ATLANTA — From furniture and electronics, to children's clothing, supply chain issues have been slowing down commerce for months amid a shortage of workers to unload the cargo and drive it to its destination.
It's a problem Children's Shop owner Vicki Davis said many small business owners are dealing with right now. "We get really excited when we see FedEx or UPS pull up in front, something's coming our way!," she said.
The shelves are stocked right now in her shop in the Peachtree Battle Shopping Center, but she said this year is unlike any other in their 35 year history.
"I thought I had enough inventory especially with the holidays coming up, but there's nothing I can do to speed up the process," Davis said.
From overseas shipments stuck at the port to orders stuck at warehouses with no one available to deliver them, it's a similar story for many small business owners in Atlanta.
On Monday, Gov. Brian Kemp met with leaders from the Georgia Ports Authority, the trucking industry, the rail industry, the roadways and retail to talk about solutions. He offered four ways the federal government could assist, the one of which was lowering the age to get a commercial driver's license from 21 to 18, which Kemp's office says could add 25,000 long haul truckers per year.
"Let's get a sense of urgency- let's implement it right now and get it going and try to start solving the problems," Kemp said.
Other suggestions are suspending the 12% excise tax imposed on new truck purchases and suspending the federal vaccine mandate. "You have paving contractors doing work on federal property so subject to the vaccine mandate so he's going to lose half their people, they're going to work for a competitor, he's going to get hurt," said Kemp.
And finally, enlisting the private sector on a federal level to offer solutions and get the supply chain rolling again.
Davis said she hopes something changes soon, so stores in Atlanta can stay open and continue to serve their customers.
"(Customers are asking) are we still getting merchandise? And the best I can say is hopefully! Maybe! That's really the best I can do," she added.
Any supply chain solution will take time, so the best advice Davis has for customers this year is to shop early, because what you see on store shelves may be all you can get in time for Christmas.