Companies encourage patience over supply chain problems | News, Sports, Jobs


Photo of Katrina Fuller Pictured is Tim Mead, owner of Kennedy Supermarket. Mead said some items are not available depending on the week due to ongoing supply chain issues.

Supply chain issues affect just about every corner of the world, including some businesses in Chautauqua County.

Area business owners spoke with The Post-Journal about the impact of these issues on their inventory as well as their business in general. Currently, supply chain disruptions are affecting local stores in a variety of ways.

Tim Mead, the owner of Kennedy Supermarket, said some items are not available week to week, including Kraft, Oscar Meyer and others. He said that there does not appear to be a clear reason why these products are not available.

“You will get an item right away, then it will be out of stock” Mead said. “You won’t have them for a while and then all of a sudden they will have them again. What we do, being a business that is not a corporate chain, we can buy from many different sources. When this happens we are able to do this, being smaller by having a number of different sources to purchase goods. “

Mead said when the pandemic first started there were issues with the supply chain as well. When this happened, Mead, who also owns The Office restaurant, said he was able to purchase items from catering companies. These businesses had a plentiful supply as many restaurants closed at the start of the pandemic.

“I was able to buy all of my steaks and all that stuff from the food service when the supply chain kind of came to a halt.” he said. “We had meat here in Kennedy when a lot of the downtown department stores didn’t, so we were bombed. It was something else. Now it’s like everyday objects here and there. We’re getting a delivery right now, and our backorder page on our invoices is a mile long. “

Mead said it had been difficult with both the stock issues and the price changes. He said the prices were much higher for the items. Mead added that the change has been gradual throughout the pandemic; at first everyone was exhausted, then manufacturing plants were hit by COVID which swept through staff and had to be shut down.

Chad Ecklof, owner of Ecklof Bakery in Jamestown, said his bakery has also been hit by supply chain issues and rising prices. For example, the foreshortening went from about $ 20 per cube to $ 100 per cube throughout the pandemic.

“That’s for 50 pounds of shortening,” he said. “With the jellies and toppings, we had a hard time getting them. The companies that make some of the products have had to shut down their lines because they just can’t keep up with the workload – they’re short of employees. There are all different aspects. The trucking industry noticed a shortage of drivers, so we had shipments that weren’t even coming so that our distributors could get them to us – shipments of flour, sugar and things like that. It goes all the way. “

Ecklof said these issues make it harder for businesses to operate because it “keeps us in a constant state of trying to figure out how to fill orders, fill orders and how to get enough for the store.” He said it’s worrisome as the holiday season approaches.

“We have to adjust our product offerings, especially as the holidays approach” said Ecklof. “There are a lot of products that people expect to see on the holidays, and we have to be a little on the pins and needles now to see if we can even do that. We had to stock up in advance on what we can get. There are ingredients we’ve been told before that there’s a chance they won’t be around for Thanksgiving and Christmas. S we stocked, which means now we have a whole bunch of money tied up in inventory that we wouldn’t normally have tied up in inventory. It hurts.”

Ecklof said that while customers want to help, they cannot impact the supply chain issue. However, they can support local businesses and figure out when they might run out of something or unable to get hold of it.

He added that he understands that many individuals and families may not have the funds to make additional purchases.

“This also expects a lot from our customers”, said Ecklof. “We understand from our customers’ perspective that it is difficult for them to buy items like baked goods because a baked product is a luxury item. There are a lot of people going without them right now – so we don’t have them as clients at the moment, and that’s why we’re just happy to pick them up when we can. We understand this is a tight time.

Ecklof said if people can shop locally without draining their finances, he encourages them to support local businesses, knowing the holiday season might be a little different this year.

“If there’s something you really want and the company doesn’t have it, maybe choose something different” he said. “Now is a good time to try something new that you’ve never tried before, or take what you can get, because a lot of businesses are going to run out during the holidays. It’s a tough time right now, and businesses that are open are doing their best to stay open, which means they’re doing their best to provide everything they can to their customers.

Ecklof said the best thing customers can do at this point is “Come in with a smile and do your best to help your local businesses – and your local businesses will do their best to continue to help the community.”

Kaitlyn Bentley, owner of Peterson Farms, has also been affected by supply chain disruptions. There have been delays in receiving products, price increases and other issues.

“I have a lot of stuff regarding our imports, like our stuff from Sweden, which takes several extra weeks to get here”, she said. “Even though it’s from Chicago, it takes a long time.”

With the holiday season starting soon, Bentley said the store is urging people to start shopping for their basics early. She said the store does some shipments from the store, but the U.S. Postal Service is warning there will be delays and is extending priority shipping from two days to three days.

This year, Bentley said the store usually has a birdseed sale, but at this point it will cost the store the same amount they can sell them for.

“It’s going to explode, and I think it’s a lot of logistics issues”, she said. “Not having the people to harvest, but also the prices of the trucking to take it anywhere, to bag it and that sort of thing. Unfortunately, we have to increase some prices, but we try to keep them as low as possible, as we normally do. Also, we just hope things get there on time – I suggest sending things out early and maybe tossing them in the freezer, if it’s bread or something, they can still be frozen until. at Christmas.

Bentley said the price increases are not an attempt by local stores to get extra money from customers. She said the situation has made it very difficult for local businesses, and they are just trying to survive and provide goods and services to the public.

“We’re all crazy about it, but maybe have pity (stores)” she said. “We’re only increasing it because, as I’m sure it does with all businesses, it has to be so that we can keep the lights on and keep going. It is not our choice – it is certainly not a predatory pricing situation. It’s definitely a long-term thing, especially when we’ve been closed for so long as a country. “

Bentley said the situation would not immediately improve, but it should “to sort out” after Hollidays.

“There will definitely be some recovery time,” she said. “I hope everything will catch up. I would just say keep the kindness in your hearts this holiday season.”

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