New furniture is harder to find this summer amid backlog

Grand Strand

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — New furniture is harder to get your hands on this summer than in years past.

Increased demand with lagging supply has created a backlog in new furniture deliveries.

Cam Stephan, general manager at Palm Casual Patio Furniture, said the current shortage of raw materials has never been this bad.

“It’s something that in 42 years as a family owned and operated company we haven’t run into these issues before,” Stephan said.

Palm Casual manufactures its own supply. Stephan said aluminum, resin, acrylics and dyes are all hard to get right now.

“We have a little bit more control than most companies [because] we make our own stuff, but it’s still a challenge overall just getting raw materials,” Stephan said.

He said it’s not just his store that is facing a backlog of new furniture. The problem is nationwide.

“Everybody is in the same boat right now,” Stephan said. “I don’t think there is any shame in it. We’re trying our best to get through it.”

Kimberly Grigg, owner of Knotting Hill Interior and Kimberly Grigg Designs, has been an interior designer for more than two decades. She said that a typical 20 to 25 hour job now takes triple the amount of time.

“I have never experienced anything like this,” Grigg said. “What used to be so simple, easy and creative is now mathematical and engineering because we’re just doing anything we can to get our hands on merchandise.”

Grigg said she and her team spend hours tracking merchandise and finding alternatives for customers on a tight deadline. Some of the merchandise is currently in a warehouse in North Carolina with no estimates as to when it might arrive.

Grigg said the backlog of new furniture was brought on by the pandemic and exacerbated by a shortage in petroleum for even small things like cushions and a lack of workers. At the onset of the pandemic, Grigg said she invested in furniture she could have on hand, predicting a shortage like this.

“Well, we were told things would get better in July,” Grigg said. “So far that has not happened, and if anything, I think it’s a little worse.”

While supply is still behind demand, both Grigg and Stephan think things should level out by the end of 2021.

“We have a lot of these products coming in,” Stephan said. “It’s something that I think by the end of the year we’ll be able to turn the page and go to next year and be very, very successful.”

For now, as people shop for furniture and have trouble finding what they want, Stephan and Grigg both ask for people’s patience.

“We really need patience with orders,” Stephan said. “We joke with people ‘Don’t buy a plane ticket based on the date that we give you’ because [delivery] might be before or it might be after.”

Grigg compared some of the long wait times she has seen for new furniture to pregnancy.

“We’re looking at anywhere from 3 to, I’ve even been quoted, 9 months recently on a sofa, so it’s kind of like birthing a baby,” Grigg said.

With lead times for new furniture dependent on several factors, Stephan and Grigg say things are out of their control. They both stressed the importance of being honest and up front with customers.

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