Local entrepreneurs encourage shopping now, especially with supply chain issues

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Local entrepreneurs encourage shopping now, especially with supply chain challenges

Chicago area entrepreneurs are gearing up for the holidays, but global and domestic supply chain issues are also having an impact here at home, prompting them to issue this warning: Shop local, and shop now!

In Albany Park, Amber Favorite is one example. She's operating her 1913 Platen antique press, stamping away cards, stationary, and other printable items.

The Chicago entrepreneur and her team are bracing for the holidays. At her small store, A Favorite Design on the 4400-block of North Kedzie, the shelves are packed with cards, at least for the moment.

Favorite has struggled to track down a specific type of paper she uses on the press, so she wants customers to know that planning ahead is key.

"The sooner you place your orders, the sooner you shop with us, I think the easier it will be for all of us. Don't wait until the last minute," she said. "If you see something you want, please, please, please order it now. There's no guarantee we will have it throughout the whole season."

Favorite said her paper supplier in Michigan is running low, forcing her to temporarily hunt for paper elsewhere.

In fact, 45% of businesses are having domestic supplier delays, according to the latest U.S. Census Small Business Pulse Survey. Back in January, the same survey reported only 26% of businesses were having problems.

"It's going to be a challenge this year," Favorite said.

The Pulse Survey also showed nearly 25% of business are looking for new supply chain options, and that's up from 14% six months ago. Favorite is one of those businesses.

"Now we're having to develop new relationships with new suppliers. Not getting the same trade discounts, which is cutting into our margins," Favorite said.

In Oak Park, Lita Selmon owns Einnim, a candle bar and apothecary. Her shelves are full now, but she's concerned she will soon run out of 4-ounce jars, which are critical for some of her top selling items.

"I can't find them anywhere right now. So I am feverishly just clicking on refresh, refresh, refresh, waiting for one of my vendors where I normally get them from," Selmon said.

Even though local business feel a pinch, local is the way to go, said Kristan Vermeulen, podcast host of Makers of the USA.

She noted several Chicago artist and makers, including bead bracelets made by Stacking It Up, on Oak Park company run by a mother who used her creativity to focus on a quarantine hobby.

"It's supporting that local mom and pop business, and turning into something bigger. I think there's going to be a huge shift in how people approach business," Vermeulen said.

Whether that business is on North Kedzie or a nearby suburb, there are local options - but hurry!

"Keep shopping local, keep investing in your neighborhoods," Favorite said.

Selmon said she's willing to make sure customers are happy, regardless of any shortages her business may face.

"This is my baby," she said of her business, "and I will do whatever I can to make sure my customers gets exactly what they are looking for."
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