Supply chain issues: Locals explain how current conditions have affected their businesses – American Press

Supply chain issues continue to impact the global economy. This month, frontline experts from local businesses shared how the pandemic and supply chain issues have affected them, affecting customers in southwest Louisiana.

The business-to-business program, with speakers Amanda Cox, Latter & Blum; Dave Evans, Luna Bar & Grill; Chad Seales, Rouses Market and Wendy Stine, Stine Home & Garden, were presented by the Better Business Bureau, Serving Southwest Louisiana Foundation.

“Housing is an incredibly heavy topic that affects us all,” Amanda Cox began.

She presented eye-opening statistics showing the contrast in the residential real estate market between January 2019, when there was still some sense of normality, and January 2022. The average days on market fell by 51%. The average “sold” went from $188,000 to $218,000. The average number of homes for sale has fallen by more than a third.

“It remains a seller’s market,” she said. “Rapidly rising home prices, rising mortgage rates and record home inventory have created a perfect storm. Our purchasing power as consumers is diminishing every day.

She warned of appraisals not always turning up the way homeowners wanted, and there was very little recourse for home buyers or sellers in these cases and she warned of damaged homes picked up by pinball machines and not “incredibly well done”. In this case, she recommended a careful and thorough inspection.

“If you wait for prices to drop, I don’t see that happening,” she said. They might stabilize, but they’re not coming down.

Nonetheless, she urged homeowners who are reasonably happy with their homes to “stay put and do some renovations.”

Stine President Wendy Stine got brutally honest about what customers might find when they visit a Stine store to start a home renovation or renovation.

“Spoiler alert,” she said. “If you were hoping for better news from me, I haven’t.”

She described what happened with the pandemic, hurricanes, freezing temperatures and changing supply as a snowball effect. It started when people were forced to stay home and decided they wanted to improve their homes while they were there. Demand exceeded supply. Before the pandemic. Before the hurricanes.

“We buy products and materials from abroad,” she said, “and hundreds or even thousands of unloaded containers are still a problem today.”

A container without product was $3,000 before the snowball started rolling. Now it’s costing Stine $20,000…an empty container before freight charges are accounted for.

“Not only has it been difficult to stockpile inventory being shipped from one country to another, it’s also difficult to ship inventory in-state,” she said. “We were all looking forward to 2021, when things would be better. It wasn’t, and 2022 isn’t any better either.

Getting employees, products and raw materials is a concern, not just for Stine but for everyone, she said. It could take six months to get a generator. It’s hard for retailers to get steel, metal, clay and rubber products due to the impact of COVID on manufacturing everywhere. Fire rated attic stair panels and windows could take four or five months to obtain.

The 2021 freeze destroyed chemical plants in Texas that make a key raw material used in many products, resin.

“Resin is in caulking, vinyl, some plywood and paint,” she listed. “As if that weren’t enough, the war in Ukraine and the Black Sea issue have compounded the problem. “Freight used to account for four to six percent of prices. Now that’s 13 to 50 percent.

Chef Dave Evans grew up in the restaurant business. He shucked his first oyster at age 13.

“Nothing prepared me for this, for the shutdown of the world,” he said.

Warrants close doors. The supply chain caused problems and Evans was trying to open a location in Lafayette. What was supposed to take six months took a year, eight months and three contractors.

“A pack of takeout containers that cost me $62.78 in 2020 now costs me $129.78,” he said. “Everything costs more, the cup, the straw, the lid, everything. Fryer oil that costs $22 in 2020 has doubled.

He said not all products doubled. Chicken increased by 25%.

A major challenge was staffing his restaurant.

“Three weeks ago I had scheduled eight interviews,” he said. Zero shown. Zero called to explain or postpone. If I don’t have employees, I can’t do anything.

Evans said before the storm, the lake area had 280 restaurants. It now has 240.

In a world where what happens with the supply chain cannot be controlled, Stine and Evans called on the public to be patient and kind. The takeaway from his speech was this: things are looking up for the restaurant industry and now is the perfect time for young people to apply for a job at Luna’s. He hires.

For Chad Seales, Store Manager of Rouses Market Nelson Road, the pandemic, hurricanes and other weather events and supply chain disruptions have sharpened his sense of humor and given him a better “understanding of his customers and employees”.

It was his job to protect them and the brand and it wasn’t always easy when it was up to him to limit the number of customers in the store to 10-15 at a time during the pandemic social distancing requirement.

“If you come to our premises, I’ll tell you what’s going on with the cat food or the avocados,” he said.

Like many retailers, he discovers, but not much before the customer. He helped with replacements. For example, he is driven to another store to find a certain yogurt for an autistic child.

“Last week I ordered 30 bags of crawfish straight from the farm,” he said. “I had six bags.”

Despite the current challenges, Seales said Rouses plans to open another store on the east side of Lake Charles, but he could not disclose the exact location.

Angela Guth, President and CEO of BBB, provided an update on their work.

“We always help resolve disputes,” she said. “But we are more than that. We are a resource. We cannot recommend a general contractor, plumber, lawyer or bank, but we can provide you with a list of names.

Guth said his office is back to work educating seniors about possible scams and they’ve now added the Smart Teen program for high schoolers.

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