How small businesses are working around inflation, supply-chain issues this holiday shopping season

Monday, November 29, 2021
How small businesses are working around inflation, supply chain issues
Raleigh small businesses are making adjustments as inflation and supply chain issues continue to bog down the U.S. economy.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Cyber Monday is a big day for large retailers and for small, local businesses.

ABC11 talked to small businesses about how they're working around inflation and supply chain issues this holiday shopping season.

Mary Szabo and her husband own Raleigh-based Surly Squirrel. They create graphic T-shirts, hats and home goods. They sell their items online, at local shops such as Bayleaf Market in Raleigh and through area popup events.

Szabo said they've had to increase prices slightly because of inflation.

"We've had to change our prices," Szabo said. "But, like I said, we've seen a lot of support from the local community, and it hasn't really affected our sales."

When it comes to supply chain issues:

"Instead of ordering a smaller amount multiple times, we've ordered a higher quantity ahead of time to just be fully stocked," Szabo said. "So that's taken a little bit of an investment on our part, but it's allowed us to keep ahead of everything a little bit."

Szabo said they are able to ship out everything they offer online in a day or two.

"But we've had to really prepare for that," Szabo said. "And expect delays as we've increased our inventory and making sure that we've been stocked for the holiday season. We've had to really prepare ahead of time because we've seen some delays and wanted to make sure we were prepared for local sales and online sales here."

Diane Chinnis, the owner of Main & Taylor in Raleigh, which carries shoes, handbags and more, said some vendors or factories have canceled orders.

"It was everything from factories being closed to then factories not able to get the components they needed to make the product then once they got it on the boat, we all know what happened then," Chinnis said. "Customs was an issue and then even once they thought it was on the road so it's been an ongoing struggle for them and us trying to keep product in, in a timely manner."

She said they haven't been able to keep reordering hot items but Chinnis said they've been able to work with their vendors and they usually order items way in advance.

Main & Taylor has been growing its online presence, developing an online store when the store shut down temporarily during the pandemic.

"I've been kind of surprised," Chinnis said. "I thought at first it would just be local customers that knew about us, but I've shipped shoes all over the country. So it's been surprising the reach that I got from it that I sort of wasn't expecting."

Bayleaf Market, which sells items from more than 70 local artists, said they're not affected by supply chain issues.

"They're makers, we are creative, and we make things that we need and we don't have to go outside of our local area to get things and make things," said Courtney Pernell, Bayleaf Market owner.

Chinnis added: "Shopping locally is so important to support those local business people who've struggled so much, both restaurants, retail during the past year and a half."