Like many other small, independent business people in this pandemic year, Elise Richer is tired.

She has been forced to rethink many aspects of her homey Tin Pan Bakery in the Nasons Corner neighborhood of Portland, from its packaging and pricing, retail sales and recipes to its menu options and online ordering system.

She has applied for loans, and she has lost staff – one “awesome” full-time employee who left for something more secure and one part-timer. Now it’s down to her and a single part-timer, Lindsey, who comes in to decorate the cookies and cakes that Richer bakes herself.

At 4 years old, Tin Pan Bakery was finally hitting its stride, getting steady birthday cake orders, a reliable wholesale business, and regulars who came for the unusual knishes and the old-fashioned cookies (molasses-ginger, nutella rugalach, sugar cookies …) that looked and tasted like something your blue-ribbon baking grandmother might

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