While the problem has affected his business, he said it could be worse. He started buying holiday inventory in May, which is early for the toy store. In the past, he’s ordered holiday supply in early October.
His business is doing well, and last Friday, Building Blocks Toy Store had its largest inventory in more than two years. Cimino said that because he started buying his Christmas inventory early, people are able to shop earlier.
“Last Saturday [felt] more like the first Saturday in December than the first Saturday in November. My October numbers were comparable to November numbers,” Cimino shared.
Cimino has seen people shopping for toys earlier this year than in years past.
Paul Cimino, owner of Building Blocks Toy Store, said he saw supply chain problems start around this time last year, but he didn’t expect the problem to be as bad as it is now.
“[I] pretty much threw caution to the wind and started over-buying, knowing that I’d get some percentage of those orders,” Cimino said. “So far, it’s worked out. It’s coming in right on time.”
He said as supply chain costs have skyrocketed over the last year, he has still had to raise toy prices.
Cimino said shipping containers from China to Houston last year cost between $10,000 to 12,000, and now cost between $50,000 to 60,000.
“Once we get those containers to an American port, we’ve got another 30 to 50%, maybe even more in fuel costs — getting it from the port to the distribution point,” he explained. Cimino said even the supply chain for American-made products has slowed down, possibly due to higher demand and labor shortages.
“Breyer Horses are a good example. They’re one of our key vendors and being based in New Jersey, they have not performed anywhere near as well as what we’ve expected in years past,” the toy store owner told KLBK News. Cimino said people are “just doing what they can” to survive.
“It’s making me work a lot harder and take more chances in an economy where taking chances can prove deadly,” he added, “but keep swinging.” Cimino said it’s a matter of putting one foot in front of the other each day, and being adaptable to change.