State College, Pennsylvania is known for its charm, and to be a one of a kind place to almost anyone who visits. Downtown State College wouldn’t have this unforgettable personality and flavor it does without all of the small businesses that keep it alive. Due to the outbreak of the COVID pandemic, small businesses have struggled and business owners are living in distress. The passion of these small business owners and workers are the heart and soul of downtown State College, and the area wouldn’t be what it was without them.

Chandler Kalitsi, left, and Alex Lewis are both working behind the register at Uncle Eli’s, a small art store downtown State College, Pa. on March 8, 2021. In an interview, Lewis said her favorite part about working at Uncle Eli’s is that “there is no one breathing down our necks”, like there would be at a bigger name, chain store. They have the artistic freedom to arrange the art displays however they like. She loves all the freedom that having a small business provides, and that there are really “no rules to art.”