Small businesses suffering due to supply chain crisis
10/28/2021 // Arsenio Toledo // Views

The supply chain crisis that is preventing America's economy from fully recovering is forcing many of the country's small businesses to change how they operate, sometimes for the worse. This is according to the most recent survey conducted by the federal government known as the "U.S. Census Small Business Pulse Survey."

Due to the heavy congestion at America's ports, many small businesses are forced to operate despite delays in important items. (Related: Massive congestion in Chinese ports indicate global supply chain disruptions will continue.)

According to the survey, 45 percent of small businesses said they are experiencing delays with their domestic suppliers. This number is up from 26.7 percent who reported experiencing similar delays in a similar survey held near the beginning of President Joe Biden's tenure at the start of 2021.

Delays make it difficult for business owners to continue operating

Rene Kirby, owner of a cafe in Baltimore, is unable to operate the business properly due to a severe lack of essential products on the store's shelves.

"We just can't serve the same size beverages, or sometimes any beverages, because they don't have the cups we need in stock," said Kirby. The business owner added that purchasing essential items needed to run the business from other suppliers increases the price. This forces the cafe to raise how much it charges customers, making it difficult for the store's patrons to remain loyal to the business.

Pete Marcus, owner of a toy and hobby store in Groton, Connecticut, said he has done "pretty well" during the supply chain crisis. He has done his best to keep his store stocked with the most popular toys and products.


But he has noticed that his store's remaining stock of these popular items is becoming very limited. He has advised his customers to shop now if they are looking for these popular items.

"When you get into specifics, that's when you're going to be in trouble," he said.

Jeremy Plemons, owner of a food truck in southern Maryland, said he was surprised to learn that the same businesses he had gone to for the past six years to restock his business are running out of essential items that used to be plentiful. He is finding it difficult to keep his food truck stocked with essential, single-use items.

"It would be one thing if I couldn't find fries, we can change that," he said. "But when we got nothing to put it in, it's heartbreaking and stressful."

The business owner said he has the same thought every time he tries to purchase items for his business: "What am I not going to be able to find today?"

Plemons has turned to his local community of restaurateurs and other small business owners to find short-term solutions for the problems he is experiencing, but he understands that he can't rely on them forever.

"We have been supporting each other a lot. If anyone needs anything, they know to call me, and I can always call them," said Plemons. He is currently in talks with a fellow small business owner to purchase a shipping container and to fill it up with single-use items and other essential goods.

Kandace Loge, the owner of a four-employee business in Ohio, said she has been upfront with her customers regarding the shortages. She has been dealing with supply shortages since May, and it has forced her to change her supplier. But this has resulted in her having to adjust her budget and how much she charges customers for her products.

"You have to be very honest with your customer," said Loge. "When they know that you are honest, they are usually very nice about it."

Michelle Smith, a cafe owner in North Carolina, is wondering what Biden is going to do to fix the situation.

"What is he going to do to save small businesses across America?" she wrote in her opinion piece for Newsweek. "This supply chain crisis is changing life as we know it. Many of us will disappear and not come back."

"We have lost many small businesses in our community and many of these people are our friends," continued Smith. "We have a loyal customer base, and we hope to maintain our standards, but the cost of doing business is becoming more difficult as the days pass."

"The nation needs to return to normal sooner rather than later," she concluded. "Pray for us small businesses."

Learn more about the ongoing supply chain crisis and how it is affecting small businesses in America by reading the latest articles at

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