CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — National supply-chain issues are trickling down, affecting small businesses across the Coastal Bend.
At Coral Bean Cafe, on the South Side of Corpus Christi, a shortage of to-go cups is causing issue.
“We have five, six, seven suppliers we’re talking to, trying to get anything we can get, because the supplies are so low,” said Curt Flowers, the owner of Coral Bean Cafe.
Flowers said he usually was able to buy his cups every month, but now he has employees checking with distributors constantly, just for the chance to get any cups available.
“Right now, we pretty much have a person full-time calling up every supplier every other day, and just checking to see who has what, and what we can get," he said. "Different sizes, different lid sizes — right now it doesn’t matter. It’s just get whatever we can, and we’ll figure it out on the back end."
Across town, Taylor Ojeda, the owner of La Brujita Boutique, is having similar issues.
“The post has been really slow," she said. "Shipping has been a nightmare. I ship out of town for a lot of products. Getting things wholesale for all the raw materials and packaging, what normally takes maybe 4-5 days will take like 2-3 weeks. So, whenever I do order, I have to order a lot more than I normally would, just to make sure I’ll have enough to carry over.”
Ojeda said a slowdown in shipping has forced her to buy more at a time, to make sure she has the necessary materials to fill her orders.
“To have to save up more, to buy more, to last longer, is an issue in itself,” she said. “With the post being so slow, it’s really putting a halt on me being able to keep up with demand.”
These issues are causing uncertainty for small-businesses owners, just another stress brought by the pandemic.
“Now, it’s whatever we can get, sparingly, day-by-day," Flowers said. "If this company has one case, we’ll take it, we have to stock up, because no one knows when that supply is going to come back."
Flowers and Ojeda said they have not had to raise their prices, but don’t know how much longer that will last.
“I’m not going to lie," Ojeda said. "If it continues going on, I might have to [raise prices]. Ideally, I don’t want to, but in the future it might start having to look that way.”
“We’ve been holding out as long as we can, but I don’t we can hold out any more on raising our prices,” Flowers said.