TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) - People who ordered furniture recently could have to wait months for it to be delivered.
One local furniture store owner told WTVA that furniture stores are having some of the best business they’ve ever had, but delivery times are also the longest they’ve ever been.
“Furniture became like toilet paper was at the beginning of the pandemic,” Lisa Hawkins said.
Hawkins is president and owner of Room To Room Furniture in Tupelo. She closed the store when the pandemic began in March and reopened in May. She said it was then when the store had the highest sales it’s had in its 18 years.
“Initially we were able to meet demand, but it soon became apparent that the industry was not going to be able to keep up,” Hawkins said.
Hawkins said there are still delays today (January 26). Furniture makers are behind.
“They have some six-months backlogs for making furniture.”
Hawkins explained they couldn’t keep up for several reasons.
“Labor problems, labor shortages, they experienced ordering like they have never seen in their history,” she said.
In addition to labor problems, factories that make furniture products and materials laid off many workers during the pandemic. This is continuing to hurt production, which in-turn is hurting the supply of furniture retailers and the vendors they buy the furniture from.
“Vendors locally that I was used to picking up whatever I needed, now, they’re out until July.”
Hawkins explained orders for new furniture are coming in so rapidly that it's all but impossible to project when merchandise will arrive.
“We do our best to tell what we know, but I’m just telling you, the nation is in a furniture-buying frenzy.”
Hawkins and some manufacturing workers mentioned recent hurricanes impacted factories on the Gulf Coast.
Those factories produced a chemical needed to make the foam in couch cushions.
Hawkins said that that foam is one of the hardest things to come by right now.