Norfolk businesses preparing for holidays as shipping, staffing issues persist


NORFOLK, Va (WAVY) — Over the last year and a half, the global supply chain has struggled under the weight of the pandemic.

Several factors play a role, from labor shortages to increased demand. But it means empty store shelves and delays getting deliveries to your door.

It’s beginning to look a lot like a holiday mash-up at A. Dodson’s in Norfolk.

“Right now, you can see in our store we have Halloween, Christmas and Thanksgiving out, and a little summer,” said Amy Wheeler.

The local store for gifts, fashion and home decor is putting it all out there for customers with a word of advice from Wheeler.

“If you like it and you want it, I would get it the minute you see it,” Wheeler said.

Once it’s gone, it may be gone for good.

“We’re trying hard to get reorders but they’re just not there,” she said.

At The Industrial Cottage on Church Street, owner Molly Tilman is waiting more than a year for some couches and tables to ship.

While wait times are much shorter for furniture refinished in-house, she is still struggling to find employees.

“They either won’t show up, they’ll show up for a couple hours and be like ‘Hey I’m going to run and go to the bathroom’ and then just disappear and never come back. So, if anyone will show up and come two days in a row we’re like ‘Crack the champagne,'” Tilman said.

But who can afford champagne? Tilman said ocean surcharges are up 15 to 20%.

“There’s not enough containers or ships, so everyone’s charging extra and we’re getting hit with it,” she said.

Holiday shoppers can expect a bit of sticker shock as those extra costs get passed along to them.

Still, local shop owners are optimistic for the next six months because big box stores and online retailers are in the same boat.

Wheeler put it this way: “You know we’ve all been used to the Amazon the Targets and the Walmarts — they’re not going to have some of the stuff you’re used to getting in the time manner that you want. So we are really anticipating the brick-and-mortar stores this holiday season are going to get slammed,” she said.

And they’ll be ready for you — while supplies last.

The retailers ask customers to just be aware of the issues they’re facing as they continue to navigate these rough economic waters.

According to Moody Analytics,’ it may take up to 18 more months before the economy is “free and clear” of the impact of COVID-19.

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