TAMPA, Fla. — Though we have multiple vaccines for COVID-19, including a booster, and things are slowly starting to go back to normal, the other side of the pandemic is wreaking havoc on the global supply chain.
Hundreds of businesses — from big box stores to mom and pop shops — are running low on merchandise.
Michael Martin, of Mike’s Pies, knows all about the struggle.
“It’s a trying time.”
Martin started his business 30 years ago. But, he started cooking as a child, with his grandmother. In fact, his grandmother is pretty much the heart and soul behind the business today. His pies and cakes are her recipes.
“We’ve been doing this for a long time, and it keeps growing,” he said.
It’s grown so much, they opened a new headquarters with a bigger warehouse. Martin said, he has never really worried about the business success in the 30 years, until the pandemic.
“I’ve been in fear of closing,” he said. “It’s kind of emotional for me.”
Just when things started to get back to normal and the country re-opened, Mike’s Pies was hit with a supply shortage. Finding ingredients like wheat, berries, honey and soybean oil has been difficult. The biggest hit, according to Martin, Graham crackers for his pie crust. His normal supplier and dozens of others had none. After weeks of being without, he said “we pivoted to a manufacture out of Canada. Now they’re our main provider for graham cracker crust.”
Businesses across the country are dealing with the same problem. Bill Thayer, the founder and CEO of Fillogic, said this is a problem he’s been warning about for years. He said this didn’t start with the pandemic, but the pandemic expedited the problem.
“The logistics and infrastructure in the world has never done a really good job being able to support the demand of e-commerce,” he said. “When everybody was staying home, e-commerce grew 10 years of growth in 18 months.”
Thayer’s company, Fillogic, works with retailers during times like these. Their job is to help companies come up with creative ways to stay afloat.
“We’re in the midst of the holiday season right now. This is peak season,” said Bill Thayer. “We’re taking a supply chain that’s already jammed up and adding holiday surges on top of that. It just makes it worse.”
Thayer believes the supply shortage will last at least into next year, but he doesn’t think it’ll last forever.
“We’ll figure it out, we usually seem to,” he said. “We have to be understanding for the period of time.”