucci store looking at purses and backpacks a salesperson inside sent photos of to her phone. She picked out the perfect ones for her daughter’s 11th birthday, punched in her credit-card information and did a quick exchange at the door. The sales associate who handed the items to her declined to talk before pulling the door back shut.
For Cordon, who had to catch a plane home in just a few hours, scoring the purse and backpack was an incredible stroke of good fortune. There’s a Gucci store in her hometown, she said, but it doesn’t have a children’s department and she feared if she ordered online the gifts wouldn’t arrive by her daughter’s birthday on Friday.
“I was surprised that they were doing the curbside and I was really excited,” said the Atlanta fashion designer.
The street was only lightly trafficked with both pedestrians and motorists on a beautiful, sun-dappled Southern California afternoon, so Cordon said she never feared getting too close to anybody.
“I had to wear my mask. I had my gloves on,” she added.
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Most others on the street also had masks as did everyone inside the stores. Many of the store employees briskly wiped down windows and surfaces when not handing out purchases.
Among the buyers was Michael Carter of Providence, Rhode Island, who got a belt and sneakers at the Louis Vuitton store.
The owner of a used-car lot noted this is his first trip to California, adding he wasn’t going to pass on Rodeo Drive even if some of the stores were still closed and he had to order ahead online and then have his purchases handed to him through the door.
“Where I’m from we don’t have places like this,” said Carter, who was on a brief vacation. “When we’re down here we’ve got to take advantage of it.”
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