Local Businesses Continue to be Hampered by Supply Chain Constraints

  • By admin,

Several Bigfork businesses face the consequences of a nationwide supply chain crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This spring, Melina Frechette, owner of Adorned, purchased her shop and says she enjoys offering women’s and children’s clothing at a reasonable price in downtown Bigfork, Montana.

Although her business has a massive tourist influx during the summer, she prefers to cater to locals. She curates her inventory based on suggestions offered by her clients. However, certain items are starting to take months to arrive.

Frechette, for example, highlighted how Booties for women and juniors were always sold out. However, owing to supplier issues, she could not stock them for the fall.

Supply and Stockpiling

Bigfork businesses aren’t the only ones facing supply chain challenges, though. According to the Associated Press, suppliers have been unable to keep up with the increasing demand for goods as spending increased following the recent economic downturn.

Many companies resorted to storing goods. It has exacerbated the problem, but the stock offered a safety net for certain retailers as the pandemic’s repercussions continued to create a harsh environment for businesses to operate within.

So Last Season!

One of the more frustrating elements of Frechette’s operation has been that as a retail store, products she bought nine months ago may no longer be deemed fashionable by the time she receives her consignments.

She believes the booties she purchased for Christmas would still be hot among clients when they arrive in the spring, but she is concerned about future purchases that have been delayed indefinitely.

Anxieties about Affordability

Shipping online orders to clients have also been difficult due to the high delivery cost. Frechette stated that she requires a fixed rate of $8 for each shipment, which she covers herself.

When her shipments don’t turn up, she says it’s hard to cater to her clients’ demands. But she keeps the business affordable while also carrying stylish and in-fashion goods.

Demand, No Supply

Head Distiller Gabe Spencer stated how he’s seen the distillery industry flourish throughout the nation since Whistling Andy’s doors launched over a decade ago. Currently, there are about 2,000 distilleries all across the country, but when Whistling Andy first started, it had less than 300.

This increase in demand is also contributing to the current supply chain problems. He claimed it’s been challenging to acquire their signature bottles since they’ve been dealing with an unreliable supplier since the outbreak began.

“Over those years there’s been supply issues with barrels, and barrel shortages, cause there’s just not a ton of manufacturers for barrels, so the demand was high… then you factor in the demand with COVID and the cost of oak and wood, everything is getting delayed,” he said. “So we have to forecast as far out as 2024.”


Despite the challenges, the community of businesses continues to keep hopes up. Business people like Spencer have taken it upon themselves to place orders much before their requirement.

While bearing these costs may be heavy on the pocket, he continues to remain hopeful about the growth of the distillery industry.