Shortages due to COVID-19 leave Vancouver Island businesses struggling to find stock

Shortages due to COVID-19 leave Vancouver Island businesses struggling to find stock
WatchShortages in the global supply chain due to COVID-19 are impacting a huge range of Vancouver Island businesses as they struggle to stock their shelves.

Tom Lozza was relieved to receive a huge shipment of cleaning supplies at his Nanaimo warehouse Wednesday since a shortage in chlorine due to the pandemic has put a huge squeeze on what’s available.

“We need this delivery really bad,” said Tom Lozza, co-owner of Bastion Janitorial Supply.

Sales from his Nanaimo company, Bastion Janitorial Supply, have exploded, doubling from $500,000 to $1-million since the pandemic began. But Lozza said COVID-19 caused shortages from disruptions in the global supply chain can hit at any time.

“We waited three and four months for glove orders that we didn’t even know were coming anymore. When it did arrive it was just partial orders,” said Lozza.

Down the road at Midland Tools, salesman Brandon Hawksworth surveyed his empty shelves where the global aluminum and steel shortage is impacting everything from table saws to ladders.

“It’s tools, big machinery because big machinery’s made of metal and we can’t get it. Biggest one for us is cabinet saws. Can’t get it. They are back ordered until August September right now,” said employee Brandon Hawksworth, of Midland Tools.

At Rock City Cycles business has risen over 50 per cent from a year ago. But parts, like brakes, are up to a year on backorder now, and bikes are being ordered for 2023 already.

“There’s no bikes in any warehouses anywhere and as soon as they get bikes they ship them to stores as quickly as possible and they’re generally sold,” said Sean Lunny, co-owner of Rock City Cycles.

Experts blame months long shutdowns in the pandemic, then changing consumer behaviour where disposable income shifted from travel to consumer goods and home renovation.

Businesses say what is even more difficult than securing stock in this pandemic, is predicting how much they will need whenever the pandemic ends.

“We don’t know what’s going to happen. We don’t know if it’s going to absolutely plummet. The housing market crash. We don’t know what to expect,” said Hawksworth.

Clearing the backlog in the supply chain will take a lot longer yet, according to industry experts, who say that things may get even worse as the economy and people’s spending improves.

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Skye RyanSkye Ryan

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