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Slow supply: Why Calgarians may want to do their Christmas shopping early

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CALGARY -

The pieces are all coming together at StumpCraft Jigsaw Puzzles.

The Calgary game maker has seen business double year-over-year for the past five years.

"Things are kind of skyrocketing for us," said founder Jasen Robillard. "We are getting ready for our winter craft markets now and that's a big surge we usually see."

This year, the company is expecting an even bigger surge – because everything it needs to make, package and ship its puzzles can be found within Canada.

Most businesses can't say the same right now as supply chain issues around the world are delaying the transportation of goods across the globe.

Stumpcraft saw that coming.

"We started having issues with our supply chain back in March," said Robillard. "We were having problems getting our boxes from China (so) we pivoted, and sourced more local wooden boxes in Ontario so we've located our production entirely here in Canada and that helps a great deal."

The pandemic shuttered factories around the world so, for a long time, a lot of products simply weren't being made.

It also put a lot of people out of work, leaving companies to recruit and retrain labour as they got back into business.

Also demand is higher than perhaps ever before. It's estimated that the average Canadian saved 10 times as much money during the pandemic than they normally would over the same length of time.

Now they're ready to spend it.

"The message is simple," said Marty Weintraub with Deloitte Canada. "If you want something, buy it now because it may not be there tomorrow."

As backlogs and bottlenecks keep products an the material needed to make them from getting into the country, many people suggest following StumpCraft's example and sourcing everything locally – but experts say that's easier said than done.

"We can't underestimate how much time it takes for organization to pivot on something that seems very simple," Weintraub said. "I’ll buy from here instead of buy from there – it's more complicated than that."

Meanwhile, StumpCraft says it's ready for the Christmas rush – it already has 2,000 puzzles sitting in its workshop, ready to go under someone's tree as well as the material to make thousands more.

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