Calgary-area store owner anxious about holiday shopping season amid supply chain slowdowns
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Jazon Gatela found himself at home with his kids, playing a lot of video games.
After learning that a lot of other people were doing the same thing, he decided to open Senshen, a store in New Horizon Mall dedicated to outdoor adventure products and video games – including retro ones.
"I found a passion to sell some of the stuff that people are interested in," said Gatela. "They're going back to their childhood memories."
Gatela says he has had no problem finding customers, but he has faced challenges getting products.
His store has been open for nearly two years and has been plagued by global supply chain issues from the start.
He complains many of the games and toys he is selling took months to arrive from overseas.
Last spring, he pre-sold paddle boards to customers wanting to use them in the summer. Despite it now being November, some still haven't arrived, forcing Gatela to issue refunds and deal with frustrated customers.
Heading into the busy holiday shopping season, it's only getting worse.
"The shipping itself… before, our experience was only three months," he said. "Now, they will tell you from three months to one year, and there is no guarantee that it will arrive on time. And the price is ridiculous, its super expensive."
Gatela says most of his product, especially electronics, comes from overseas and that's where the delays start.
He says wholesalers are encouraging retailers to place bigger, single orders rather than smaller ones every few months, given the delays.
However, Gatela is hoping to find more items within North American to put on his shelves while also increasing his reliance by reselling used video games, which he can simply buy from local customers.
He also hopes his customers will cut retailers some slack.
"People are getting impatient," he said. "It works out one a bad review on my website. I end up refunding money and all that stuff, and it can be a terrible experience."