BLACK FRIDAY 2021:Here’s what to expect for holiday shopping in the Memphis area FOR SUBSCRIBERS:Shortages on the shelves: How Memphis grocery stores are dealing with supply chain issues John Miller is a co-owner of Shangri-La Records, a Memphis record store that has been open for 30-plus years. He expects this year to be a holiday shopping season unlike any other.
Nov. 27 marks the 12th annual Small News Saturday, which falls between Black Friday and Cyber Monday and serves as the kickoff to the holiday season for independent retailers and restaurateurs. The COVID-19 pandemic’s impacts continue to be felt by many small, local retailers and restaurants as this year’s Small News Saturday approaches, with many dealing with supply chain issues and labor shortages brought on by the pandemic.
“Excitement is building among consumers and small businesses ahead of the holidays, with 63% of small business owners surveyed reporting that they are preparing for a bigger holiday shopping season than last year despite supply chain shortages and other challenges due to the pandemic,” said Elizabeth Rutledge, chief marketing officer at American Express, in a news release. “We’re rallying consumers to help deliver a strong holiday season for small businesses in communities across the country. It’s so important to support our favorite small businesses not only on Small News Saturday but throughout the holiday season and all year long.” For him, alternative sources have included different distributors, as well as different models of turntables that Braswell can put on the floor instead of the ones he originally wanted, which have often been on backorder for six to eight weeks already.
But what has really proven difficult for her has been hiring employees quickly enough for the holiday season. “When it comes to making doughs and breads, those things have been pretty much excluded from our menu right now, for time constraints for me,” Todd said. “… Once I start to hire more employees, and hopefully I can hire somebody who makes nothing but dough and bread, that way, we can keep it running.” Karen Todd is all too familiar with supply chain issues — and her business has only been open a month. The owner of Kutie Pies Bakery Cafe in Southaven has had to slightly increase the prices of her catering services due to food shortages and an increase in the price of meat.
“For both of those reasons, there’s already going to be a supply crunch, and I think then the staffing of warehouses for manufacturing and shipping certainly has complicated things further,” Miller said. “I think we’re seeing it from a couple different angles, compressing what would otherwise be a time where we were able to get a lot more things in for our customers before the holidays.” He cited two issues further impacting an already taxed supply chain: A fire on the West Coast destroyed a manufacturing warehouse that housed a lot of the pallets used to make vinyl records, and the number of customers looking to buy vinyl continues to climb.
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