MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Locally owned businesses in the downtown areas of some smaller cities are struggling right now.
In Stillwater, River City Antiques has had its doors closed for nearly two months.
Bob Miller, the owner, says he’s had no luck securing small business loans.
Online sales help, but they don’t amount to the same amount of business as Miller would expect on a beautiful day like Monday.
Miller says foot traffic is the lifeblood of his business, and without it, he doesn’t know how many more weeks he’ll be able to stay afloat.
“It’s like a ghost town,” he said.
Shawnah Breault owns Stillwaters Healing, a massage therapy business close to Main Street in Stillwater.
“Main Street today looks like when it was 40 to 50 below last year when we had that polar vortex,” Breault said. “It’s super sad.”
The city has canceled some of their traditional large summer events including Fourth of July fireworks.
Mayor Ted Kozlowski is now trying to figure out a way to get people out and spending.
“Having something downtown, whether it’s something as simple as live music,” he said. “Something like ‘Summer Tuesdays,’ which is an event we haven’t taken off the shelf yet.”
Miller is concerned not only for his antiques store, but for the economic health of his city.
“Now you’re going into May, and if we don’t get it open, a lot of stores won’t make it,” he said. “A lot of people won’t make it.”
Kozlowski also said the city’s looking at possibly relaxing open container ordinances so people can enjoy a beer or glass of wine in one of the city’s parks.
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