Shop now, shop local: Retailers warn supply chain snags could impact holiday buying

Business News

EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Having had to deal with supply chain issues all year, local businesses are urging consumers to get their holiday shopping started early because some products could quickly disappear.

While it’s only September, shopping expert Andrea McHugh says the half-dozen retailers she’s spoken with in the past week have all expressed concern as the holiday season looms closer.

“There’s a lot of compounding factors contributing to these concerns,” she explained. “Some manufacturing plants have started later, they’ve been doing different production over the course of the past 7-8 months.”

“The concerns are really across the board,” McHugh added. “It might be potential delays in shipping, it might be from the distribution center.”

That’s because a spike in online shopping during the pandemic mixed with a shortage of truck drivers has caused a backlog for cargo ships, which could lead to product delays this holiday season.

“We’re getting goods, but we’re not getting everything, and there’s a lot of times that the orders just don’t even come in,” said Mark Goldrick, manager of Pleasant Surprise in Newport.

Goldrick said he’s going to try and have items in stock, but can’t guarantee it, so he’s encouraging people to shop now.

“If you’re waiting till the last minute, you’re going to be slim pickings at the end of by the end of the season,” Goldrick explained.

But Pleasant Surprise isn’t the only shop experiencing these problems.

“Everybody across the spectrum is experiencing some form of supply chain issue,” said Frog and Toad owner Asher Schofield, adding that he’s had to get creative at his shop in Providence.

He too is telling consumers to shop sooner rather than later.

“We’ve got a pandemic, we’ve got road work out on the street, we’ve got supply chain issues, but honestly, if you shop local – a lot of those crises can be averted,” Schofield said. “When it’s made here in your backyard, you know you’re supporting local and you know you’re going to be having less issues.”

Schofield is also reminding customers to be patient, and also be kind while making purchases.

“We are all struggling every single holiday season to make you happy,” he said. “It’s going to be even more of challenge this year, and just remember, there is a human on the other side of the counter.”

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