Fires in California, a lack of dock workers in France and a problem at the Canadian border are having a trickle down effect felt by shop owners on the Avenue. Shelves are not bare. Yet. But some coveted holiday items may be in short supply.
“Back in September, all Pennsylvania Fine Wine & Good Spirits stores mandated a limit of two bottles, per customer, per day of certain items,” said Shawn M. Kelly, Press Secretary of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. Those items are holiday favorites: Veuve Clicquot, Hennessy Cognac, Don Julio Tequila, Patron Tequila Silver and over thirty-five other top shelf brands.
This will not come as a surprise to readers of Forbes July 26, 2021 article, Is There A Liquor Shortage Looming In Your State? which reported runs on Tito’s Vodka and Patron Tequila months ago due to shortages of glass, aluminum, packing materials and labor.
Some popular holiday items such as Chandon and Moet Champagne Brut are already out of stock and not expected anytime soon. That doesn’t mean you have to toast in the New Year with Boone Farm Wine. Fine French Champagnes, such as Perrier Jouet, Taittinger, Mumm’s and Piper Heidsieck are still available. For now.
Forget about picking up a case of any imported wine for the holidays. Instead, start stocking up now on that two bottle per day limit. And don’t even think about driving to Jersey. “Every state is experiencing the same shortages,” said Kelly.
Mikel Elam, manager of Artists and Craftsmen, has experienced delays across all product lines, however he has some good news. “Our children’s department is fully stocked with toys, games, puzzles and crafts,” he said. “We also have plenty of decorative papers for crafts and wrapping gifts.”
But many other art products are being held up in customs. “Our wooden panels come from Canada and we had three orders backed up for six months,” said Elam. Other items in short supply? Acrylic paints, watercolors and oils, along with wooden frames and stretchers. “There is a wood shortage due to the west coast fires,” he said. “We are experiencing longer than normal shipping times on many items.”
“It’s a perfect storm,” said Flip Ferry, President of Robertson’s Flowers and Events. “Weddings were canceled for a year due to the pandemic and the last four or five months have been crazy. There’s an incredible demand for white roses. We manage to get what we need, but there are certain varieties of roses we can’t get.”
Ferry, a fourth generation Robertson, explained that his family-owned business usually gets roses from Ecuador, but now fifty percent are imported from Holland. “We are paying a lot more for it,” he said. “The whole growing cycle was disrupted. For a while, planes were not flying and no products were being shipped. It takes time to get back on track.”
The shortage was not just with flowers but also with vases. However, Ferry does not anticipate any problems filling orders for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Eve. Just don’t wait until the last minute.
“Pre-pandemic, we could go to a local wholesaler. They don’t have anything at the last minute anymore,” said Ferry. His advice? The earlier you can get your order in, the better.
Another shop feeling the delivery pinch is Chestnut Hill Sports. “We have been limiting the sale of tennis balls to four cans per customer,” said co-owner Tom Amodie who is also experiencing delays with imported sneakers and cleats.
Whether shops on the Hill are experiencing some shortages or not, they are all ready for the holiday season.
Bohemian Pink’s pop-up location next to Kilian’s Hardware is well stocked with affordably priced fashion accessories, from leather goods to softly-draped cardigans with a cashmere feel. Serendipity, across from Starbucks, has a large selection of hoodies, sweatshirts and sweatpants printed with neighborhood logos: Chestnut Hill, Mt. Airy, Wissahickon, Philadelphia, etc. They also have a wide selection of accessories for men and women of all ages. Villavillekila, in the Community Center, is filled with old-fashioned toys, books and gifts for children, as well as unique clothing you will not find elsewhere. Also in the Community Center is the new pop-up shop of Windfall, which still has its flagship store on Germantown Avenue near Willow Grove. While the original location features jewelry, the pop-up shop focuses on wintery wearables, such as ponchos, scarves, hats, and gloves.
Starting November 10th, Chestnut Hill shops will stay open on Wednesdays until 8pm, except for the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Starting Thanksgiving weekend, stores will be open until 7pm Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. In December, there will also be extended hours for the Hill’s annual Stag and Doe Nights.
Starting Wednesday, November 10th, free parking will be available all day on Wednesdays in Chestnut Hill parking lots, which are managed by the Chestnut Hill Parking Foundation. Not, however, in the streets - where parking is managed by the Philadelphia Parking Authority.