Home furnishing customers met with unprecedented furniture wait times

When Raleigh resident Chloe Tucker went to get a new love seat this summer, she was surprised and a little shocked at how long the wait would be for the item to spruce up her place.

"It's going to take 12 weeks," Tucker said. "I thought 11 to 12 weeks? That's a terrible window."

Tucker isn't alone in her frustration. The delays are being felt industry-wide.

"We're all going through it and we've all been supporting one another store to store and supporting local businesses," said Patrick Casey, Manager of Green Front Interiors and Rugs in Raleigh.

"Every factory was inundated," Casey said.

Besides high demand, supply chain interruptions are adding to the wait times, especially on custom orders.

"I think people need to keep in mind that these goods, a lot of the upholstery especially, has been handmade here in the United States for the most part," Casey said. "And, so we've got staffing issues at the factories, they're still following COVID protocols at the factories. They have foam shortages, they have parts that are having to be shipped in or they can't get."

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Casey says the foam shortage started in Texas when the deep February freeze led to chemical plants shutting down. Transportation issues with a driver shortage and the gas crisis all added to the mix, creating challenges in the industry.

"So, if people are in the market and they're looking for a sofa or chair or bed, our advice is to go ahead and get in the queue," Casey said. "Don't keep putting it off because you're just, you know, delaying the inevitable. Lead times are gonna stay that way for quite a while. We've all heard, with everything the industry experts are saying. So, just go ahead and do your research. Keep supporting our local businesses especially."

Shopping local may help to offset wait times. Raleigh's Rug and Home opened during the pandemic in May 2020 and has pivoted to try to keep up with demand as so many worked on home improvement projects during the lockdown.

"We have invested in a warehouse and we have off-site merchandise we can supply to all five locations within a week's time," said Rug and Home COO Sherry Page. Page says customers are buying or asking to buy more items off the floor and her store is working hard to meet their needs with 90 percent of merchandise ready to go off the showroom floor.

Casey and Page say keeping customers informed of wait times and delays is an even bigger priority for shoppers on the market as the industry faces unprecedented delays this year.
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