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Stores Struggling To Fill Shelves As Deliveries Delayed By Truck Driver Shortage

WAKEFIELD (CBS) - If you have had trouble getting some of your favorite items at the local grocery store, you aren't the only one.

"I think if it goes a couple more weeks, you'll find the shelves a little bit bare," Tom Merchant, a shopper at Farmland in Wakefield, said.

"I try to give business to them. I love them. Smaller places are great. We've got to keep them going," Eileen Nemerowski, another shopper, said.

Many customers said they've noticed higher prices everywhere they do their food shopping.

"I felt it the other day when I bought toilet paper - $16!" Paul Coyne said. "Things have gone up, but I've got to deal with it, you know? You can't argue with what they want to charge. You aren't going to go to Market Basket and say, 'I don't like that price.'"

An employee at Farmland in Wakefield tries to keep the store's shelves stocked. (WBZ-TV)

As employees worked to unload and stock the shelves, a Reading-based sauce company made its delivery to Farmland. Co-founder Ben Thayer has noticed a pattern during his deliveries.

"I was actually just at an establishment in Reading, and they were just telling me that Gordon Foods and Cisco, both pretty big distributors, stopped serving them because they don't have the drivers to support it," Thayer said.

Though the Ben and Pat's Banana Pepper Sauce Company is a smaller operation, the company is feeling it, too. "For us, there's plastic; there's caps - that's where we run into issues, sourcing those things," Thayer explained.

At the Winthrop Marketplace, the staff is doing its best to make the shelves appear as full as possible.

"It's not a good situation. Today was 25 percent 'out of stocks,' meaning we can't get that product," owner Marc Wallerce explained.

The news he's getting from his wholesalers is to anticipate even more delays.

"You're going to see deliveries now that used to be three times a week, four times a week, two times a week because you just can't get the drivers," he said.

As for the already hard to get items, Wallerce said those include pies and other baked goods, breads, sugars, spices, ice cream, pet food like canned cat food and holiday items like turkeys and roasts.

The root of the issue is a shortage in truck drivers and a bottleneck at ports. Leaving containers stuck and items undelivered. President Biden has announced 24/7 operations out of ports in California. "By increasing the number of late-night hours of operation and opening up less-crowded hours when the goods can move faster, today's announcement has the potential to be a game-changer," President Biden said Wednesday.

Until normal operations resume, the plan for local markets right now is to order as much as possible as early as possible.

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