First toilet paper shortages, now what?

Having a domino effect on industries in the U.S., COVID-19 has been responsible for a series of shortages throughout the 50 states. Ranging from bicycles to ketchup packets, shortages have impaired the economy throughout 2021.


***Trying to Ketchup…**Utilizing the limited condiment, junior Cole Pifer puts ketchup on a lunch item from the high school cafeteria. Ketchup packets have faced a large shortage due to the supply and demand for them over quarantine.* *Photo by Dekai Averett*

Because of the global pandemic, businesses were first forced to shut down. Without closure as to when they would open back up, they adapted by changing policies, who they catered to and even what their business centered around.
“I got into biking around quarantine last year and I was really lucky to get a bike in time before the shutdown,” junior Preston Zeigenfuss said.
At the start of the quarantine there were many uncertainties and businesses were at no short hand of feeling that way.
“It closed us down March 23 last year with no end in sight. We were forced to close our store of 10 years,” Harleysville Computer said. “For that time we did computer sales and repair but the economic environment caused us to adapt or die.”
As COVID-19 struck homes and families, forcing them into their houses, it became a time where many people wanted to make renovations.”Our market essentially blew up due to increased demand,” construction business owner Tom Gavin said.
Due to the increased demand, there were more necessities for lumber, and other construction materials.
Now after many distributions of the COVID-19 vaccine, businesses are facing a different problem. Shortages. Consisting of construction supplies, computer parts, bikes and even ketchup packets, shortages have been affecting the economy severely, due to the industry disruption caused by COVID-19.
“Sales are pretty much off the table,” Scooter Bike Shop owner. There are currently 34 bikes in the shop when normally the bike shop is expected to have around 400. This means that the bike shop may have to resort to taking different routes in sourcing their income.
There is also a lack of diversity in the bikes that are currently in store due to the limited manufacturing being distributed to the biking industry.
“Most of the bikes that we have in stock are kids bikes, not mountain bikes or road bikes,” Scooter said. Many of the shortages can be traced back to the initial shutdown of many manufacturing plants and factories.
Because COVID shut down many of these places it became very difficult for production to get back to normal, and it is still nowhere close. “We ordered about 450 bikes last May, and we have seen about 40 of them come through,” Scooter said.
It is also likely that the production will not be back to normal for a couple of years. “It’s going to be another three years or so before we have any inventory to speak of,” Scooter said.
It is unlikely that the industry will be healthy again until production is able to be up and running again as it was before. It’s a “brutal” process due to the fact that ordered bikes are still not being distributed.