Tuesday, January 18, 2022
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Buying furniture complicated by market conditions

by CHERYL SCHWEIZER
Staff Writer | January 7, 2022 1:00 PM

MOSES LAKE — Maybe Santa didn’t deliver that new couch and chair after all. Or maybe Santa brought a couple of new chairs. Now that couch just has to go.

Winter can be a time when homeowners look for ways to spruce up the house, and among other things that can mean shopping for new furniture. The trouble is, this year furniture shoppers may be running into a whole series of roadblocks.

Matt Moore, co-owner of Moore Furniture in Ephrata, said typically January is pretty slow in his store. But 2022 doesn’t look like it will be a typical year.

“Really unique delays in shipping and manufacturing,” said Jason Espinosa, manager of Walker’s Furniture in Moses Lake and Yakima. “Anything that could happen has happened. It’s unbelievable.”

The coronavirus pandemic disrupted imports of finished furniture, and domestic manufacturers were affected by problems with materials, both imported and domestic. Domestic manufacturers also have been forced to shut down temporarily or operate with reduced workforces as they dealt with coronavirus outbreaks.

Moore said the result has been furniture he ordered in February arrived in mid-December. A manufacturer who supplies Moore Furniture estimated delivery for furniture ordered now would take about a year.

“I don’t know what to expect,” Moore said.

Wendy Cox, general manager of The Home Center in Moses Lake, said if a shopper sees a living room, dining room or bedroom set that they like, now is the time.

“I don’t think you should wait at all,” she said. “With COVID, the prices are crazy.”

Supplies are uneven, Cox said.

“We have no control over what we can even get,” she said. ‘It’s hit or miss right now, for sure.”

And there are still backlogs for both materials and completed furniture.

“The shipping delays; I don’t see that changing anytime soon,” Cox said.

Moore said Moore Furniture maintains a warehouse, and Cox said The Home Center does the same. Carlos Hernandez, owner of La Imperial Furniture in Moses Lake, said he has a reliable source of supply and takes care of shipping himself.

“We go get it ourselves,” he said.

As a result, he’s getting timely delivery of orders, but prices have increased from where they were seven months ago. Hernandez said he expects that to continue.

“Prices, they’re going to go up. For sure,” he said.

New furniture is in high demand, Espinoza said, and that’s been true since the beginning of the pandemic.

“The demand has been going up for two years,” he said.

With restrictions on movement, disposable income couldn’t be spent on things like vacations, Espinoza said. So people bought furniture.

“There’s still plenty of demand,” Moore said.

The effect on prices can be seen in the lack of price breaks over the Christmas shopping season. Moore cited the traditional Black Friday deals as an example – there weren’t many, if any.

People who place a custom order not only face a long wait for delivery, but the price quoted when the order was placed may not be what it costs when it gets here, Moore said.

“If you see what you want, grab it now,” he said.

photo

Cheryl Schweizer/Columbia Basin Herald

A chair stands in the showroom at The Home Center in Moses Lake.

photo

Cheryl Schweizer/Columbia Basin Herald

Selections of furniture are shown in The Home Center in Moses Lake.

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