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Pandemic fueling office furniture shortage far and wide

Posted at 4:57 PM, Aug 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-11 10:53:19-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — First, it was toilet paper, now it’s office furniture.

The pandemic has created another shortage in the things we buy. Consumers are having a hard time finding desks and chairs as many continue working from home or going to school virtually.

If you’re looking for office furniture…

“I’ve probably been to eight places and even checking online and there’s no product anywhere.”

It may be tough trying to find what you want these days. For Elaine, who lives in Las Vegas, she has been searching far and wide at each store to bolster her home office.

“Wherever you go, they just don’t have any of the product. It’s just a very difficult couple months trying to find some of it,” she said.

Retailers are just as frustrated.

“It’s nearly impossible. The supply chain line is completely empty,” said Cathy Daniell, a senior buyer for Walker Furniture.

She says the shortage of office furniture extends to all other furniture due to the lack of raw materials from vendors.

“All these raw materials are going to so many other places, whether it’s the medical industry. It doesn’t matter. They cannot get the raw materials to make products,” Daniell said.

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The materials are instead being used to make supplies like personal protective equipment for hospitals. This has resulted in a severe slowdown in ordering new stock.

“It doesn’t matter what vendor you try to contact, if you buy something new, you’re anywhere from six to 14 weeks away from delivery," she said.

Daniell says in mid-March when Gov. Steve Sisolak shut down businesses, her store sold out of home office stock in less than 30 days.

“Every customer that comes in every day asks the same question. There are customers that have purchased in May right after the store reopened, that we have not been able to fill their orders yet,” she said.

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She’s hopeful by the holiday season in November and December, the supply chain may stabilize so she can fill more orders, all the while searching for new sources to replenish stock.

“We’re going back to vendors maybe we haven’t dealt with before to try to come up with a new idea, to try to fulfill a customer’s hopes,” Daniell said.

For now, it remains a waiting game for Elaine.

“I’m hoping things change soon, but I don’t know,” she said.