Reno retailers gear up for the holidays as supply chain hiccups continue

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JaDa Loft Boutique co-owner Monica Rios, left, chats with a buyer on Tuesday, September 28, 2021, at the retailer’s new location in South Reno. Photo by Kaleb Roedel.


In early September, sisters Jenny Frederito and Erin Siepel ushered a customer into their toy store with something they hadn’t yet expected to see: a Christmas list.

An hour later, this customer walked out of Learning Express Toys & Gifts in South Reno with six large bags full of wrapped toys valued at over $ 500.


For Frederito and Siepel, this sale officially kicked off the pre-summer vacation shopping season.


“I think people are hearing the news flowing about supply chain issues and it’s starting to hit people’s ears that advance buying is going to be more important than ever this year,” Frederito said. “And I feel like the more people see someone getting a Christmas present in the store, it entices others to go,” maybe I should take a few things. “


“We’re starting to see it more and more as the weeks get closer.”


For more than a year, the toy industry has been supported by purchases from families stuck at home during the pandemic. Disposable family income has shifted from movie theaters, amusement parks, and restaurants to toys, as parents searched for ways to keep their children entertained.
Learning Express Toys & Gifts in South Reno has a warehouse full of products it ordered in July to avoid shipping delays caused by the pandemic. Courtesy photo

With the COVID delta variant, the trend continued. Toy sales in the United States jumped to $ 11 billion in the first half of 2021, a 19% increase from 2020, according to the NPD Group.

But growing challenges rock the industry – including plant closures, computer chip shortages and clogged ports – as it prepares for the crucial holiday shopping season, an eight-week window that can represent an eight-week window. more than half of a retailer’s annual sales.


As a result, stores like Learning Express, which opened in August 2020, are seeing the kind of surge in demand that usually doesn’t happen until late fall. In anticipation, Frederito and Siepel began ordering toys for the holiday season in July, rather than waiting until October as they would in a normal year.


“We have a warehouse where we store all the products and filter them through the store as we go,” Frederito said. “The strategy was to order now and get it now to avoid shipping delays later.”

Still, Federito and Siepel said they receive emails from vendors on a daily basis informing them of shipments being stranded at ports. Therefore, over the past month, they have paid surcharges to cover the increasing shipping costs of the products they order.

“It’s hard to be small and local,” Siepel said. “We try to be competitive with our prices compared to big box stores. But I think we’ve done a good job and have full shelves over the holidays, which is the goal. “


“A VERY Lean YEAR”


In Midtown, the owner of Carter Bros. Ace Hardware, Tim Carter, had long taken for granted his ability to order whatever he needed and then watch the goods fill his store.


This is no longer the case.


In early fall, Carter’s hardware store is dotted with empty shelves. It’s been like that for months, no matter how many times he places an order.

Tim Carter, owner of Carter Bros. Ace Hardware, runs the cashier for his business in Midtown Reno on Tuesday, May 5, 2021. Photo: Kaleb M. Roedel / NNBW

“There are a lot of different products that we have space on our shelves for, and we have a price tag, and we order every week, and it just doesn’t come,” Carter said, noting that the products cover the entire range of household products. chainsaw cleaners. “And these are not the same articles as a year ago, or even six months ago.”

A year ago, for example, Carter Bros. Ace Hardware was running out of jars. Orders placed last year started to “dribble” a few months ago, Carter said.


As holiday shopping looms, Carter said he plans to order traditional Christmas items like faux trees, tree stands and lights, but found that “hardly any of this type of item is not yet available ”.


Carter said he hopes that will ease as Halloween approaches, but as demand continues to outweigh supply amid pandemic disruptions, he expects a “very year. skinny for Christmas decorations “available at its hardware store.


The challenges facing Carter’s Hardware are a testament to the extent and persistence of chaos plaguing the global economy, as manufacturers and the transportation industry face a relentless pandemic as shipping season approaches. holiday shopping.


“YOU MUST TAKE THE RISK”


At JaDa Loft Boutique, which recently opened a second location at The Crossing in Meadowood Square in South Reno, owners Monica and Victor Rios said supply chain grunts forced them to cancel orders placed there. months for summer clothes that were going to arrive in the fall.

JaDa Loft Boutique owners Victor Rios, left, and Monica Rios stand inside their new location at 6405 S. Virginia St. in Reno on Tuesday, September 28, 2021. Photo: Kaleb M. Roedel / NNBW

“I don’t want to bring in any new shorts right now when we have days like today where we wake up and it’s freezing outside,” Monica Rios said in late September. “You can place an order and they might tell you it will take seven to ten business days to arrive, and it ends up taking six weeks.”

That’s why, Rios said, they made sure to order well in advance and keep their inventory in stock so they weren’t stuck with bare clothes racks and empty shelves when shopping season. holiday season is coming.


“A store like this wouldn’t look good if you only had a few items,” said Victor Rios. “We have a lot of cargo to come out because of the concerns we’ve had with shortages and delays. You have to take the risk – there is a lot of money we have in our storage space, but there is no way around it.


The owners of JaDa Loft opened their first location in northwest Reno in December 2020. Despite opening in the face of the pandemic, the clothing store has seen sales increase every month, Rios said.


It gave them the confidence to “pull the trigger” to expand to South Reno this fall, even if it went against conventional retail wisdom.


“Most businesses are going to say that you want to have, at a minimum, a full year of sales before you look to grow,” said Monica Rios. “But we felt relatively comfortable because this place is very busy and the visibility is phenomenal. And we have a really phenomenal clientele.


Rios predicts that they will see an increase in the number of customers purchasing Christmas items as temperatures drop. She said they will be offering free gift wrap soon and plan to extend their hours of operation as holiday shopping resumes.


NO WAITING GAME


Meanwhile, Clay Hall, vice president of sales at Reno Type, a direct mail and print services company, told the NNBW in August that supply chain disruptions are having a huge impact on the industry. promotional products.


Hall said a COVID outbreak at a deep-water port in China has saved about 25% of promotional products entering the United States, a deadlock that he says “will persist for months.”


As a result, some Reno Type customers are forced to settle for items that are not their first choice. It also forced customers to buy vacation items in the middle of summer rather than wait until fall.


“If you wait until mid-October, November, you’ll either get what’s left or you won’t get anything,” Hall said. “Because the good things will go away. “


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