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Furniture, appliance shortage impacting East Texas retailers

Many customers are experiencing longer than normal wait times for orders on furniture and appliances due to the pandemic.

TYLER, Texas — With so many of us at home more than usual, it's easy to start thinking about buying some new furniture or replacing some of your older appliances, but if you're hoping to get a new couch in the next few months, think again. 

"You had factories being closed down for a large amount of time," Brian Adams, Operations Manager at Adams Furniture and Appliances, said. "Factories started open back up, but they have to be spaced out for social distancing. So they're working at a 50% workforce. And then all of a sudden, you had the demand just go through the roof. I mean, consumers got out. They were getting a stimulus money. They were getting extra unemployment money. So they had disposable income. And everybody went out and bought furniture. So that just put a huge kink. And so yes, right now, it is a struggle."

Adams speaks with manufacturers weekly. He says the wait time on many items has drastically increased due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

"There's certain companies that usually we can order from them in two to three weeks and have the customers product on a special order and most of those companies right now are 12 to 14 weeks," Adams said.

It isn't just furniture that's on back order right now. Adams says people rushing to the grocery stores at the beginning of the pandemic caused other shortages as well. 

"A lot of people were going to the grocery store so freezers disappeared," Adams said. "Matter of fact, we still can't hardly get any freezers. We've hit a wall just on your basic washer and dryer, I mean, I was just on a call the other day if I place an order right now for that, it's January."

Adams says he tries to be upfront with customers about what's going on and how long it takes for items to get in. 

"We'll have a customer come in the store right now and we'll tell them, they'll pick out a sofa and loveseat like, OK, if you ordered this right now we can have it in about let's say it's 10 weeks," Adams said. "And they're like, OK, well, we'll think about it. I'm like, just remember, we're quoting you 10 weeks if you order right now, if you wait another week, it might be 14 weeks because there's companies all over the country placing orders daily, and it's just backing up."

While some manufacturers believe supply will be back to normal in January or February, Adams says it could be much longer than that.

"I think we've reached the point where most consumers now are understanding because obviously it's not just the furniture business," Adams said. "It's not just the appliance business. It's all over the map right now."

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