'They are tied up on a boat waiting to be unloaded': Faux trees in short supply across Southern Ontario as west coast weather wreaks havoc
Those looking for an artificial Christmas tree this holiday season may have a tough time finding one.
At Swanson’s Home Hardware in Kitchener, manager Andrew Williams admits this year's Christmas tree display is thin.
"Almost like a Charlie Brown [Christmas]," he laughed.
Right now, he only has a handful of boxed tree's and three floor models left.
"It's very minimal. Normally that display is three times the size," Williams said.
Thanks to supply chain issues, artificial Christmas trees, decorations, lights and other holiday décor are in low supply this year.
The root of the problem is the supply chain — specifically from the west coast.
Last month, cargo ship MV Zim Kingston lost more than 100 containers off the shore of Vancouver, some sunk in the ocean, others washed up on shore.
Authorities have confirmed the contents in the containers identified as being lost, include Christmas decorations, along with industrial and car parts, sofas, poker tables, clothing, toys, and other everyday items.
"They have yet to identity whose but they do know that one of our containers was one that was lost," Williams said.
When it comes to consumer needs, that one container is the least of their worries. The backlog is now what’s causing the issue.
"Home Hardware has over 200 containers that are stuck in transit, either on the wharf or in the ships out at sea waiting to be off- loaded," Williams said in reference to the nationwide chain.
Other stores across Southern Ontario are feeling the pinch too, including Grobe’s Nursery in Breslau.
"It’s not being made up," said Perry Grobe, owner of the nursery. "There is definitely problems and shortages there."
And Grobe says it’s not just smaller shops like his that are feeling the pinch.
"There’s certainly larger companies than us that are having similar issues," said Grobe. "We’re just blessed that it’s only a small portion of what we offer at Christmas time."
Grobe says he has plenty of real trees and decor items but faux trees and garland are in short supply for him.
"They are tied up on a boat waiting to be unloaded," he said.
Because of reduced inventory some of his floor models have being decorated with “sold” signs.
"The only thing we’ve asked the folks that are coming to buy our floor models is we are not likely going to release it to them until later in December, largely so that our store can look like a Christmas shop," said Grobe.
Williams is also selling floor models and, with just a handful of faux trees left, he's not expecting Santa to replenish stock any time soon.
"We don’t expect them by Christmas," Williams said.
With issues continuing on the west coast, delivery dates are unknown. Some retailers are expecting they won’t see their late Christmas stock arrive until the at least the spring. Once offloaded from shipping containers, major highways in British Columbia in need of repair are expected reasons for longer delays.
Retailers suggest that if you are looking for particular items you should grab them as soon as possible before they potentially run out.