Maple Grove store owner hopeful with business picking up heading toward holidays

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We are heading into a busier time of year for shopping and, for the first time in months, the owner of a Maple Grove store says she’s seeing more customers.

Katy Kramp bought Mainstream Boutique, a women’s clothing store in Maple Grove, a year ago.

"We just had our anniversary sale last weekend and that was huge for us," Kramp said.

It’s been a difficult year. After being closed from mid-March to mid-May due to COVID-19, Kramp reopened the store with new safety protocols.

"It was really important for us to be able to have fitting rooms open when we opened so we steam sanitize every item — even if it goes in the dressing room whether they try it out or not, it all gets cleaned," she said.

There are social distancing floor markers and occupancy limits. But as she unpacks new boxes of fall clothing, Kramp is excited to see business picking up.

"We started seeing a pick-up the beginning of September and then all the way through this last weekend, so we’re starting to reap the benefits," she shared.

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development says retail numbers have rebounded.

Unemployment rate in Minnesota drops to 7.4%

"Online retailers, that’s really growing," DEED Commissioner Steve Grove said. "Minnesota has a strong retail environment and an industry where we have had jobs bounce back fully from where they were before the pandemic."

Food manufacturing jobs are also up 2.3% over the year. But Grove said the growth is uneven across industries and occupations, and people in lower-income jobs continue to be most impacted.

"It’s a time when people are being cautious," Grove said.

Kramp still sees that but remains hopeful.

"Every day is a new day. We don’t quite know what it’s going to bring until tomorrow, so we’re just going to ride in on that right now," Kramp said.

While Minnesota is doing better than the national unemployment rate of 8.4%, state experts said it will still take until likely 2022 to fully bounce back.