MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO)More cases of COVID-19 were confirmed Saturday in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

About 400 Minnesotans were diagnosed with the virus, and nine more people have died. More than 270 cases were confirmed in Wisconsin, and two more people there have died.

At the same time, shops like Primp Boutique in Excelsior are slowly opening for business, forcing customers to decide if they’re willing to take on the risk of getting sick. Maggie Schmid is Primp’s store manager.

“We reopened about three weeks ago,” Schmid said. “Right now we’re just trying to get back on our two feet and get everything going again.”

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She says things are slowly picking up at the boutique.

“There’s some people that come in and they’re very, very cautious,” she said. “There’s some customers that come in that are a little more lax about it.”

Still, she’s setting realistic expectations for a slower-than-average summer.

“We’re not exactly where we want to be right now, but I know that we can get there,” Schmid said. “It’s been hard to gage as a manager where to put our numbers.”

University of Minnesota marketing professor George John says we are in an unprecedented moment for business. He says these uncharted waters require businesses to be flexible.

“It’s like wartime. The plans are only good until you meet the enemy,” John said. “You have to be adaptive. you have to try things out, see what’s working, quickly make changes to adapt to what’s working, what’s not working.”

Primp Excelsior started curbside pickup during the pandemic, and will continue it for now.

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“I haven’t seen as much recently, but, I mean, we still get a few bites here and there,” Schmid said.

John says the key to reopening will not be about sales.

“It will be giving your particular clientele a reason to feel safe,” John said.

With many still cooped up at home, it remains to be seen if shoppers’ appetites override their worries.

“It’s been a little bit of a struggle to try to figure out … the balancing act, but, you know, we’re all learning,” Schmid said.

Professor John says he does not think this pandemic will radically boost online shopping for good.

“You got money sitting in the sidelines, you’ve got demand sitting in the sidelines, and you’ve got high unemployment,” John said. “Your guess is as good as mine where this will shake out.”

John says most will probably revert back to old habits, with minor changes.

Erin Hassanzadeh

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