With supply chain causing shortages, toy stores advise shopping early

Kent County

GRANDVILLE, Mich. (WOOD) — Christmas seems to have come early at the Toy Shelf, the small independent toy store in Grandville’s RiverTown Crossings mall.

“Our weekends have been like Christmas weekends, so we are very busy,” owner Shirley Moore said.

That’s good news for businesses right now, but it may translate to bad news for parents looking for gifts.

“I would suggest shop early because if I have it in stock now, I might not have it in stock later,” Moore said.

Replacement items that used to be waiting in the back storeroom are instead sitting in a shipping container thousands of miles away, with little chance of making it here by Christmas.

“A lot of it’s that. A lot of it is (that) some of the companies can’t get boxes, can’t get things to finish packaging the toys,” Moore said.

It seems Santa’s workshop is being hit with the same global supply chain issues as other industries. It’s affecting everyone from small sellers like The Toy Shelf to big boxes, like Blain’s Farm & Fleet in Walker. Blain’s seasonal Toyland usually fills several rows in the front of the store from October through December with toys. This year, with Christmas seven weeks away, many shelves are already empty.

“My advice to people is to try to figure out what you need as soon as possible because you never know when a store’s going to run out of toys,” assistant manager Kyle Collinge said.

If you see that must-have item on the shelf, you may want to snatch it up to avoid Christmas morning disappointment. And have a back-up plan when you head to the store.

“Find a general idea of what somebody wants. If you can’t get that very specific toy, we have plenty of other options that can satisfy that need,” Collinge said.

Moore was proactive this year, ordering early and often so she would have stuff in her store.

“Started ordering in July, which normally — I mean, I’m ordering all year — but normally, I don’t start really stocking up until end of October, early November,” Moore said.

Her planning still may not be enough to make sure Santa’s sleigh will be at full capacity come Christmas Eve.

“I have a couple of companies that are done taking orders for the year. A lot of stuff I have no idea if I’m getting in or not,” she said.

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