VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – As President Biden calls for changes in the supply industry, small businesses in Hampton Roads are feeling the effects of supply chain issues.
Bob Werby, co-owner and head roaster at Fathom Coffee in Virginia Beach, said they’re doing what they can to keep producing their specialized, imported coffee.
“Whether it be cups, lids, straws, the coffee beans, you name it - it's very difficult to get,” said Werby. “Just as an example, we package in these glass jars that are behind us. Right before COVID, those were about 80 cents a piece. Today, and I mean today, we’re ordering again at $1.30.”
Werby said they buy from local stores when items are in stock, but he’s seeing some changes.
“Up until just recently, a lot of the items we’d go to pick up at Costco or the big restaurant supply place in town, but you go there, and the shelves are empty. You can’t buy it at any price. It’s been tough,” Werby added.
Peter Shaw, professor of business management and administration for Tidewater Community College at the Norfolk campus, said Americans are buying more items to be delivered to their home, and he believes the trucking industry realizes the problems aren’t going away anytime soon.
“It’s an industry again that had its problems pre-pandemic, but it’s been more compounded in this period because of the surge ordering online by you and me,” Shaw explained.
The professor pointed out a few changes the trucking industry could make to ease the supply chain issues.
“Make the salaries more attractive, look at getting younger drivers, legally,” said Shaw who talked about how drivers need to be 21. “Look at adding more women, minorities and veterans in that area, and changing up the routes so it’s not so stressful in the driving.”
Shaw says the longer the route, the more chances that something could go wrong in transit.
Meanwhile, Werby says they are buying when they see the items they need and storing the products.
“You go down to Costco, they get a load in. You buy some. You buy some cups. You buy some towels.”
Related: Some Hampton Roads stores feeling the pinch of supply chain issues