EXCELSIOR, Minn. (WCCO) — Downtown Excelsior is lined with small family-owned businesses. It’s a large part of the city’s charm that helps draw customers.

“We’re a specialty running store,” Pete Miller, the owner of The Lakes Running Store said.

But Miller says competing with online retailing is getting tough. It’s about to get a lot tougher, as COVID -19 causes more people to spend more time at home and on the internet.

“Some customers are deciding to stay home and just delay purchases that are just absolutely necessary to them,” Miller said.

Meantime, along St. Paul’s West Seventh Street cancelled Wild games will keep customers out of bars, restaurants and shops.

“It’s definitely impacting small business, people are scared,” business owner Manny Hall.

Manny Hall opened his dream of a salon and shoe store last April.

“You come here and you’re going to get a haircut and cool pair of sneakers,” Hall said.

But Hall needs steady foot traffic to stay in business.

“It’s going to affect us a lot because a lot of traffic goes to NHL games, they watch basketball, which they already cancelled the season, so it’s going to affect everybody financially. People are scared,” Hall said.

And that explains why Pete Miller got creative. He figures if customers won’t come to him, he’s offering online orders with free local delivery.

“It is important for people to come into the store to get fit, but if that can’t happen we’ll do whatever we can to make it work for them,” Miller said.

Pandemics come and go – local businesses pray they don’t fade away too.