Local grocers, butchers encourage holiday shopping early

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — As the holidays approach, local grocery store owners and butcher shops are encouraging people to start getting their holiday ingredients soon.

At Louise Earl Butcher shop on Wealthy Street in Grand Rapids, the mad dash for holiday dinner is already underway.

“It’s chaos,” owner Matt Smith said, “but this is one of the times of the year that we live for.”

Smith’s butcher shop has been open for nearly six years and specializes in fresh, locally produced meats. He says he has already started taking holiday orders for turkey, duck, chicken and more.

As many families prepare to celebrate the holidays together again, business owners say getting the typical dinner ingredients might be a little more difficult this year.

“I think people are just going to have to exercise a little patience because things are probably not going to move quite as quickly,” said Smith.

Smith said the labor shortage will likely mean longer lines inside businesses and when customers check out, things will cost a bit more due to the recent swift inflation.

“Our chicken farmer and hog farmer, they feed the animals grain, and so the grain prices have gone up. So we certainly have seen pricing pressures because of the input to that product,” Smith said.

The staff at Ken’s Fruit Market in Alger Heights say the cost to produce goods has increased for them, too, and keeping certain items in stock has been challenging.

“Labor is the biggest factor that goes into what we do, so if that becomes troubling then it really throws off the whole process,” store owner Alex Courts said. “There’s shortages on everything that goes into it from the packaging to the actual product that goes into the package that we see, but a lot of that comes from the labor shortage.”

Courts said the store is fully stocked right now, but the usual items people serve for the holidays will probably go quickly. His advice is to start shopping early and shop locally.

“Prepare early. Get your stuff ahead of time if you can. If you see things you need, get it now. That’s No. 1, and No. 2 is if you can’t find something at your normal store, try to venture out,” Courts said.

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