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Billings area businesses stock up early for holiday season to avoid shipping delays

Posted at 7:21 PM, Nov 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-12 21:21:13-05

Shipping delays are causing product shortages for many Billings area businesses.

“We have had delays on newer products being able to come in,” said Gabriel Hink, owner of Gabriel’s Toys in Billings, on Friday.

However, local business owners have been through a pandemic for a couple of years now, and they’re ready for the holiday season.

The owner of Montana Dress Co. and Boutique, Barbara Wells, experienced shortages last year.

“I knew this was all going to happen, so we are so well-stocked at the store and also we carry a lot of Made in Montana,” said Wells.

Even though Wells is fully stocked in inventory, she’s still experiencing shipping delays.

“Usually it’s seven to nine days to get shoes, but two orders ago it was four-and-a-half weeks,” Wells said.

The owner of Zest Kitchen and Cookware in downtown Billings, Marguerite Jodry, anticipated the need for ordering inventory early.

“We have been preparing for the holiday season since January,” Jodry said.

Businesses like Zest have seen an uptick in consumers since the pandemic began.

“But the bigger issue has been that there has been increased demand for consumer goods,” said Jodry.

Recreational activities like cooking, baking, and even golfing have welcomed new hobbyists.

Bill Mitchell of Mitchell Golf in Billings can barely keep his inventory from flying off the shelves.

“We’re seeing about a 25-30 percent increase in golf participation,” said Mitchell.

To keep up with the influx of new customers, and possible shipping delays, Mitchell made sure his shelves were stocked.

“I actually have 25% more stock in the store than I had a year ago today,” said Mitchell.

Though local business owners are ready for the holiday season, they still want customers to shop early.

“I would suggest that whatever your kids are into, shop early. There’s always that big toy like the Teddy Ruxpin or the Tickle Me Elmo that’s always out of stock,” said Hink.

Even if that big toy does sell out, Hink isn’t worried about his inventory.

“As you can see, we’ve overstocked for some time on other products,” said Hink.