Small businesses feel impact of supply chain shortage ahead of holidays

Published: Oct. 19, 2021 at 7:51 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - While the cost of fuel going up may affect your wallet at the pumps, it also impacts small businesses and what items they put on their store shelves.

Thea Brown, the owner of World of Mirth in Carytown, says for now the shelves are stocked up, but what they will look like during the holidays is on the back of her mind.

“We have vendors who can’t get merchandise and some of which who are no longer taking orders for the rest of the year, which as a small business who can’t hold on to a lot of stock - that’s a huge change for us,” Brown said.

The lingering effects of COVID-19 shot up an increase in demand for goods as more and more people feel comfortable to shop but production has not caught up.

Brown says the bottleneck of the supply chain has grown even tighter with soaring gas prices and a dire shortage of truck drivers to deliver products.

“The cost of shipping has definitely gone up, almost all of our vendors have had price increases that affect us,” Brown said. “We have to change our prices as well just because of the cost of getting shipping containers, or even just the cost of raw materials they need to make up their items have gone up significantly.”

Brown says the delay USPS has put on first-class mail at the start of this month has not helped either.

Antonio Miller, with the Metropolitan Business League, says while small businesses are resilient, the shortage may get worse sooner rather than later.

“There’s a number of things in the industry right now that are just exacerbating a small business or a business’s in general ability to operate, so it’s going to have to be a collaborative effort to get around these issues,” Miller said.

Miller said retailers will once again need to be creative this holiday season.

“We do also recommend people do curbside pickup, we do delivery, and obviously you can shop in the store so there are so many ways that you can circumvent the issues,” Brown said.

Brown says the best bet for the holiday is to buy and ship early.

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