HORRY CO. AREA, SC (WBTW) – The pandemic has appliance manufacturers working at 50- to 60-percent capacity, causing an appliance shortage that’s affecting local appliance shops.
The owners of shops in both Horry and Georgetown counties say they’ve also seen an uptick in business from customers.
“It’s really stretching people’s patience,” said Alan Jordan, owner of Carolina Appliance and Furniture in downtown Conway.
Swift Appliance owner Nancy Swift agrees. “It’s definitely made it extremely difficult,” she said. “We have things that have been on order since May.”
Jordan says with more people staying at home and working from home, more people are wanting to improve their homes.
“We have recently gotten extremely creative,” said Swift, who’s having to venture into a different buying group.
Jordan points out manufacturers aren’t making as many appliances.
“One shift can possibly do 10,000 per shift, so only at 50% capacity, that puts you down to 5,000,” he said. “They’re stressed with availability issues as much as we are.”
Both shop owners agree, refrigeration products like chest freezers and upright freezers are being affected by the shortage the most.
“We’ve had freezers on back order since December,” said Jordan.
In fact, Carolina Appliance and Furniture is working to get more refrigerators in, but their last three in stock have already been sold.
“I feel bad for the poor, ol’ person who really has a freezer in their garage that just died and they can’t get a replacement,” said Swift.
She says if she were to order a Bosch dishwasher today, it would take 12 or more weeks for it to be delivered.
“It’s tough because you want to please your customers, but I can tell you, with having over 400 something units on back order, it’s very difficult to be able to say that we can call all of our customers to be able to give them an update,” she said.
Business is up for those who repair appliances too.
“Since the first of May until now, it’s been very busy. Nonstop,” said Ray Andrews, owner of Coastal Appliance Sales and Service.
Swift says she’s having to raise her prices because she says manufacturers are price gouging.
“I get very frustrated when they decide that, well, we’re in demand, so we might as well raise the price,” Swift said.
Both Jordan and Swift say the situation won’t improve until at least the start of next year.
“When people start to get nervous, like when you sell out of toilet paper, it has something to do with that panic,” Swift told News13.