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Mitchell businesses find ways to combat supply chain issues, stocking up for holiday shopping

“I ordered very early and ordered a ton to make sure I was stocked up for the holidays," said Megan Suarez, owner of Adorn Boutique in downtown Mitchell.

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A stock of snow blowers align the front entrance of Thunes True Value in Mitchell. (Sam Fosness / Republic)

While supply chain disruptions and shipping delays have thrown a wrench in holiday shopping, many local businesses’ shelves are full, helping eliminate the risk of gifts arriving late.

At Mitchell’s Thunes True Value, manager Jen Cooper said the hardware store took steps to keep the shelves stocked with products for this holiday shopping season. As shipping backups and supply chain issues posed a new challenge for many Mitchell businesses during the pandemic, Cooper said the local hardware store began ordering products a year in advance to meet customer demands when Christmas time shopping rolled around.

“Spencer (store owner) and our staff have been very good at monitoring what’s happening and being proactive to make sure we have the volume of products to meet the consumer demand,” Cooper said.

By ordering earlier than normal, salesman Doug Haas said it’s helped the store receive products in time for the holiday shopping season.

Although Thunes has found a way to navigate through the supply chain woes, Cooper said it hasn’t been easy. Ordering a new line of products that the store typically hasn’t carried in the past is one way Cooper said Thunes has managed to keep its inventory stocked.

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“Do we have everything and the brand we exactly want in the store? No. But we have found ways around it, whether we’re bringing in another line of products or alternative products similar to what is in short supply has been something we have been doing to keep shelves full,” she said.

To make matters more challenging, the rise in inflation has also prompted Thunes to make business adjustments. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the rate of inflation in the U.S. surged to 6.2% in October, marking the highest rise since November 1990.

Haas said ordering products early has also helped the store keep prices as low as possible, considering the rate of inflation continues to increase at an alarming rate.

“We’re seeing higher demand in some of our products because people have been stocking up as they are cautious about rising prices,” Haas said.

With the price of holiday gifts on the rise, paired with shipping costs that can’t guarantee items arrive on time for Christmas celebrations in late December, Cooper emphasized shopping local is the “best way” to avoid shipping delays and buy gifts at a reasonable price.

“We’re doing our best to keep prices down as best as we can to pass that onto our customers because we know it’s all getting really tight,” Cooper said.

Megan Suarez, owner of Adorn Boutique in downtown Mitchell, took a similar approach and ordered her holiday inventory earlier than usual. For Suarez’s clothing boutique, the nationwide shipping delays haven’t affected her business as much as others since she said a majority of her clothing products and other miscellaneous items are based in the U.S.

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Christmas decorations speckled along the windows of Adorn Boutique in downtown Mitchell. Megan Suarez, owner of Adorn Boutique, has managed to secure a full stock of inventory for this year's holiday shopping season by ordering products much earlier than usual. (Sam Fosness / Republic)

“I ordered very early and ordered a ton to make sure I was stocked up for the holidays. Fortunately, most of my vendors I order from are stateside,” she said. “So my products aren’t floating in the sea on a ship right now.”

While she managed to secure enough product to keep her clothing boutique stocked for Christmas shoppers, Suarez said the global shipping backups will cause a few items to arrive about a month after Christmas.

“I’m already seeing that some stuff I wanted to order for the holiday season won’t be able to get here until January,” Suarez said.

Sam Fosness joined the Mitchell Republic in May 2018. He was raised in Mitchell, S.D., and graduated from Mitchell High School. He continued his education at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, where he graduated in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in English. During his time in college, Fosness worked as a news and sports reporter for The Volante newspaper.
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