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Local businesses work to save Christmas during the supply chain crisis

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IOWA (KWWL) -- Santa’s sleigh will be missing a few gifts this year, with the supply chain crisis stunting production down to its nuts and bolts.

With the holiday season underway, many local businesses are fighting the crisis to keep their shelves full. Last year, the pandemic stopped most in-person shopping, and with vaccines this year most stores are expecting an in-store shopping boom, including the ones in your neighborhood.

Tim Woolums is the Co-Owner of the family owned Hobby Corner in Iowa City. Their store was prepared for the post-pandemic crowd. 

"We have a sign out there that says you know if you're not vaccinated wear a mask, and if we see people wearing them we usually put them on if they're nearby," he said. 

However he also says that most of their orders they already know probably won’t make it.

"Everything's that delayed from the third quarter will come in the fourth quarter, everything delayed in the fourth will come in the first," Woolums said.

 "The releases expected for Christmas will be in January or February instead," he added.

For Cedar Falls Inspire Boutique owner Kayla Stirling, finding a variety of their merchandise has gotten more complicated.

"Making sure I have some dresses, some tops, you know, jeans, that's what’s hard; making sure we have a good assortment, a variety of clothes for women," she said.

Tracy Johnson is the owner of Iowa Diecast Toys in Clermont, and has had the same issue.

"The challenges for us is getting the inventory. We've had to do some different things this year than we traditionally have done in the past, to get the huge variety of inventory we offer our customers," Johnson said.

Johnson has been trying to get creative to ensure gifts this holiday. 

"We've done a lot more traveling this year. I've been going farther out to get more out of production inventory, buying out other dealers, and collections from around the country. So that I can continue to have full shelves at Christmas time," she said.

"I like seeing a toy store full of toys and that's what I want my customers to see," she added.

Woolums hopes people will take the backorders into consideration when it comes to planning their shopping.

"I would definitely buy stuff early this year, just to be safe. Because if it's out it probably won't be back in," he said.

Johnson says she’s already seen people take advantage of early deals.

"I have definitely seen people shopping earlier for the holiday season than I have ever seen in any previous year," she said, adding that there were some stock items that she’s been waiting on for several months. 

Another obstacle hitting local stores is getting people inside and aware of their locations.

"Along with getting the shipments in, it still is getting the word out there and getting people to shop local," Stirling said.

 "It's always good to support local, that money stays in the community then, and it keeps local people employed,” Woolums added.

All the stores are just hoping to provide a great Christmas for their customers.

"I am looking forward to it just kind of being back to normal, being able to be with our friends, family, and have our customers come in and enjoy it," Stirling said. 

And they're willing to do whatever it takes to get those gifts under your tree.

"No bare shelves here! I will figure out a way to fill them!" Johnson said.