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'Don't panic buy': Supply chain issues trickle into Alberta after devastating floods in B.C.


Alberta businesses are feeling the pinch of supply chain issues following catastrophic flooding in British Columbia.

Monita Chapman, the owner of Simply Supper, said she’s been in the food industry for 15 years and the amount of items she can’t get her hands on right now is “overwhelming.”

“Every once in a while you get told, ‘Oh, we don’t have that but we’re going to have it Friday,’” she explained.

“Now we’re being told, ‘We don’t have this, we’re not going to have it until January,’ or, ‘We don’t have this we’re not going to have it until May.’”

As a business owner, she said the biggest challenge right now is setting prices and assessing inventory costs.

“Yesterday I spent eight hours hunting for 11 items I was shorted on, on an order. So that raises your costs as well,” she told CTV News Edmonton.

“It’s like you’re taking a double hit on cost increases because you’re not able to buy it in the quantities, or the packaging, or at the price point we’re usually able to buy it at.”

Chapman said she feels for the suppliers during this crunch as well since they’re not able to make sales or meet demand either.

“I work with about four or five different suppliers and that emoji where they go like this [arms up], that’s the emoji we see in our text chains all the time cause they’re like, ‘I don’t even know what to say to you Monita.’”

“It’s not even about them calling in a favour to somebody at this point, it’s just not there,” she added.


Stephen Bezan, the purchasing manager at Sherbrooke Liquor, echoed a similar sentiment.

He told CTV News specialty packaging had been ordered from B.C. for their advent calendars and they had to delay the release as the product hadn't arrived yet.

“We found out it’s on a truck right now. It got put on a truck yesterday and it’s working its way down the highway,” he explained.

“We have a backup plan just in case.”

On top of that, Bezan said there could also be some shortages of seasonal favourites that may not make it to Alberta shelves for Christmas.

“The emails are coming in now from the importers and breweries letting us know that there is going to be shortages on certain things.”

The biggest piece of advice Chapman has to offer to customers right now is “be patient” and have a plan.

“Don’t panic buy, don’t rush the stores, that’s hard on us as well,” she said.

“Just know that we will get you your product. But, If we call and say we can’t get it to you just understand that it’s out of our control at this point.”

CTV News reached out to Sobeys for comment on the food shortages in the province and received a statement.

“First and foremost, our thoughts are with all those affected by the evolving situation in BC. Our store and distribution centre teammates have been working around the clock to support our stores and we won’t let our foot off the gas,” the statement read.

The company noted it is working closely with supplier partners to increase supply and support “demand pressure” from the B.C. region.

“We do continue to encourage our customers to maintain regular shopping habits, as this will help with the continued availability of essential goods for everyone,” the email stated. “The biggest challenges right now is congestion on the major highways which have been reopened to transport goods.”

With files from CTV News Edmonton’s Carlyle Fiset Top Stories

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