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In the supply chain battle of 2021, small businesses are losing out to Walmart and Amazon

Toy shop owner Kim Mitchell placed her holiday orders months ago, but she has no idea what will make it to her store on time.

Boing! Toy Store in Jamaica Plain, Mass. on Thursday. Owner Kim Mitchell knows that some of the most popular toy brands are off limits this year due to increased shipping times and costs. Foto: Photo for The Washington Post by Iaritza Menjiv Boing! Toy Store's shipment room on Thursday. Kim Mitchell, owner of Boing!, explains how small businesses need to prepare in advance to make sure to have the items the clients are expecting due to a largely stalling supply chain. Foto: Photo for The Washington Post by Iaritza Menjivar Small businesses, like Boing! Toy Shop, are being outbid for delayed products by large chain stores like Walmart, Target and Best Buy. Foto: Photo for The Washington Post by Iaritza Menjivar Boing! Toy Shop's stock room is fully stocked for the holiday season. Owner Kim Mitchell explains she must hoard early enough to have enough supply and anticipate customers' needs. Foto: Photo for The Washington Post by Iaritza Menjivar

Anything from Mattel and Hasbro is largely off the table, as are Ravensburger puzzles. The Lego sets that used to arrive on a pallet are coming in dribs and drabs: "Five boxes one day, two the next," she said. "It's very unpredictable. I don't know what I'm getting, or when."

Small retailers and manufacturers, already crushed by large national brands during the pandemic, are being disproportionately walloped by delays, shortages and other supply chain disruptions ahead of the holidays. In many cases, they're losing out to giants like Walmart and Amazon, which are spending millions to charter their own ships and planes to move merchandise. Independent shop owners, who have no such recourse, say they're often the last in line for products because manufacturers prioritize larger, more lucrative contracts...

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