LYNDHURST, Ohio — While supply shortages and rising prices with lumber, used cars, and fuel continue to dominate headlines, experts told News 5 household appliances need to be added to the list.
Inside Snow Bros. Appliance in Lyndhurst, it was not easy for the owners to show News 5 their empty showroom space.
“A year ago every hole and every cabinet and every display would be filled,” President Bill Kent said. “We would always pride ourselves that our showroom has a product in every display. we can’t do that right now. We can’t keep up.”
Sales are up 20 to 25% so far this year on items such as refrigerators, dishwashers, and ovens.
Despite that, this 99-year-old family business needs to keep a running list of appliances ordered that still haven’t arrived.
“There’s product from June and July on this report that we still don’t have and really don’t have valid days for when it's coming,” Kent added. “The minimum is 6-8 weeks. That’s just the minimum. Truthfully, all we’re doing is guessing because all our manufacturers are doing is guessing.”
“If their refrigerator dies, they aren’t going to be able to get the one they want for 6-8 weeks,” Vice President Melissa Kent added. “It's tough delivering that news to people sometimes.”
When an item does arrive at their store, Melissa Kent said it takes less than a week before someone scoops it up, even the showroom models.
“A lot of people are compromising on what they’re buying to get what's available,” she said.
The ripple from that shortage extends past just home renovations.
“Appliances are tough to get,” Ohio REALTORS President Seth Task said. “It’s an interesting twist to an already crazy real estate market.”
Once an afterthought, Task, a Cleveland-based realtor, told News 5 appliances now take up more time for realtors when it comes to building or selling homes.
A February survey from the National Association of HomeBuilders revealed that nearly 90% of builders have trouble obtaining household appliances, with 51% calling it a major difficulty.
“I have a list of 93 things we do for a client during the course of a contract,” Task added. “The 94th [item] is now to help you decide how quickly you need to start looking for appliances.”
Back at Snow Bros. Appliance, they’re bracing for what comes next.
“Almost every vendor and manufacturer has announced price increases, some took effect April 1,” Bill Kent said. “Every brand we have has announced price increases of 5-10% on all their products.”
According to the recently released Consumer Price Index by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the cost of “major appliances” rose 12.3% from April 2020 to April 2021, with laundry equipment seeing the largest increase at 23.6%.
In order to best adapt to this changing landscape, Kent suggests those considering new appliances plan months ahead, as he sees this shortage continuing through at least the end of the year.
“I know we’re all used to coming into the store and ordering and getting it the next day or two days, unfortunately, that’s not the way it is right now,” he said. “If you’re planning on redoing your kitchen in the near future, this year or first quarter of next year, you should probably get in line to place your orders.”