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Shipping crisis has Sacramento businesses struggling to keep their shelves stocked

From grocery stores to toy shops, businesses owners are faced with challenges keeping their shelves stocked

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The shipping crisis could have a big impact on your next shopping trip. A massive backlog of cargo ships is waiting at sea to unload their cargo while shipping containers stack up at ports across the nation.

Ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach, California, account for 40% of all shipping containers entering the United States. As of Monday, there were 62 ships berthed at the two ports and 81 waiting to dock and unload, according to the Marine Exchange of Southern California.

Locally, both small and big businesses fear the situation will get worse during the busy holiday shopping season. 

Sam’s Market on O Street in Sacramento is the spot for anyone in town looking to get their groceries, but recently, Craig Hollis, a regular customer at the shop, says he's seen a change.

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“It’s noticeable on the shelves. On the shelves where there used to be goods, it’s empty space,“ Hollis said.

Bare shelves are the reality, and according to owner Kenton Fong, it will be that way for a while. He said when he puts in an order to replenish items, there is a month delay until getting the product.  

“Right now, we are having a hard time with drinks, water, soda canned drinks. Can’t get anything,” Fong said. 

Empty shelves translates to low foot traffic.

“No income coming in, so I have to cut back on everything... I have to cut hours down. There’s no business because we don’t have anything to sell,” Fong said.   

In Granite Bay, at Whitt and Whimsy Toy, store owner Megan Wyatt said she is feeling the impact of the supply chain shortage as well.   

“I started ordering as early as July in some of my orders, and I’m getting a variety of products, hitting different demographics, the baby toys, games, stuffed animals, (and) a lot of different stuff so I have a diverse product,” Wyatt said.

Wyatt said she has stocked up enough to guarantee that there will still be toys on her shelves all the way through Christmas Eve, but she does have one tip for shoppers . 

“If you’re looking for a specific item or if you’re out and about and you say, 'Oh, I want to get that for so and so for Christmas,' get it when you see it because that specific item may not be here,” Wyatt said. 

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