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Retailers counter supply chain issues

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CENTRAL Wis., (WAOW) — Retailers across industries are impacted by supply chain issues.

The Wisconsin Grocers Association said they know the disruptions to what most know as the ‘typical’ shopping experience can be frustrating but appreciate the patience and flexibility of the customers.

"Everything is being done by grocers to do what they can to put products    on the shelf. Everything is being done by grocers to maintain prices as best they can - even though price increase is being shoved down their throats every day. They [have] worked to maintain and keep the stores open and sanitized - even though they have [limited] workforce because there are not enough people to fill the jobs,” explained WGA President Brandon Scholz.

The issues are happening from ‘big-box’ stores to small businesses. Even beauty industry giants like Ulta Beauty. Area General Manager David Biundo said testing makeup products and fragrances will be a bit different moving forward.

"We've increased our cleaning protocols throughout the day, so that we can go through and we can wipe - especially testers and fragrance bottles down also with our testers," he said, "good news is we have very good relationships with our vendors and our supply chain team is working very hard to mitigate those circumstances."

Small businesses like Gepetto’s Workshop said they had to start ordering holiday inventory months in advance – especially getting the kids favorites like Callico Critters and Melissa and Doug toys.

But also quarantine-inspired go-tos like board games and puzzles.  

"We started preparing for the holidays back in May, so we got most of our stuff in at this point, but there are still a few things we’re having a hard time getting in," workshop owner Lindsey Jurgella told us.

Though with the issues, came alternatives for customers. In-store pickup and expanded delivery options became available – an attempt to continue COVID regulations and a counter to store hour limitations and limited stock quantities. Extended sales or online exclusive sales have also disrupted a more traditional sales model. Ulta Beauty currently testing out a ‘Doordash-like’ model in several areas of the country.

Multinational tech giant Amazon experienced extensive delays in recent months releasing this statement to WAOW:

We are improving delivery speeds in all categories—we’ve added capacity in our network, opened over 250 new buildings this year, and are hiring 125,000 seasonal employees to supplement our current workforce of more than 750,000 full- and part-time operations employees in the U.S.

Scholz said a common misconception is that product development is the source when the problem lies in shipment delays and workforce shortages.

All shops we spoke to advised customers shop early and look forward to a new sense of normalcy with the adaptive changes.

Have any story ideas? You can send them to egaffney@waow.com