Just before Christmas, Minnesota toy stores grapple with supply chain issues

“Sure, like shipping and all that takes a lot longer,” notes Melissa Larson of Chanhassen. “This year, going to a mall was again like a whole new experience.”

Larson, visiting Saldanha’s Kiddywampus store in Chanhassen, says last year she did all of her vacation shopping online.

This year, she and her husband Brandon took their 3-year-old twins Jack and Henrick for in-person shopping.

“We’re letting the boys pick out some of their new toys for Christmas,” he explained. “This is their first attempt at it.”

Just Before Christmas, Minnesota Toy Stores Struggle With Supply Chain Problems | KSTP-TV

“I think we’ve tried spending more money in town this year and supporting local stores and so on, to try to make sure we have access to them,” Larson adds.

Nationwide, vacation shoppers are expected to spend nearly $ 998 million on vacation shopping this season, according to the National Retail Federation – and that 148 million shoppers search online and in-store this past Saturday before Christmas.

For retailers like Saldanha, it all adds up to a perfect shopping storm.

“I’ve heard so many stories from customers coming in and telling me that I ordered it online and it’s now written March, February or January,” she says. “So people want to get their hands on it. “

Saldanha says she sees more customers in her two physical stores and in one pop-up store.

But delivery delays mean vacation shoppers like Lisa Quale and her kids are toy sleuths too.

“I ordered a few items online, but I also struggled with a lot of things,” she says. “It is very difficult to find specific items, so you have to search in multiple places rather than just one place.”

Saldanha claims 95% of its inventory comes from China, although shipping costs have increased by 500%.

She says more and more toy makers are trying air freight – and about 5% of the toys she sells arrive by air.

“I was hoping that in January things would catch up. This is absolutely not the case, ”notes Saldanha. “What I hear from most manufacturers is that it’s going to take at least six more months to catch up.”

She says finding a specific toy right now might be a challenge, but there are choices.

“This is the year of people with a little flexibility, right? If you want to introduce your child to a new toy, if you are flexible about what you are looking for, we have tons of options, ”says Saldanha. “If you are really attached to a particular toy, this is a tough year for you because some things are really hard to find.”