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Economy

Cleveland small businesses face supply chain issues ahead of Black Friday & Small Business Saturday

 Larchmere's Holiday Stroll runs Friday and Saturday.
Gabriel Kramer
/
Ideastream Public Media
Larchmere's Holiday Stroll runs Friday and Saturday.

Retail store owners in Cleveland’s Larchmere neighborhood are getting ready for their 50th Anniversary Holiday Stroll this weekend – a two-day event to encourage shopping local for the holidays.

But supply chains issues have caused problems for some shop owners in the East Side business district.

Lisa McGuthry, who owns Our Favorite Things Boutique & Event Center says because she can’t order products as easily these days, she’s spending her cash on hand to stockpile products when she can get them.

She said it’s a costly risk she wouldn’t normally take.

“Anything can come up, so you want to have a comfortable amount of money in the bank,” McGuthry said. “And so for us, we’ve literally sometimes gone down to our last $1000 in the bank, just because we need to have this merchandise on hand for the holiday season.”

Our Favorite Things sells clothing and personal care products, much of which is locally made. The supply chain issues extended to some of the local makers whose products are offered in the store.

As an example, McGuthry points to Aurora-based Sugar and Scrubs, which had to start using different containers for its skin care products. The containers are more expensive, but are more readily available.

“We have 16 entrepreneurs in our store,” McGuthry said. “A lot of them have experienced shortages.”

McGuthry, who is also co-president of the Larchmere Merchants Association, said other businesses in the district have felt the pinch of supply chain issues.

Liz Tekus opened Fine Points, a shop selling clothing and knitting supplies, in 1985.

Tekus said because of the pandemic, much of her customer base is apprehensive to come into to store to try on and buy clothes, so she has a growing inventory of clothes that is becoming harder to sell as new styles come and go.

However, Tekus said, knitting as a stress relief during the pandemic has increased demand for yarn and knitting supplies.

The brunt of supply chain issues at Fine Points is with the yarn. It is often taking a few months longer than usual for the store to receive yarn shipments, Tekus said.

“I’ve got one woman. We ran out of her stuff in October and she’s not expected to have it until mid-January,” Tekus said. “This is something that was in high demand. We’re just being patient. What can you do?”

Larchmere's Holiday Stroll runs Friday and Saturday. The stroll includes Black Friday and Small Business Saturday promotions, caroling and horse carriage rides through the neighborhood.

“People love knowing who they’re spending their money with,” McGuthry said. “People will come and shop with us instead of a big box retailer because they get to know us and that’s what they love.”

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