As Black Friday comes and goes, Glenwood Springs businesses learn to adapt to supply chain issues
Black Friday in Glenwood Springs isn’t the window-smashing, offer-grabbing, deal-searching affair that it is in other places.
In the city’s smaller businesses, prices aren’t slashed in a mad dash to meet the bottom line. It is, however, aligned with a seasonal transition period that, a year-and-a-half into a global pandemic, has shops making changes to their operations. Sporadic supply chain issues throughout the COVID-19 era have forced retailers to consider their inventory for a longer period, even if their wares aren’t flying off the shelves in a 24-hour capitalistic jamboree.
“It kind of mitigates some of the worry, because you can only worry about one thing for so long,” Sunlight Ski and Bike Shop Retail and Rental Manager Russell Cabe said of supply chain issues. “I don’t know that it’s a challenge, because we already went through it once and maybe a little tougher. So it didn’t really hurt us too much, but it’ll change a little bit how we do business.”
It’s become a theme of ordering early and often. In Cabe’s and Sunlight’s case, supply chain shortages had the biggest impact on the biking season.
Some bikes became difficult to acquire over the summer, but Cabe said they, “were able to do, for the most part, what we wanted.” As biking moves to the offseason, it gives them time to tweak how they control their stock before demand returns.
The answer is ordering the bikes “when they’re ready, rather than trying to get them when we want them.”
Sunlight had its own single-day extravaganza sale on Oct. 30 in the form of a ski and board swap. Cabe said it was the largest single-day sale in store history as pandemic fatigue only increases and people want to return to outdoor activities.
For the winter season, Cabe said Sunlight has seen some delays, particularly in snowboard gear, but hasn’t hit the panic button.
It’s a similar story down the street at Glenwood Springs Outdoors, a business that opened around a month before the pandemic began.
Without a pre-pandemic context to refer to, it enters its second offseason also focused on making sure its shelves remain stocked next summer.
“During offseason, we have more time to think for ourselves,” Glenwood Springs Outdoors Assistant Manager Jacob Lawlis said. “It gives us time to clear our heads and think more about the business.”
Lawlis said they’ve also learned to adapt with the supply chain shortages. Glenwood Springs Outdoors’ strategy is also simply to order more ahead of time.
The store avoided some of the major supply chain issues over the summer, he added. The store had to pay the higher prices for the popular kinds of ammunition such as 9mm that were in short supply, but those rates are starting to come down.
Currently, the shop is focusing on its guided ice fishing services for the winter. From a retail standpoint, the largest concern for shortages is ice fishing rods, which Lawlis expects to last through the majority of the season and hopefully the entirety of it.
He said they’ll pay attention to what their short supply of rods does this season and adjust their offseason ordering next season, even if it means back-stocking and storing for a period of time.
Elizabeth Dean Boutique dealt with a small inventory shortage around September, manager Lindsay Olivas said, but has since emerged out of it and has its racks stocked.
“The owner had to buy, like, an entire runway of clothes that were the ones the models were wearing at one point we were having a little bit of a tiny issue,” Olivas said. “Now, our entire back stockroom is floor-to-ceiling full. We don’t even know what to do with it all.”
The boutique’s staff painted windows and put up decorations on a quiet Black Friday, but the store is in a comfortable spot between summer and winter tourism seasons. They’re ordering in advance of next summer season like other local businesses are.
After a struggle locating inventory in 2020, they changed their methods.
“We learned a lesson last year where we had no inventory to match the season,” Olivas said. “Things are definitely delayed, but it’s not an issue if you adjust to it.”
Reporter Rich Allen can be reached at 970-384-9131 or email@example.com.
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