April 12, 2024

Brad Marolf

Business & Finance Wonders

Local business consolidates due to supply chain issues

CAVE SPRINGS, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A local business that has been in Northwest Arkansas for decades is closing one of its storefronts.

Lewis and Clark Outfitters said supply chain issues are to blame. The Springdale location will keep its doors open, but they have moved everything out of their store in Rogers.

Rob Potts is the co-owner and president of Lewis and Clark Outfitters. The family-owned business started with the dream of bringing people together through outdoor activities and their loyal client base shows they are succeeding.

“We hear stories over the years of people coming in and saying, ‘hey you saved my marriage, you saved my relationship with my family, or I didn’t have things to do with my teenagers and they didn’t want to have anything to do with me, but now they do,’” said Potts. “So that’s one of the things that really keeps us going.”

Potts said their suppliers are so backed up they can’t get in enough products to stock the shelves of their Rogers location. He said bike suppliers are behind by a year.

“We’ve seen a lot of changes in retail over the last 20 years,” said Potts. “The last two, they’ve changed as much as the previous 18.”

Although, problems with stocking shelves aren’t new. Mervin Jeberaj, the Director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Arkansas, said many things contribute to the supply chain issues.

“So last year we had supply chain issues, and it’s entirely driven by the pandemic,” said Jeberaj. “Today we have supply chain issues. Still driven somewhat by the pandemic.”

Jeberaj also said the Russian invasion of Ukraine and China shutting down major industrial production due to COVID-19 are other issues.

Another factor hindering the global supply chain is the amount of things we’re buying, versus spending money on experiences. Jeberaj said this change was driven by the pandemic as well.

“Our economy and our supply chains were not built to handle us buying as many things it was built to handle those doing things,” said Jeberaj.

Jeberaj said we are not past the pandemic enough to know if investing in shipping capacity will be worth it, and until these factors either go away or shipping capacities are increased, there will be more businesses like Lewis and Clark Outfitters having to make changes.

“You’ll change everything you’re doing and then the market will change again and you’ll have to change again,” said Potts.

Lewis and Clark Outfitters is also looking into satellite locations for their Benton County customers.