Factory shutdowns. Labor shortages. Shipping container shortages. Customs delays. Backups at ports. Shipping container pileups. Trucker shortages. Torrential Downpours. Flooding. Mudslides. Cross-Canadian transportation shutdown. Backups on highways.
All the things I never even thought about when I pre-ordered coats in 2020. I was feeling great about our 2021 winter season! Every year around Thanksgiving, I run out of coats and when I try to order more from the distributor, I would always find out they hardly have any left in big dog sizes. Even though they knew I needed several hundred coats every winter, they never bought enough to keep me well-stocked until spring. Well, I finally decided to break the cycle and place a giant order directly through the manufacturer, ensuring that I would have enough coats for the season. Pre-ordering coats meant I was guaranteed to get the amount I needed for the year. The delivery date was estimated to be sometime towards the end of August 2021.
August came and went and our coats didn't come. Well into September, they were still not here. I checked in with GF and was told there were delays at the factory and with overseas shipping. Not long after that, I got a notification that the order was on the way but it only contained sweaters. GF Pet said the coats were coming but there was a delay because once they arrived in the States, this happened:
And that fiasco led to this:
There was an actual shortage of shipping containers, a shortage of port workers to unload the ships and a shortage of truckers to get the containers where they needed to go once they were unloaded. There was nothing any of us could do about it except wait for the ports to clear up and the goods to start moving again. Which, thankfully, they did! Later that month, we got the good news that we would have the rest of our order in a few weeks.
But when the pallet arrived, there was only one style of coat on it. I checked in with GF again and was told the remainder of the order would arrive over the next 2 weeks. However, those weeks passed and nothing else arrived.
Because then this happened:
Terrible footage of flooding and mudslides in British Columbia was all over the news, but I had no idea the rest of our coats were at port there. Roads were closed and cross-Canadian transportation was shut down. The reason I hadn't been told sooner what was going on was that GF Pet reps were all in BC helping to get the goods onto trucks and out of the area as soon as roads reopened.
I've never seen anything like this incredible series of unforeseen, unprecedented events. I've been answering emails and DMs asking if we are eliminating coats from our lineup, customers think we are never getting more. Customers who pre-ordered coats are still waiting for them (thank you to everyone who has elected to keep their order in place and not ask for a refund! xoxo!).
So here's where we are now: the Alpine Puffers and Recycled Camo Parkas will be in Montreal by the end of the week. GF normally only sells directly to huge retailers and distributors, so our "little" order (which for us, is huge) is being pulled first. Our orders go by freight truck and we typically receive the shipments only a couple of days after they leave Canada. So... Mother Nature willing, the rest of the coats will arrive early-mid next week. All pre-orders are getting expedited shipping, so at least they have a chance of arriving around the holidays.
This has been an ordeal, to say the least. Everyone has been very understanding and I truly appreciate that! I know we weren't the only ones affected by the events of the last few months and in the grand scheme of things, it's dog clothes. (I have to remind myself of that often).
My heart goes out to everyone who lost loved ones, pets, homes and property in the floods and mudslides. And to every trucker, port worker, factory worker, etc who has kept commerce going through what is still unfolding as one of the scariest, craziest times in the history of the world.
I'm thankful that our coats didn't wash out to sea. Fingers crossed during this last leg of their journey.