SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The coronavirus pandemic not only shut down businesses across the country, it also slowed down or stopped production at many manufacturing companies around the world. For some KELOLAND business owners, it’s meant a difficult time tracking down products and inventory for their stores.
“Every manufactures is behind, whether it’s chainsaws or snow blowers or tillers,” Ideal Yardware Owner Cory Hansen said. “Just yesterday we got our April 1st order of law mowers in.”
It’s the first official week of summer, even though many people stuck at home have been working out in their yards for months. But some people in search of a new mower or other outdoor equipment found themselves on a long waiting list this spring.
“Fulfilling orders has been really hard this year, we’ve had a lot of people that are still at home they want to work in their yards and want to do clean ups,” Hansen said. “So the economy is okay, it’s just our inventory has been ridiculously low so it’s difficult to get product to people.”
Ideal Yardware owner Cory Hansen says he’d like to have about 200 of his most popular lawn mower models in stock right now, but he only has about 15 left.
“Lawn mowers right now we can’t get until the fall, tillers they’re out for the entire year, you can’t get tillers anywhere, chainsaws, it’s just tough to get products,” Hansen said.
Hansen worries the inventory struggles could continue the rest of the year.
“The COVID year has really put manufacturers behind, some states have shut down completely, some of them shut down a little bit, it’s tough to get stuff from overseas, just a tough year all over,” he said.
It’s why Hansen is planning ahead, stocking up on some winter essentials while he can.
“To unload two snow blower semis today is kind of crazy, but it’s a good feeling at the end of the day knowing we have product in our warehouse, because it’s gonna snow, it does every year and if we don’t have product we have nothing,” he said.
Hansen says he always plans ahead for his seasonal orders.
“Grandpa always said you can’t sell off an empty shelf so I’m literally one of the first dealers in the country to get products, so I generally always get snow blowers in June,” he said.
But with his Wisconsin snow blower manufacturer already experiencing delays, Hansen says he’s amazed his full order was fulfilled.
“This year I did order far more than normal because of the way the spring has been with COVID, I’m afraid manufactures will do the same thing this fall and winter where they’ll shut down for snow production as well,” Hansen said. “So for me to get snow blowers now, I know that we have them and can trust that we have them.”
While inventory is low, Hansen says his demand is higher than usual as more people are doing projects at home. But even with the supply and demand issues, he says the manufacturers and his company have not increased prices during the pandemic.