A music store is more than a place of commerce. It’s a community haven for musicians who gather to discuss their favorite gear, try out instruments, and trade techniques. And it’s a place of dreams, where aspiring young musicians picture themselves playing the world’s stages.
Unfortunately, the regulars found themselves with no place to go in March 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic prompted a lockdown, forcing stores and restaurants in the U.K., one of the countries hardest hit by the virus, to shutter stores and restaurants temporarily. “COVID-19 changed everything. Naturally, we had no option but to pause our retail operation,” says Ward. Fortunately, the desire to play music never goes away, so GAK was able to continue doing business through its online storefront. “For us as a business, it could have gone either way, but as soon as lockdown happened, the demand online and via mail order skyrocketed.”
As lockdown restrictions started to be lifted, GAK’s management was eager to welcome back patrons. But safely. Among other things, this meant protecting employees at the point of sale from anyone who might unknowingly be carrying the virus. “We are fastidious about our staff and customer health and safety,” Ward says. “We have stringent distancing and sanitation measures in place.”
One of the measures GAK decided to take was to install sneeze guards at checkouts and click-and-collect stations. After reviewing several products, GAK chose the Guardiant Countertop Shield trifold screen from APG Cash Drawer. The company ordered three of them.
In operation for 27 years, GAK is an institution for guitarists, drummers, and keyboardists. Protecting its patrons and 65 employees was a top priority when the store reopened. Before even knowing when that would be allowed, management started working on its sanitation and social distancing measures. “We took the initiative well before a date for opening was announced. We like to be ahead of the game and this situation was no exception,” Ward says.
When looking at sneeze guards for checkout, management considered several brand-name products as well as custom builds. In consultation with its office goods supplier, Labelman, GAK opted for a new product from APG – the Guardiant shield. “The portable and modular nature of the APG Guardiant product fit with the flexibility we needed in this constantly changing landscape,” Ward says. The Guardiant Countertop Shield is made from durable, flame retardant, clear polycarbonate that places a visible barrier between customers and store clerks. It protects personal space while allowing face-to-face interaction. The clear polycarbonate panels are framed in solid aluminum, providing the robustness needed for high-traffic retail environments. The shields are composed of three panels that stand on adjustable feet.
APG Cash Drawer has built is reputation with robust and intelligent cash drawer solutions. Seeing a need as the pandemic spread, the company pivoted to also start offering durable, flexible clear polycarbonate shields for various environments. The Guardiant series includes shields for point of sale retail counters, healthcare environments such as pharmacies, medical offices and dental clinics, and floor-standing models nearly six feet tall for settings such as bars, restaurants, banks, and even voting booths.
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