ST. CLOUD – The COVID-19 pandemic and state shutdown has forced a downtown St. Cloud business to close for good.

Bumbledees, located at 711 West St. Germain Street, opened two years ago. The small shop specializes in antiques, art, furniture and other eclectic merchandise.

Owner Echo Nelson was in the process of securing a new location for the shop when Minnesota's stay at home order was implemented.

“When everything was shut down, I was scared but thought, “We will get through this,” Nelson said. “But it kept being extended, and my vendors and I were already under water coming into spring. We were falling into debt. The market for small shops was already in trouble and this made it so much worse.”

Nelson says every extension of Minnesota’s stay at home order chipped away at her hopes for the shop's future.

“Not only could I not pay bills at the store, but my income disappeared,” Nelson explained. “I knew I had to shut the doors.  It was a very difficult decision, but knowing it would take too much time to rebuild, debt piling up and the unknown of this virus, it became clear I had no other choice.”

Nelson says she’s disappointed by the way Minnesota's stay at home order has been handled with regard to small businesses.

“I do believe we could have opened sooner with precautions and made it safe for people to come in, or get the help from grants to keep us afloat while shut down,” she said. “I just hope that other local shops and businesses can pull themselves out. I have hope for them now that things are opening back up, but it’s too late for Bumbledees.”

“I will continue to support my local community and with all of us in this together we can make a huge impact," Nelson added.

On Wednesday, Governor Tim Walz announced the decision to allow the stay at home order to expire on May 18, allowing most retailers to open at half capacity. A wide variety of restrictions on dining and public gatherings will continue to be in place.