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'This Is A Year Unlike Any Other': Local Toy Stores Deal With Supply Chain Shortages

MINNEAPOLS (WCCO) --  It seems supply chain woes are causing some problems in Santa's workshop this holiday season.

Toy stores across the state told WCCO about the struggle they've had filling store shelves. Retailers say kids will want to get those wish lists to the North Pole sooner rather than later this year.

Some might think it was Christmas morning in St. Louis Park by the way Amy Saldanha tore the packages at her Kiddywampus pop-up shop open.

But when you hear how long she's been waiting for some of this stuff, it makes sense.

"The backlog at the ports, there aren't enough truck drivers, there aren't enough trucks. All the way along it's just kind of a hot mess this year," Saldanha said.

In many cases, the toy store had to give up on some orders placed in May and rely on manufacturers to find different toy trucks and dolls to keep kids happy.

"It's been a huge upheaval this season just as it has been for everyone just to make sure we have enough inventory to put on our shelves, and, of course, it has to be the right inventory, it has to be the best of the best," Saldanha said.

Ninety miles southeast of the Twin Cities, Lark Toys also started stockpiling this summer to be able to fill its 20,000-square foot space in Kellogg.

"This is a year unlike any other," Miranda Gray-Burlingame of Lark Toys said.

"We just kind of cast our net wide and knew that we would get some of it and not all of it," she added.

Both stores noticed shortages across the board.

"Some of our plush snakes have taken months to get here so we just move that display over here for a little while some puzzles have hard time coming," Gray-Burlingame said.

Both owners are grateful for loyal customers and a commitment to shop local after a tough couple of years. They hope parents this holiday season have an open mind and hurry.

"My mom reminded me of the Picasso quote that if he didn't have red he used blue. If you can't find what you need, find the next best thing," Gray-Burlingame said.

"Shop early, shop early, shop early. If you're child has a notion of what they want get it now," Saldanha urged.

Both stores told WCCO they don't expect things to get much better with the toy supply chain well into 2022.

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