By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Back on February 2, the Shelby County Health Department gave Judi Peery of Abandon Antiques a notice that it would shut down her operations because of a health code violation.
The Department informed Peery that the business violated the mask policy throughout the County by posting a sign that didn’t mandate the wearing of a facial covering once entering their establishment.
The sudden closure was a shock to vendors and employees of Abandon Antiques and the customers. The business sent out a text message by Feb. 5. “Due to circumstances beyond our control Abandoned Antiques is temporarily closed for walk-in traffic, but we ARE OPEN for CURBSIDE PICKUP.”
The closure came at bad time for Abandon Antiques as the business launched its new floral department and had a Valentine’s Day related theme event in preparation.
Abandoned Antiques was formerly Alison’s Alcove. The origin of the business started on 4792 Navy Road owned by David Barczak. A transition of leadership took place late in the summer at the new location in the former Cole’s building at 8232 Highway 51 North.
The new Abandoned Antiques has taken advantage of the large shopping and vending area with multiple offerings and options. Peery said loyal customers were happy to have a options from what to purchase to wearing a mask.
With a good percentage of her customer base falling into the elderly category, Peery said they were still happy to have that freedom of choice upon entering the business. Peery made it clear to customers to exercise caution and respect others’ space.
Peery and Abandon Antiques have been in discussion with the Shelby County Health Department on meeting requirements to reopen. Peery is hoping to have her doors open to the public again by the Saturday after a week of snow slowing down the proceedings.
Below is information and a statement provided by Peery in regards to the situation this past month.
“We at Abandoned Antiques have a strong view on honesty and helpfulness. We provide an open, very airy, clean and safe space for our customers, vendors and employees. With 75,000 square feet of shopping or just taking a stroll down memory lane. We have allowed our customers, vendors and employees to use their own discretion with wearing a mask.
Until Feb. 2 when the Shelby County Health Department closed our business.
We have had from the beginning all the signs up: Shop Smart Stay Six Feet Apart, Wash Your Hands Often, we provided hand sanitizer at all check out areas, Cleaner for shopping carts and so on… BUT our mask sign said “Wear At Your Discretion” AND for that we were shut down. I can say that was the sole reason because just the day before an inspector came in pretending to shop. She had on a mask and a lady with her did not have on a mask. I am only guessing when I say they did this to see if I was going to ask the lady to put on a mask. They both left the store. A little while later the inspector came back into the store and asked to speak with the manager. I spoke up and said “I am the manager. How can I help you?” She shook her head in a negative notion and then asked to speak to the owner. Jim the owner was standing right next to me and said ” I am the owner. How can I help you?” She then asked for our phone numbers because she was going to report us for not enforcing the mask mandate. Jim gave her his number and her ‘boss’ Samuel Pieh called Jim within a few minutes. The conversation ended when Samuel Pieh yelled “Just take down that sign!”
We were never given a ‘ticket or a fine’ ; we never received a notice of an imminent shutdown. We were not afforded due process by having a hearing. We are not a restaurant. We are a business that was shut down because we did not refuse service to customers that felt safe or for whatever other reason did not wear a mask. We are here to bring good customer service to our community. I should not be in fear of having my job taken from me because I refused to make someone put on a medical face covering of any sort and provide that person service.
The mask mandate that is being shoved down on by the SCHD everyone is not even signed! And now the new mandate even states how high you can have your music playing! What does that have to do with anything!? I hope you do read it and follow up with TennesseeStands.org Small businesses are being torn apart over these unlawful and unjust suggestions!”
For more information and updates on Abandon Antiques offerings and reopening, call 901-317-9137.