BrandSource Dealer Shares Inventory Woes with Wall Street Journal

By Alan Wolf, YSN

BrandSource member Steve Sheinkopf, CEO of Yale Appliance in Boston, shared his company’s challenges and workarounds with The Wall Street Journal in a report on product shortages.

Adding his voice to other retailers and industry observers, Sheinkopf said he has lent out so many interim appliances to impatient shoppers that he feels like he’s running a lending library. But despite the loaners, employees have been harangued by enough irate customers to warrant compensating his staff with “combat pay,” free pizza, and ice cream parties to raise morale.

“We have to take the calls that are less than understanding,” Sheinkopf told the newspaper. “We feel bad for the people who work here.”

See: How to Explain Delivery Delays to Customers

Owner John Calderon of Advanced Building and Remodeling in Los Angeles, has gone to even greater extremes, inviting a friend and current customer to bring his dirty laundry to Calderon’s home while they await delivery of a washer on backorder.

“We know [consumers] are frustrated,” acknowledged Joe McGuire, president/CEO of the Association of Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), the industry trade group.

But dealers and vendors are equally upset, with delivery times for certain models stretching out as much as a year due to shortages of chips, labor, raw materials and transport space, The Journal reported.

Nevertheless, Calderon isn’t taking the heat alone; he’s connecting customers with his vendor reps to show that he’s not at fault for the delays.

“If it wasn’t for COVID, I would go over and do their dishes,” he said.

BrandSource, a unit of YSN publisher AVB Inc., is a nationwide buying group for independent appliance, furniture, mattress and CE dealers.