Local meat markets see uptick in sales amid coronavirus outbreak

While some national meat and poultry suppliers are having to close up shop due to COVID-19 concerns, other local and regional meat markets are seeing an uptick in sales.

Posted: Apr 22, 2020 8:28 PM
Updated: Aug 3, 2020 11:03 AM

EUGENE, Ore. -- National poultry and meat producers are starting to feel the sting of the constant march of COVID-19.

The virus has infiltrated processing plants in places like South Dakota, where major producer Smithfield is located. But local producers and butcher shops feel that they will survive the potential supply chain disruption, at least for now.

"There's no hardship there," said David Cooper, manager of Long's Meat Market in Eugene. "Even our pork, I hear a lot about (Iowa Beef Processors, a subsidiary of Tyson Foods), those big midwestern plants are closing down. Ours is all local so we haven't had any supply issues there."

Cooper said that trust in where the products are coming from has helped his business especially in the last month.

"We're getting a lot of influx of new customers; customers we haven't seen in a while that know that everything that we bring in is up to a high standard," Cooper said. "Everything is treated well."

Right at the onset of the stay-at-home order, Long's began to implement changes for social distancing and safety guidelines to take place inside the building while still remaining open.

"We set it up to where we could limit the amount of people and from there we could dwindle that down as things started to progress and all of that happened in the span of five days," Cooper said.

There's a steady flow of customers, even in the middle of arguably the toughest economic span Long's has seen in its 93-year history. But because of their emphasis on working with only local and regional producers, Cooper said they are much better equipped to handle supply chain disruptions that may occur at the national level. 

"Customers are their bread and butter," Cooper said of local places like Long's. "Their livelihood depends on their customers so they want to ensure they're taking the best care possible."

"Some of those bigger chains, they don't necessarily care about the product itself," Cooper added. "They don't necessarily care about the customers. They're just worried about the bottom line sometimes and that's kind of what makes small businesses just as a general rule, a lot better."

While there are still questions about prolonged effects on the local and regional supply chains down the line, places like Long's have made the message clear: keeping it local is the best way to support your area right now.

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