Have you done your holiday shopping yet? Time could be running out

Local News

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — For once this might be the year for early Christmas music and holiday sales — retailers are encouraging consumers to get their shopping done early.

Could we be in for a return to the days of empty store shelves and limits on purchases like we saw last year?

Labor shortages are leading to shipping delays and trying to keep up at the warehouses.

“For example, in the West Coast into Canada and so forth, that may prevent cargo from being unloaded or prevent rail lines from opening up,” said Zac Williams, Western Michigan University.

The bottlenecks are even affecting small retailers who don’t rely so much on international supply lines, like the shops in the Elmwood Village. Much of the merchandise is produced locally, but material supplies might come from all over the world.

“Overseas transactions, staffing, of course, is an issue — that is on a global scale, that is not just affecting the restaurants and stores on Elmwood, that is affecting everywhere, in terms of getting workers in to be stocking the boxes and sending the shipments out,” said Therese Deutschlander. Elmwood Village Association.

At Ten Thousand Villages gift shop, they sell the work of artisans from developing countries, then return the proceeds to those artists, but many of them are not working due to the pandemic.

Store Manager Claire Werynski is concerned about getting merchandise for the holidays.

“They’ve usually got the components, they usually have the technology to put it together. The demand is high in America, but they don’t have enough workers. So we are only dealing with a shortage of workers in our country,” said Mark Andol, Made in America Store.

Mark Andol told us, the Made in America Store has enough inventory for their customers right now, but starting next month, the tour buses return. He has 60 buses booked for October and November, and all of those tourists are coming to shop for the holidays.

Al Vaughters is an award-winning investigative reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 1994. See more of his work here. To submit a Call 4 Action, click here.

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