Haywood County businesses are feeling the effects of the nation’s current national supply chain problems.
Staff shortages, plant closures, strong consumer demand, port congestion, rising gas prices, the list goes on.
A perfect storm of problems has wreaked havoc on the national economy, with business owners and buyers noticing the damaging effects. Haywood County is not immune either.
From canceled or delayed shipments to lack of merchandise to sell, business owners are changing their practices to overcome problems created by supply chain issues. Here are two Haywood-specific examples that illustrate how shortages occur locally.
Keep it in stock
Jessica Garrick, mother of four and owner of Southern Loft in Waynesville, noticed in July that the business was about to take a hit.
In addition to canceled shipments from suppliers over the summer, she noticed prolonged delays in the shipments that she actually received from suppliers.
“We would order products in June or July and wouldn’t receive them until October or November,” Garrick said.
Southern Loft is a seasonal women’s clothing store, so Garrick was stuck with off-season summer products most of the time she hopes to sell next season.
Offering custom t-shirts, Southern Loft even struggled to get blank t-shirts.
“T-shirts are sold in bulk, so I’m going to order 80 shirts and find the colors are gone, the sizes are gone. And this is because the suppliers cannot go to the warehouses to distribute them, ”said Garrick.
As a result, Southern Loft has reduced its custom products until it can get more merchandise available from suppliers.
Supply issues even extend to the payment process. Garrick said ordering specific bags to contain customer purchases has become an issue. Suppliers say they will have to ship them in the coming weeks or months.
“We need bags to pack the orders,” said Garrick, “We don’t want to give [customers] plastic thank you bags. It’s an experience. We want them to have a nice bag with the sticker on it. When you don’t have them, it’s not good.
Due to delays and cancellations, Garrick changed suppliers for several products in an effort to keep his store stocked.
“I’m going to be ordering from a couple of companies to bring in my supplies,” Garrick said.
And Garrick thinks the worst may be yet to come.
A lot of inventory has been shipped because it was already in the warehouse, but once those warehouses run out of stock, retailers can be left empty-handed.
“In the past six months, [vendors] have run out and now there is nothing more to give, “said Garrick,” I think we will see more issues with our clothing side to come. “
Drivers on Russ Avenue may also have noticed that the cars were more empty than usual.
Gene Horne and Gordon Prince, directors of Taylor Ford in Waynesville, say their dealership is down 80 to 100 cars from what it should be.
The cause of the shortage of new cars is the lack of electronic chips used to control them. And this is not a problem that is going to be solved any time soon. The shortage of microchips has become a global problem.
For new orders, customers can expect to wait up to four months for their vehicle to arrive.
“Wait times have doubled,” said Horne.
Horne says there are a lot of new vehicles at Ford factories here in the United States waiting for chips.
“I ordered a transit van for a commercial customer over six months ago,” Prince said. “And for a Ford Ranger, you can expect 10 to 14 weeks. “
To make ends meet and satisfy customer demands, Horne and Prince have turned to the used car market to fill gaps in their inventory. In response, the used car market exploded.
“A lot of people have no idea they’re sitting on a gold mine,” Horne said.
Used car owners can pretty much get their money back if they are willing to part with a used car, truck or SUV.
As they see an increase in what they’re getting, Taylor Ford’s wasteland usually filled with new Ford vehicles is a telltale sign of a once-lucrative supply chain gone bad.
“You can’t sell what you don’t have,” Horne said.