IN-DEPTH: Supply chain issues bring out early holiday shoppers

Posted at 9:40 AM, Nov 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-19 10:40:13-05

TEMPLE, Texas — You might call Landy Ward, Kimberley Clawson and Myesha Schultz the early birds.

After seeing the trouble caused by supply chain disruptions, these ladies decided to get it in gear and get Christmas going, while stores still have gifts to choose from.

For Landy Ward, she's mostly done her shopping online and has gotten everything in time.

"I was worried that it was going to be delayed but so far has been okay. So far I've gotten everything ordered and surprisingly easy just because I ordered it early. It’s probably why I've gotten everything. It's just a few birthday presents for January. So I’m hopeful,” explained Ward.

Landy was smart and went looking for items in one of the most unique department stores around, The Hub in Temple.

The store is set up to work like an antique mall where vendors have their own areas to bring in the most creative and sometimes off-beat items you can think of.

Next, we ran into Biology professor Kimberley Clawson, who’d already seen the news about supply chain shortages.

For Clawson, she's found everything she was looking for since shopping early for all her family members.

"I have lots of choices to look at and this is a beautiful store to come to and I'm fine. I found something for my son and I'm very excited about that. I appreciate shopping local so we're trying to do that as well,” said Clawson.

So far, the early bird gets the worm but it’s not all smooth sailing.

Despite starting early, Myesha Schultz ran into, you guessed it, shipping problems.

"I’d been doing most of my buying online but it hasn't been arriving on time. Some of it has. There were a few things that I bought and after I purchased them, it was sent and I still haven't received it yet and I bought it before Halloween. I’m Hoping just based on what I've been seeing on the news, hoping that things will arrive before Christmas.”

So, what are retailers doing to help shoppers like these?

A couple of weeks ago, Misty Dollar said if she can get you in the doors of Callie’s Boutique, she can get you Christmas.

Some folks wanted to know what that looks like, so 25 News returned to the store and her neighbors in Temple’s Pecan Plaza, where thinking outside the box has practically become their brand.

“This year, we've really stocked up on things that we carry year round. And we feel like that because of some of the delays in specialty Christmas items. We usually have them fully stocked by now, but we're still waiting on some of those and some of those we may not get," said Dollar. "One example would be Fredericksburg farms. We carry this year-round and it's been a big hit so far for this holiday season."

And what about the children?

"Clothing is something people need all the time. So right now we're really pushing for kids you know to buy that outfit they might need for Christmas. Maybe we sell a little toy along with it because that's a lot more exciting but we keep a great stock of clothing year-round," said Dollar. "We do have things for boys and girls and so all of these things are non holiday and just traditional items you could you could wear year round so not really Christmas-y."

Last year, merchants here wondered if they'd make it to the new year, using every skill they had to stay afloat.

They say sailing through the supply chain issues is only a problem if you lack creativity.

At Paperdoodles, Suzie Winkler says soup sells.

“Soups are great because it's a gift to go. You can add a packet along with a really pretty package of napkins and you know, it's a consumable," said Winkler.

Winkler says business has been really good this past year since doing a lot more weddings.

And for perhaps the most creative gift ideas, and in most cases the classiest, we turn to Amy Thomas of Zootie’s.

Thomas carries a hand-made jewelry line out of Salado and this year she's doubled down on the bling with an outfit called “Girl with a Pearl."

“It's some flight attendants from Nashville that have found all these pearls all over the world and they bring them back and they put them together. So that's a great gift," she said. “We've got the bags, here and in the little bucket bags, even special hand towels with a picture of Temple’s long-time Santa Claus and member of the Scott & White family, Bill Childers."

Something Thomas says she's excited about is a product shown on Shark Tank, the Holiball, a giant inflatable Christmas ornament.

"You can you can stake it and put them in your yard. You can hang them up. We just got them in. We've gotten in the red ones and we have in the gold ones and we're still gonna get the green ones and the pink ones and they were shown on Shark Tank and Mark Cuban backed them," explained Thomas.

So this year, things are looking up for the small businesses of Pecan Plaza, something which makes the supply issues almost trivial and for which they’re grateful.

“I'm just pleased. I personally am pleased with what we've received. Have we received everything and we had some canceled orders? Absolutely. But I'm happy with the way everything is going. You know, I think what I'm happiest about is to see so many friends that we haven't seen in nearly two years," said Thomas.

Something that should make for Happy Holidays indeed.