Arlington business presses through supply chain backup

Published: Oct. 24, 2021 at 9:45 PM CDT
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ARLINGTON, Tenn. (WMC) - Whether it’s the ports, the tarmacs or the railyards, the supply chain backup we’re seeing has become your average topic of conversation.

Now, it’s beginning to impact local Mid-South businesses, who say it’s the basic items that are becoming the hardest to find, at least that’s what Lana Hickey tells us is happening at her business, Crave Coffee Bar and Bistro.

“We do wedding cakes next door, and we have to have support dowels. They’re plastic, and we can’t get those,” Hickey said. “You can’t just tell a bride ‘I can’t do your wedding because I can’t get support dowels,’ so we have to improvise.”

This past weekend, Hickey improvised by using heavy duty smoothie straws to support her wedding cakes.

While it worked, it’s not something Hickey wants to be a part of her routine.

On top of that, to-go boxes, plastic cups and straws are becoming hard to come by.

“It gets a little bit scary for us,” Hickey said. “We start thinking of the ‘what ifs.’ What if we can’t get product? What if we can’t complete these orders, catering, cakes? What happens to employees? Then, what happens to my family?”

“If you encounter a problem at any point in the chain, it breaks down,” said Ernie Nichols.

Nichols is a supply chain management professional at the University of Memphis, saying the multifaceted problems seen throughout the supply chain don’t bode well for quick solutions.

He said it could change the way companies do business in the future.

“A lot of these companies have been using overseas suppliers,” Nichols said. “Would you like to have a supplier at least in the Americas, if not domestically? Well, you may see some of these things happening in the near future.”

Meanwhile, Hickey took to Facebook, letting their customers know beforehand the the 5-year-old business will be making some changes.

To our Crave guests : please be patient with us during these times. Over the next few weeks or maybe even months you...

Posted by Crave Coffee Bar and Bistro on Tuesday, October 19, 2021

The positive feedback is giving her and her team, which is currently understaffed, the confidence to push through.

“We love being here,” Hickey said. “If we have to get creative, we have to get creative. If you can’t get it to-go, then maybe that’ll encourage you to eat it in. We’re willing to stick it out.”

Nichols said with the way things are going, this issue could continue well into 2022, perhaps even 2023, but as we already know it’s something Hickey is willing to stick out until her business reaches the other side.

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