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Businesses Beat - Supply chain issues and inflation are hitting businesses hard

Updated: Mar 15, 2022 March 15, 2022 @ 11:55am

Businesses have been able to take a deep breath (without masks) over the past couple of weeks. Operations are starting to feel a bit more normal, we are seeing customers we haven’t seen in a very long time, and the community vibe feels calmer than it has in months. Yay!

The problem now, unfortunately, is prices and supply shortages. Between COVID and the shifting workforce over the past two years, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and astonishing inflation (which feels like it happened overnight?), businesses are in for another tough year.

At the Jewel Theatre, we use Pepsi products but can’t get Pepsi pop cups. To be clear, Pepsi cannot get its own cups to their customers. We are seeing a lot of items on our inventory order form now marked “Special Order,” meaning our supply company can’t get them either or they can, but it takes a very long time. All we can do is buy in smaller quantities, for more money and work with what we can find. Every week it seems there is something else we can’t get, and we need to use substitutes.

And prices? Wow. We have seen popcorn kernels jump up almost $8 for a 50lb bag in the last few weeks, and our popping oil increased by $5 per box too. All this adds up to businesses having less buying power and will be forced to increase their prices in the near future. Vendors have shared that this is across all industries, and they are expecting prices to keep rising.

And don’t forget if our buying power is weakening so will our staff’s and we’ll have to start adjusting wages soon.

The good news is (and I can’t imagine how many times I will write these words in the future) we got through COVID, so we can undoubtedly weather this too.

If you can:

  • Work with less product. Better to have a steady stream of products that you know you can get rather than a changing list that your customers can’t predict.

  • Talk to your vendors and ask them to contact you if they get word prices will increase.

  • Get a list together of “If not this, then that.” Having this list will help whoever orders for your business make quick decisions.

  • Buy large amounts at the best prices you can find now to buy yourself some time over the next few months.

  • Change your words and have a substitute ready. Try saying “Sorry, we can’t get blueberry muffins right now, but we have Cranberry muffins.” This small change in wording tells your customers that you tried to get the blueberry, but you brought in another delicious option when you couldn’t get them.

If you are a local consumer reading this, please know that we are all working on it, but it may take some time. Please be patient as your favourite restaurant get’s their menu sorted out or your favourite clothing store gets those boots you wanted.

This is going to be tricky for a little while longer but we’ll make it.

Wendy Rairdan, Owner Rairdan Services, Inc.


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