LONE TREE, Colo. — Darcy Velasquez and her mother, Roberta Truax, were walking recently in the Park Meadows mall about 15 miles south of downtown Denver, looking for Christmas gifts for Ms. Velasquez’s two children, when they spotted a store with a display of rhinestone-studded masks.
And while it has long been true that sparkles can go a long way with a 9-year-old girl, this store was something new. It is called Covid-19 Essentials, and it may well be the country’s first retail chain dedicated solely to products necessitated by an infectious disease.
With many U.S. stores closing during the coronavirus pandemic, especially inside malls, the chain has seized on the empty space, as well as the world’s growing acceptance that wearing masks is a reality that may last well into 2021, if not longer. Masks have evolved from a utilitarian, anything-you-can-find-that-works product into another way to express one’s personality,