HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY — The fallout from the pandemic caused a spike in the cost of everyday items from furniture and refrigerators to pet food. The signs are everywhere from near empty appliance showrooms to half-filled shelves at grocery stores.
Famous Tate’s normally full clearance warehouse sits as a cavernous space. General Manager Claude Ward blames a scarcity of components critical to making appliances and bedding for lengthy delivery times and higher prices.
“Most products are selling for an average of 20 percent more than they would have been just six to nine months ago,” Ward said.
There’s not enough metal to meet the demand on appliances and a shortage of foam is blamed for customers waiting months on furniture deliveries.
NEW HOME COSTS
The February storm that pummeled Texas, combined with the COVID pandemic, created a bottleneck. The deep freeze shuttered factories that make foam and glue used in the manufacturing of wood products. The one-two punch to the wood industry has sent prices soaring. Leading to Florida homebuyers paying $15,000 more for a new home just because of lumber costs.
Home construction veteran and President of Homes by Westbay, Willy Nunn, predicts longer wait times and higher prices for everything home related for the near future. “I've never seen a universal increase in the cost of materials and shortages like we've seen now,” he said.
PET FOOD SUPPLIES
The Pinellas County Humane Society is feeling the price point and supply pinch in its efforts to provide hundreds of seniors with food for their pets. The non-profit donates pet food to nearly 250 older county residents to keep their dogs and cats fed. Senior Pet Connection Manager Darren Rivera says they’ve had a difficult time getting Friskies, Meow Mix, Pedigree and other brands.
“For a while we were not able to get this food at all,” Rivera said. The group had to cut other programs in order to pay the higher prices for the pet food they are able to purchase.
USF Economics Professor Dr. Chris Jones says it could take months before the supply in many consumer goods catches up with demand. His take: “You have a combination of not as much inventory being put onto the market combined with excessive demand that's been fueled by COVID … creating these deficits.”