COLUMBIA, S.C. — This holiday season comes with many challenges for businesses and customers alike, from hiring issues to supply shortages and even price hikes amid the pandemic.
At Brittons of Columbia, a clothing store, holiday shoppers were getting a head start on Thursday.
Red boxes with hand-wrapped bows sat spread across a counter inside.
"Currently wrapping a lady’s 14 packages of Christmas" owner Stacy Levinson said.
Like many businesses, they too have been impacted by the virus.
"Well, name it. The shipping, the deliveries," Levinson said. "The stock when we go to special order something isn’t necessarily available because our vendors have cut down on their supplies.”
Seasonal hiring is another hurdle businesses have to face, according to Erica Von Nessen with the State Department of Employment and Workforce (SCDEW).
"Definitely retail is going to experience the biggest pain points," Von Nessen said. "So, there’s some supply chain issues; we’ve got a lot of merchandise sitting on ships. Amazon is looking for workers. UPS is looking for workers. The Postal Service is looking for workers.”
Adding to the challenge, the U.S. Postal Service announced changes starting Oct. 1, increasing wait times of some packages by a few days.
Then, on Oct. 3, prices will rise to ship some domestic products through the holidays. Both, in an effort to curb the service's growing debt.
So, when will the pandemic-related challenges end?
Until the answer becomes more clear, customers are suggested to do their holiday shopping sooner, while businesses do what they can to adjust.
"We are going to pull up our bootstraps and we’re to have parties and we’re going to celebrate the life and the spirit of Christmas," Levinson said.