Delicias Colombianas sees a steady stream of visitors all morning, many coming for a taste of where they grew up.

"I feel like I'm home. Everything's good here. Colombian food is delicious," said one person at the store.

Just down the block, Ismael Bastida has run his dental office for 30 years.

"A lot of people from different countries is coming to this area," he said.

That growing immigrant population is something Bastida's son Jason, who will soon take over the business, says he caters to.

"Some of my patients have told me, 'You have no idea how excited I am to communicate my own language with a provider.' So the fact that I can, you know, kind of give back to the community where I came from, I can relate to their needs, I can relate to their cultures," he said.

82nd Street in Jackson Heights is a microcosm of Queens' economic engine, which is powered by small businesses that are as diverse as their clientele.

Last month, Dan Kim opened a beauty supply shop here, and many of his customers are referrals from hair salons in the neighborhood.

"I talk to a lot of the owners around here, and they're really friendly. They give us advice on what the neighborhood's like and what to do to get more people in," Kim said.

Leslie Ramos of the 82nd Street Partnership says the area's diversity is what makes it such a good place to start a business.

"The unifying factor, 1, is the immigrant experience," Ramos said. "Everyone is here to make a better living for themself and their family. There is a strong entrepreneur spirit, and there's a strong respect in the community for that."

With JFK and LaGuardia based in the borough, the airports generate the most income, at $2.2 billion. But when it comes to jobs, small businesses are the biggest employers by far. Members of the Queens Chamber of Commerce represent 100,000 jobs, 90 percent of which have fewer than 10 employees.

But small businesses are being threatened. National retail chains have grown faster in Queens than any other borough. Now, some neighborhoods are fighting back.

"Target is just another corporation that is coming in trying to monopolize in the city," said Shirma, an organizer with Queens Neighborhoods United. "We see them popping up everywhere. We see their advertisements everywhere now, and what they're really trying to say is, 'We can do better than your own people,' and that's not what we're about."

Target is building a smaller format store in Elmhurst and also has its sights set on Astoria, and many worry that will mean the beginning of the end for the mom and pop shops.

Kinnira Patel has owned a convenience store in Astoria at 31st Street and Ditmars for 30 years. But now, her landlord won't renew.

"It's not good, but there's no choice," she said. "Small business will be affected once Target comes. So all pop and mom shops will be where?"

Target’s supporters point to its convenience and one-stop-shopping.

For its part, Target told us, "We've spent months learning how to best serve each community – not just to make sure we have the right products on the shelves, but to determine how we can work together to support the things they care about most."

But many worry that Target would not only kill local shops, but also the soul of these neighborhoods.

"It's gonna change very fast, and we're not ready for it," said Dionysios Dasakalakis, the manager with Mike's Diner.