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The pandemic came as a blow to retailers that were already under pressure from online competitors that offered low prices and provided the convenience of shopping from home. The media tended to cover the plight and challenges for larger chain stores and big box retailers. However, the small local food providers and retailers also faced challenges and had to manage without the luxury of having dedicated staff and deep pockets with which to navigate through the pandemic. This paper explores the experiences and strategies used by 20 small local value-added food providers and retailers as they navigated the pandemic. Additionally, this paper discusses specific challenges that were unique to small local value-added food providers and reveals unique strategies and their accompanying tactics. Further, the study details the pandemic policies and tactics these small local value-added food providers and retailers plan to keep after the pandemic in order to better compete against larger competitors and to mitigate future disruptions caused by external forces beyond their control.


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