Local toy stores brace for holiday shortage as global shipping delays continue

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PEPPER PIKE, Ohio (WJW) – For months, retailers have been warned of a potential nationwide toy shortage just before the holiday season as the problem in supply chain and shipping container issues continue.

It’s one of the many reasons why Sean Arnold, owner of Play Matters Toys in Pepper Pike, started stocking his store for the holidays back in the spring.

“Time is your best friend. We acted early, and so we bought more and we bought it earlier than we would have in a normal year,” Arnold said.

According to the Toy Association, more than 85% of toys sold in the U.S. are manufactured overseas, putting additional pressure on local toy store owners.

Senior V.P of Marketing for the Toy Association Adrienne Appell said, “As we kind of predicted, we’re not really seeing those big sales or markdowns because everybody is worried about inventory.”

“Their kids get plenty of screen time, and so they’re looking for things that are a counter balance to that… puzzles, things that work their minds,” said Arnold.

Some of the season’s hottest, must-have items are currently on his store shelves, but for how long?

“Now that we sit here, something that we order right now, something new, we’re in the same boat as everyone else,” Arnold said.

Cheryl Barr is currently on a wait-list for a toy her grandson would love to have under the tree Christmas morning.

Her advice to those last-minute shoppers this season?

“Get out early, go to multiple locations, put your name on waiting lists just in case the product comes in and maybe look for alternative gift ideas,” said Barr.

On Tuesday, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine urged the federal government to join Operation Open Roads, a multi-state effort to suspend what they call burdensome regulations on the trucking industry to ensure small businesses and American consumers have the access to goods they need this holiday season.

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