10:00am: Talkline with Hoppy Kercheval

Supply chain problems could impact holiday shopping in W.Va.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state director of the National Federation of Independent Businesses says they’re continuing to fight for West Virginia’s small businesses as the country grapples with a supply chain issue ahead of the holiday season.

Gil White

“I don’t think anyone ever forecasted that we would be struggling trying to get inventory into our stores as well as employees to work in our stores. That in itself has been a speed bump that we did not forecast and have never encountered before,” said Gil White on last week’s MetroNews “Talkline.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a backlog at the ports and that’s because there is a shortage of staff to move products from ships to trucks and then onto to the roads and into the stores.

As a result, prices are rising on everything from clothes to groceries.

“We were hopeful that at this time this year we would be closer to pre-COVID numbers, employment and/or sales and that simply has not been the case,” White said.

White said it’s been a damaging spiral effect.

“I don’t know how we fix that,” White said. “We need to get the products before the vendors, so that they can obviously provide it to their customers.”

Some business owners now warning customers to make contingency plans ahead of additional shortages.

The Port of Los Angeles has had containers sit idle for six months.

Meanwhile, the Biden administration is working to fix the problem. The president last week announced commitments from several big companies to ramp up distribution and shipping, but some distributors say they’re facing problems that don’t have quick fixes like limited space in ports.

“We certainly need the federal regulators to realize that looking at additional taxes and rules and regulators, this is not an appropriate time and we hope that does not occur,” White said.

This year has already seen record-breaking price jumps for products like children’s shoes and furniture.

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