Shipping delays create challenges for Hawaii businesses ahead of holiday shopping season

HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Halloween shopping season for 2021 is looking frightening for some local businesses.

“Certain items that we would expect in now is still in route, and some things that normally would be out of China months ago are still in China when we were talking to our vendors,” said Andrew Shum, Party City of Hawaii vice president of corporate operations.

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Issues with global shipping delays and mainland manufacturers being closed due to COVID have trickled down to the islands. Party City of Hawaii said it is still waiting on shipments of popular items like glow-in-the-dark masks and other accessories.

“Fog machines, I know a lot of people are asking and they’re still on a boat. So that was one of the items that was held up in China. The other things I would say that people should look out for is animatronics,” Shum said.

It is not just Halloween supply stores feeling the heat. There are only about two more months until Black Friday and the Christmas shopping rush but some businesses have stocked up on their inventory ahead of time.

Black Friday is Eden In Love’s biggest day of the year. The local boutique was told, in order to get their product in time for the holidays, they had to start ordering back in June. Now, they are preparing like never before.

“It’s the first time we ever secured a 40-foot container, so we had to source another warehouse space to receive it,” said Bryson Dang, Eden In Love co-owner. “So there’s a lot of things coming in.”

Local toy company Keiki Kaukau has also seen an influx of requests from stores trying to get ahead, but it said it is also waiting on orders that were placed as far back as April.

“We usually rely on those holiday months to kind of earn the bulk of our sales for the year,” said April Hail, Keiki Kaukau owner. “So, imagining all of this inventory sort of arriving after the holidays and being stored up in my house where everything is stored for now is a little bit stressful.”

Experts said, with limited supply and delays, be prepared to pay a little more this holiday season. Meanwhile, last-minute shoppers might not get so lucky.

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“If you see something that you like, buy it now because you can’t guarantee getting your size or the color you want or the costume or the character that you want,” said Tina Yamaki, Retail Merchants of Hawaii president. “If you wait, sometimes they might not have it anymore.”