Area furniture shops adapt during pandemic

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Area furniture shops have had to adapt throughout the pandemic to the greater demand for new furniture.

The increased demand has sometimes meant longer wait times for customers. 

“It is taking a long time to order furniture so our customers are very patient and they understand that it’s not going to be a short period of time waiting for furniture anymore,” said Pamela DePaolo, one of the owners of DePaolo Furniture in Southington. “So we try to get things in as quickly as we can.”

DePaolo said the wait times are different for each manufacturer, but can be as long as five months or more. 

“There’s a global shortage of foams and fibers and fabric,” DePaolo said. “Then you have your supply chain. The trucking companies are having trouble finding full time drivers so that’s a major problem. Some of the containers that are coming off shore, the cost has gone way up and the demand is very high.” 

According to the Associated Press, the supply shortage for outdoor furniture, in particular, is expected to end in 2022 or 2023. The industry also cannot maintain and find workers, materials and trucker due to crowded ports, the economy, the snowstorm in Texas and an explosion at a powerplant in Ohio. 

DePaolo said people are ordering more furniture because they have spent more time at home during the pandemic.  

“Many people are going to continue to stay at home to work so what they are doing is looking at their homes and they realize that they do need to replace sofas, chairs, recliners, mattresses and those are all things that we feature,” DePaolo said. 

Matt Lagana, owner of Liberty Lagana Furniture in Meriden, said fortunately he continued to order stock at the start of the pandemic.  

“I just built and built my stock so I haven’t had too much of an issue with the supply chain, fortunately,” Lagana said. “... There’s still challenges out there. If somebody wants to order something, there is going to be a wait time but I have a lot of stock that I can deliver next day and same day so that’s given us an advantage over a lot of the other stores.” 

Lagana said it is important that customers know early on that there will be a wait period.

“It’s just being honest with your customers,” Lagana said. “If somebody comes in and they want to order something that’s on back order for three months, you’ve got to tell them that instead of saying, ‘No, no, no. We’ll get it here in two weeks.’”

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