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'Nothing is safe': St. Louis businesses feel the brunt of supply chain issues

"We average 22, 23 tons of bacon a year. That's been tough on us because the BLT is our number one seller. When it goes up 30-40% over a year, it's pretty big."

ST. LOUIS — It's a supply chain nightmare with a shortage of workers, port congestion and rising prices.

Port of Los Angeles and Long Beach are backlogged with cargo ships staying put. Yet, both ports are now working around the clock to get that fixed.

It's part of President Joe Biden's 90-day plan to fix supply chain issues.

This is aimed to help improve massive delays. The delays impact a range of items such as electronics and toys, clothes, to even food. 

This bottleneck is making things more expensive, too. The annual inflation is now at a 13-year high, which is 5.4%.

These supply chain issues are also making a domino effect on businesses in the St. Louis area.

Crown Candy Kitchen owner Andy Karandzieff tells 5 On Your Side, "This broad of a spectrum of things gone crazy on us is unprecedented."

The shop has been nestled on the corner of the Old North neighborhood for 108 years. 

Yet, Karandzieff says in 44 years of working there, he's never seen it like this.

"One week we can't get shopping bags, the next week I can't get lids for the cups. Nothing is safe," he added. 

Just like other owners, he's feeling the brunt of the high demand for products mixed with shortages and rising prices, especially on his two breadwinners.

"We average 22, 23 tons of bacon a year. That's been tough on us because the BLT is our No. 1 seller. When it goes up 30-40% over a year, it's pretty big," Karandzieff explained. 

Because of this, he's had to raise the price of the BLT sandwich by 10%. 

Customers used to see it at $11. Now, it's $12.25 or so.

Credit: KSDK

Plus, chocolate is also seeing a bump in prices, and in return, the consumers do too.

"I ordered four tons of chocolate for the holidays. It was a significant price increase from last year," he noted. 

As for other candies that aren't made in his store, such as licorice and gummy bears, only so many are showing up.

"My wife ordered nine different candies, only two showed up, they are all on the water," Karandzieff said.

Credit: KSDK

Salt + Smoke BBQ has five locations throughout the area. 

Owner Tom Schmidt said they are facing a lot of issues.

"We had an order for 10,000 pounds of ribs. They showed up to our dock and the truck was empty and the meat packer not even knowing the product wasn’t on the truck," Schmidt explained. 

He adds the product prices are through the roof. 

"Goods cost about 9% overall more than last year but meat and certain products are up 50-60%," he adds. "It’s going to get worse too. February is Chinese New Year, which normally sees production stop in China for a week but this year is also the Winter Olympics in Beijing which just like 2008 will have every factory within 100 miles of Beijing close for 2 weeks to clear out the air pollution."

In south St. Louis, Abigail's Gift Boutique faces the same beast.

Boxes are just coming in after months of delays. Some of her shipments also don't include all she's ordered.

Credit: KSDK

Abby Fischer says, "Some of the things we ordered in the spring, we're getting only half of because they don't have the quantities that they normally have in their warehouse."

The increase in prices is affecting her too.

"It’s really the cost of shipping all of my vendors are tacking on additional surcharges per box or a percentage of the total sale. I think that customers will definitely see that and increased prices throughout this year," she adds.

Staying on Hampton Avenue, the Bed Guy of St. Louis isn't seeing a problem in mattresses, yet it's the furniture that's causing a headache. 

Some of the furniture comes from Malaysia and now it's stuck at the West Coast ports. They've seen a three-month delay and some furniture may not come until March. 

Plus, they rely on steel and gas, so with those numbers rising, so are the prices of the products.

Vincent Van Doughnut in the Grove is in need of cups and lids.

Owner of Vincent Marsden says, "The aisle at Restaurant Depot is next to bare. It’s usually filled to the top with back stock."

Credit: KSDK

"Food price has skyrocketed. It used to cost me $90 to fill my fryer. Now it costs $220. Shortening was $35. Now $72. Boxes of “clamshells” for packaging individual donuts was $52. Now $72. The price of everything has gone up since March of this year," he explains. 

Frank Romano at the Parkmoor Drive-In weighed in. 

"Items that we are seeing out of stock or delays on are plastic cups that we use for to-go orders and for kids, to-go boxes, ketchup and mustard packs. Pretty much everything for to-go food packaging. As far as food items, we offer gluten-free burger buns and haven’t been able to get those from the bakery in Chicago for weeks. Shrimp was pretty scarce for a few weeks but seems to be leveling out. Even locally, while the supply chain of products from companies like Anheuser-Busch are strong, our local distributor has a driver shortage and we are seeing delivery delays of up to 7 days when it used to be next day," Romano tells 5 On Your Side.

On the other side of the river, Stumpy's Distillery goes through about six semi truckloads of glass per year.

Unfortunately, the biggest product securing his booze has become a shortfall.

"We have to plan on ordering six months ahead of time. We've now gone from two weeks lead time on a truckload of glass to about six months now," owner Adam Stumpf says. 

Just to cover those bottles up, that's been difficult to get their hands on, too.

"Anything paper-related, labels, corrugated shippers is also impacted," Stumpf adds. 

He believes there will be no end sight until after the Chinese New Year. 

"When China is going to shut down for Chinese New Year that’s going to be a challenge for everybody going forward hopefully after that, it corrects," Stumpf adds. 

That's why he's trying to order items in advance.

Yet, the owners are trying to keep their spirits up.

Karandzieff pleads, "Be patient with us, we are all trying to take care of ya!"

They're also trying to make sure customers are ready as the holiday season approaches.

"If there's something that you want is specific, definitely order ahead," Fischer advises. 

Karandzieff tells 5 On Your Side some companies already placed their corporate Christmas orders, so they can get them on time.

Fischer's best bet is to order by Nov. 1 and to be open-minded because some items may not be available.

All of the owners agree buying local is so important this year.

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