Gearing up for the holiday shopping season

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(ABC 6 NEWS) – You might be gearing up for holiday shopping, but with supply chain issues you may not get those packages to your door by when it is time to open presents and you may have to take a different route.

The National Retail Federation predicts this year’s holiday sales could shatter previous records.

Sales are predicted to reach anywhere from $843 billion to $859 billion.

Some people have already started shopping and local shops are trying to navigate this busy season.

Albert Lea is just one of the communities in our area filled with local shops.

"We do have a great community of small fun unique boutiques here," said the Owner of The Homestead Boutique, Anglea Moller.

Last year shops like The Homestead Boutique saw more people shopping local as more people stayed home.

This holiday season people are already making their lists and checking them twice.

"We are seeing shoppers earlier than ever. I know there are always some early shoppers, but we have some people who are doing some serious shopping already," said Moller.

On top of that, there are supply chain issues thanks to the lingering effects of the pandemic and staffing shortages.

Moller thinks big box stores are seeing that impact more.

"The boutiques, we are a different business model. We kind of have a different supply chain than the big stores. so we have different resources so we can find things in different places," said Moller.

They are still feeling the impact, but have ordered things early and by keeping local inventory, it helps keep the store stocked.

But down the street at Whimzy toy store, it’s a different story.

Whimzy has orders from February 2021 that still have not shown up. They have almost $40,000 worth of backorders.

Tami Staker with Whimzy said one of the ways they have gotten around the roadblock is by using new vendors.

"Upside is we are discovering new vendors right and things that are cool that we hadn’t had before so that is exciting," said Staker.

When you are out shopping this holiday season, Staker said to make sure to have a plan B when looking for that perfect gift.

"Start small start at home, that is how we are going to offset those shipping issues is by looking right at what is in your own backyard first," said Moller.

Even though you might not get the present on time, Moller believes there is a silver lining in all these shipping issues.

"We kind of get back to basics kind of simplify things, go to the mom and pop shops, support what is local," said Moller.

There is also a push to shop local all month long in Albert Lea.

The Albert Lea Main Street Programa as well as the Albert Lea Convention and Visitors Bureau are just two of the organizations pushing for more local shopping.

One way to make your local shopping fun is through Shop Small Bingo.

You can print off a bingo card or pick one up at the Albert Lea Main Street Program office.

Once you get your card you can purchase different items and services to get bingo and then enter it in for some prize drawings.

You can find out more here.