Everyone has a go-to grocery store they shop at, a place to purchase the ingredients needed to make their favorite dishes. But how many are aware of what happens behind the scenes and the challenges these grocery stores face?
Currently, inflation, food shortages and labor shortages are on the rise and are impacting grocery stores around the country. These struggles are not new to local Asian supermarket, Gmart.
Co-owner of Gmart, Jeff Gee, says, “We have to check the price of everything because lately, it’s been going up like crazy. We’re talking about 50% to 60% and it’s not just one shipment.”
Inflation is the increase in prices over a specific time period. And while it affects many businesses, it particularly puts grocery stores in a difficult position.
An employee at Gmart explains, “Grocery stores aren’t the ones that have increased the price, it’s the supply chain as a whole that has to increase the prices, and there really is no helping it.”
Not only has the supply chain issues affected the store, but also their customers, as many show their concern regarding the rise in prices.
A shopper at Gmart says, “If you buy one item, you won’t feel it. But, if you buy bulk, that’s when you feel it. It affects us, definitely.”
Since Gmart is an ethnic supermarket, most of their inventory must be imported internationally, which is not only harder to obtain, but forces them to buy and sell their products for an even higher price.
In addition to the increasing prices, supply chain issues have also caused food shortages.
Gee states, “We back order a lot of our stuff, but it’s not in yet. And a lot of times, we order for 10 or 20 and they send us two or three; there’s a shortage for everything.”
During the height of the pandemic, an economic imbalance emerged in the country regarding supply and demand, giving rise to labor shortages.
A Gmart employee adds, “Labor shortages have also affected us here. There are different positions that lack workers. Our employees can work together to adapt. The labor shortage is bound to affect us because it is happening everywhere.”
Gee expresses his concern for his business with all the obstacles at hand. Both Gee and the employee remain hopeful that these stressful times will pass soon.