“We’re definitely seeing supply chain issues,” said Lisa Bennett, owner of Black Sheep Gifts in Indiana. “We’re just not getting our inventory in, certainly not in a timely manner.”
Right now, Black Sheep Gifts is loaded with various Halloween gifts and décor, but behind the scenes, the Christmas hustle has already started.
“If there’s things that you want for the holidays, that you know that are on people’s holiday list, you need to get it while you can,” said Bennet. “Because if we run out, I don’t know when or if we’ll be able to get more in.”
Bennett said the pandemic has brought on a series of supply chain issues. She said rising shipping costs and labor shortages have been a problem for months, so she placed her Christmas inventory orders months in advance hoping they would arrive in time.
“Our November-December sales typically make up about 35%-40% of our annual sales, so it’s a big deal for us to make sure that we can capture those big holiday sales,” explained Bennett.
At Sullivan Hardware & Garden, Christmas trees, wreaths and garlands are just some of the items running low due to pandemic-related supply chain issues.
“The skyrocketing price of a (shipping) container is shocking, just shocking,” said owner Pat Sullivan.
Sullivan said he is paying more than three times the typical cost for artificial Christmas trees this year due to rising shipping costs. He said generally the retailer fronts most of the extra costs, but some of that cost will lead to higher prices.
“People might have their heart set on a 10-foot tree and might have to take a 9-foot, you know, because all of them might not make it. We’re just not sure yet,” said Sullivan.
Other items, Sullivan said, will not be worth the higher cost and simply will not get stocked at all.
“If what’s on the container — you just have to look at it — if it pushed the price too high, you just don’t bring it in,” Sullivan said.
Both Sullivan and Bennett agree that it’s an issue that’s only gotten worse as the pandemic drags on, so shopping early is your best bet.
“Typically, people come shopping, and we’ll hear around Halloween, ‘Oh, I’ll have to come back at the holidays,’ but if you come back at the holidays, there’s just no guarantee that you’re going to find anything,” said Bennett.