PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ The owners of two local hardware stores tell Eyewitness News that COVID-19 has caused a kink in their supply chains.
Tessier’s Hardware & Home Brew owner Bud Tessier said that in the store’s 103-year history, this past March was the first time it had to close for an extended period of time.
“We shut down completely for three and a half weeks, and then we eased in four hours a day for five days,” he explained.
The store is now open five days a week for six hours a day. Tessier said there are several products that he’s struggling to order, such as Plexiglass.
“There’s still some things that are hard to get, but it seems like America is adjusting,” Tessier said, adding that hardware store employees are problem solvers. “If somebody comes with a problem and you would use as certain product, you might be able to substitute a different way of doing something. Having that experience, we’ve been able to help out that way.”
Mt. Pleasant Hardware in Providence is just shy of 100 years old, according to owner Marc Gillson. Gillson said when they don’t have an item in stock, he too has to think outside the box.
“We say, ‘Well this thing will work for what you’re trying to do, so use this instead,'” he explained.
Gillson said several customers call daily searching for rolls of chicken wire.
“I believe it comes from China and China shut down January, February and into March,” he said. “So their supply chain wasn’t making tons of wire.”
He also said he’s been seeing a shortage in certain door locks.
“I believe they’re also all made in China,” he said. “Another problem with them importing things and the coronavirus having shut down their manufacturing and then slowing our manufacturing down.”
Tessier and Gillson both said their customers have been understanding and they’re doing their best to get items in high demand back on their shelves.