FARGO — As decorations are hung in his store with care, Greg Kempel, who owns Minn Dak Market, has noticed while many things have changed, one thing has stayed the same throughout the pandemic.
"People love to shop," he said.
Kempel has seen a good mix of both in-person and online traffic for his shop, just in time for the early holiday season.
Over in downtown Fargo, the Fargo Stuff store has seen mostly online customers, which is a first for some who work there.
"Everyone's got their own comfortability, and we want to make sure that everyone can shop safely, as well as get access to the fun holiday gifts they're looking for," said Tate Hovland, the public relations director for Fargo Stuff.
While most stores have ways of keeping people safe if they come in person — including a fog machine filled with disinfectant in Kempel's case — most owners said they understand this isn't a typical year.
"This year, you have to be unique, you have to stand out," Kempel said. "It's not going to be the same as it was five years ago or 10 years ago."
Even though they'd like to connect face-to-face with people more, some business owners said they're still making connections with people beyond Fargo, with the help of the Internet.
"It's really cool seeing an ornament down in Florida," Hovland said. "That's awesome for (the) holidays."
As orders for gifts like chocolate covered chips, t-shirts and pillows are called in, owners said they're willing to navigate through a different kind of holiday rush.
"We'll have some busy, busy elves driving in the streets of Fargo-Moorhead this year," Kempel said.