'Shop early, shop now': South Bay businesses brace for holidays during global supply chain nightmare

Business owners say that orders that usually take 2-3 weeks to fulfill are taking as long as 8 weeks.

Amanda del Castillo Image
Thursday, October 14, 2021
Supply chain nightmare: South Bay businesses brace for holidays
South Bay businesses are bracing for the holidays, explaining that goods are taking weeks, if not months, longer to arrive to their stores.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Worker shortages and production delays are without a doubt impacting the time it takes for products to reach their destinations.

Around the South Bay and across several industries, business owners say to get through the so-called "Great Supply Chain Disruption," customers should be prompt with holiday purchases.

"Shop early. Shop now," Sean Ilami, General Manager of CH Premier Jewelers at Westfield Valley Fair told ABC7 News.

RELATED: Toy shortages, supply chain among reasons to start holiday shopping now, experts say

What was once a common appeal, now critical advice.

"Traditionally, a lot of orders would've been fulfilled in two to three weeks," Ilami described. "Right now, the same orders, it could simply take as long as eight weeks."

In eight weeks, it'll be December.

At Leigh's Favorite Books and Bookasaurus in Downtown Sunnyvale, owner Leigh Odum said some of what is in stock today was ordered six months ago.

Now she's encouraging customers to order early and get ahead of the gift giving season.

"We have books right now," Odum explained. "I don't know what we're going to have in December."

VIDEO: Experts urge consumers to start holiday shopping now amid supply chain problems

Companies like Costco, Walmart and Home Depot are renting their own shipping containers and looking for different ports of entry due to a growing backlog of cargo ships along California's coast.

She admits it's been a challenge. At times, Odum said she's only received partial orders.

"It's been hard to keep the store stocked. It's taken a lot of extra effort from staff. And, you know, sometimes people have to wait a little longer for their books- and at a time when reading has been so valuable."

Odum explained she would double order, sometimes even triple order books if she knows it's going to be a bestseller.

"As a small business owner, you always have to be on your toes. Anything can happen," she shared. "In the past, we've had gift wrapping stations set even outside of our store, because we fill up and we get so busy."

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Odum continued, "This year, we'll see what it's like. Maybe it'll be spread out, it'll start a little earlier. That would really help even out that rush. We also don't have as large of a staff, hours are a little limited. So we're really, really hoping people can come out early."

For Cash Only bar owner, Cache Bouren, supply chain issues mean the struggle to source ingredients at his Downtown San Jose location.

"I'm being told, 'Yeah... we can't get you V8 juice in this particular package,'" he described. "Even ended up calling the company directly and they said, 'Well, we're making it as fast as we can, but we don't have any slated to go to the Bay Area for maybe six months.'"

From drink mixers to much needed equipment, Bouren echoed deliveries are taking drastically longer.

"Things that used to take three weeks, four weeks are taking more like 20 or 30 weeks," he shared.

Many small business owners say this is yet another holiday season unlike any other.