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Pandemic Supply Chain Issues Lead to Serious Delays in Furniture Industry

MENLO PARK (CBS SF) -- Business owner Brian Flegel has to caution his customers that they'll have to wait six months, eight months or even longer to get deliveries of the furniture they order today.

"It's not just getting here from overseas, it's then getting a berth to dock," said Stu Soffer, who is shopping for furniture.

The problem began with the COVID crisis two years ago, as furniture factories around the world and in the U.S. had to shut down.

But the orders kept coming in with people sheltered at home, which led to heavy backlog.

Then came the global supply chain breakdown, with ships loaded with furniture and
the raw materials used in production stalled in ports all around the world.

"This is a perfect storm," said Flegel, whose family owned fine furnishings store has done business for more than 5 decades in Menlo Park.

"We might order 50 pieces of something, but only 5 get delivered. So everything gets pushed back and you don't know where you are in the queue."

Flegel says it's effecting the whole industry from budget furniture outlets to luxury
stores like his.

"We're lucky that people want to buy furniture. The problems is, we're dealing with these hurdles that are unprecedented."

Even American made furniture relies on nuts and bolts from overseas.

It's creating a crisis for some customers who may not have a bed to sleep in, or a table to eat off for months when they move into a new place.

Stu and his wife are in the market for a new sofa, but they aren't expecting to get it soon.

"We're not in a hurry to get it, but I'm sure they're in a hurry to sell it."

In some cases, customers are turning to alternatives like re-upholstering, just to get by. Stu says he has his own backup plan.

"Is it ok to say Amazon in here? They're good at solving these problems, I'll let them deal with it."

Flegel says it comes down to honesty with the customers, and planning ahead. So if you want a new dining room set or sectional for Christmas this year, it might be best to order it now.

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