Farmington is feeling the impact of supply chain issues nationwide

The backroom of Devaney, Doak and Garrett booksellers is larger than owner Kenny Brechner has ever seen in his 30 years of running the store. DDG is one of a slew of other businesses in downtown Farmington reporting difficulties stocking shelves due to supply chain issues plaguing the country. Photo courtesy of Kenny Brechner

FARMINGTON – Supply chain issues have impacted the country since the start of the pandemic. However, they transformed last summer – intensified by a perfect storm of increased demand, lack of materials, rising transportation and shipping costs, a backlog of cargo in California ports, and labor shortages. -work in several industries.

These issues, which have had an impact for some time, are making the holiday shopping season more difficult for businesses in Farmington.

The Livermore Falls advertiser spoke to several companies who reported the impacts of the issues and the workarounds they had to implement in order to meet the demands of vacation buyers.

Kenny Brechner, owner of Devaney, Doak and Garrett booksellers in downtown Farmington, said the problems were affecting “every point” of the supply chain.

Everyday Music owner Ernie Scholl said he has waited weeks, if not months, for some products to arrive that he normally receives within days.

He said he can get 60% of what he orders in a matter of days. For the remaining 40%, whether it is musical instruments or vinyl records, it has to “wait” and this waiting time is often not clear.

At Sensi Sensei, director Quinn Sharkey said they are also waiting five to six months for some titles. The average, Sharkey said, is around one to two months. Sensi Sensei offers a mix of clothing, smoking accessories, glass art, and items like crystals and incense.

Scholl and Brechner also say they are capped for what they order. Scholl will order six copies of a particular vinyl record and will only receive two. Brechner said the publishing houses “were blocking large-scale book purchases … [to] try to keep the market spread out.

It also happened at the Better Living Center. Owner Wayne Drake said he placed an order for $ 9,000 of groceries and only received $ 4,000 in inventory.

Scholl said the products he is able to order are more expensive than ever to ship.

When the pandemic started, a guitar case cost $ 50 and freight was $ 30. In October 2020, the price of the briefcase rose to $ 52 and freight to $ 60. In August, the deal was $ 56. The freight ? $ 98.

“For me, it’s a price hike,” Scholl said. “We have to pay the freight” – anyway.

Sharkey also said that the prices of shares purchased by Sensi Sensei have increased.

To avoid empty shelves, Brechner said he “worked steadily, very hard right from the start of the purchase … to accumulate books that I knew I wanted, loved and wanted to keep close at hand. hand”.

“We have prepared a greater level of inventory than I have ever achieved in 30 years of running the store,” said Brechner. “Things couldn’t be less certain. It was a challenge, logistically.

Scholl also had to order a higher level of stock to compensate for slow shipping times, products he couldn’t find.

“I had to rethink my whole ordering process because I just couldn’t contact one of my suppliers and get the material in a matter of days,” Scholl said. “I really had to reorient my mind.”

Fortunately, both Scholl and Brechner are in areas where you can order most products well in advance. At the Better Living Center with groceries, it’s much more difficult to prepare ahead of time.

“I was prepared to have a product to sell, expecting there to be material supply issues. I want to be able to live as much as possible off what we had in the store, ”said Brechner.

Scholl has also stocked the shelves with “substitutes” or “other similar amounts,” such as alternative Beatles albums if a specific, more popular album goes out of stock.

“If it’s not there I’m going to get what else I can get,” Scholl said.

However, preparing for the impact and anticipating shortages can only go so far as when customers are looking for specific products.

“We are obviously very touched by the people who want to receive their orders or who want particular books or who fulfill the special orders that we always do,” said Brechner. “It’s tough right now. I can hardly guarantee anything.

But if they don’t want to wait, what happens? Well, sure, they go elsewhere, like ecommerce sites like Amazon that are famous for their two-day shipping.

Scholl believes Amazon Prime’s fast shipping has created a new standard of expectation and a need for instant gratification.

He added that Amazon has added to the pressure on shipping and distribution companies, which prioritize fast delivery for the company over shipments for other companies.

“We wouldn’t have so many problems [without Amazon] because there wouldn’t be this lack of time to get things done, ”Scholl said. “The volume of individual packages [from Amazon] walking into houses is simply amazing.

Not all businesses are impacted. The owners of the Mercantile and the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies both said they did not feel negatively affected.

But it has come at a cost to those who have faced these problems. The bottom line isn’t just in terms of filling the shelves, but also the time business owners have spent trying to make sure orders arrive.

“I constantly checked the orders to see what was going on,” Brechner said.

“It was a little more than a handful [for the store’s owner] to try and keep track, a lot more list taking, ”said Sharkey.

Both added that it was taking a tremendous amount of time.

Fortunately, Brechner and Scholl say sales are “on par” with holiday periods of previous years.

Scholl said sales are the same or better than they’ve been over the past two years and customers are very positive.

“Most people who see small businesses know what we’re going through,” he said. “Most of the people we see have adjusted.

“And I like to think that we’ve been less severely affected than a lot of companies,” Scholl added.

Sharkey said customers are also “quite understanding” at Sensi Sensei.

Still, it doesn’t look like Everyday Music, DD&G and Sensi Sensei will be able to pull this new model out anytime soon.

“When is this going to change? Scholl asked his sales rep.

“It is not,” Scholl was told. “Get used to it. “

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