COVID-19 has caused shortages in the supply chain from day one, causing a run on toilet paper and other paper products and cleaning supplies in the early days of the pandemic. While the toilet paper shortage seems to have tapered off, there are still some items in short supply because of the pandemic and
Here are some unusual, COVID-19-induced shortages having an impact on the Junction City community.
A shortage of chicken wings has led Binga’s — a restaurant that recently opened at the corner of Jackson Street and Grant Avenue — to add other items to its menu.
Binga’s owner Bud Wheeler said when the business had its grand opening that when the business first opened its doors chicken wings cost about $125 per case, then raised to $150. This price skyrocketed to $349 a case before the grand opening last month. This made it cost prohibitive to sell wings — the restaurant would have to price them at $40 for a plate of 12 wings, he said.
“We’re moving away from the wings,” Wheeler said.
Burgers, a tenderloin sandwich, pulled pork and other, similar items now grace Binga’s menu.
“We’re trying to be innovative right now and change as we move on to dodge what’s happening in the produce market,” Wheeler said.
Wheeler said the price of wings has gone up because of a shortage of labor in meat processing plants.
“We’re just trying to do things that keep the price down,” he said. “We’re just going to lay off the wings for a while.”
The wings had been the restaurant’s signature dish.
In addition to wings, there’s also a shortage of ammunition that has impacted a local business.
According to Todd Godfrey, who owns Godfrey’s Ranges and Tactical Supplies among several other Junction City businesses, said there has been an ammunition shortage since the pandemic began a year and a half ago.
The shortage springs from “political, COVID and issues affecting society,” he said. “Those three things are what’s continuing to drive the hysteria to hoard ammo and firearms.”
The shortage drove people from all over the country to his shop looking for ammunition to no avail.
“We had people from California to New York that were stopping at every gun store along the way just to see if they could get their hands on it,” he said. “Literally, we had people come in here and tell us they were driving across the United States trying to find ammo.”
Godfrey couldn’t help them — he didn’t have it available for sale off the shelves.
“We didn’t even have it,” he said. “There’s only probably been two times that we’ve actually had ammo.”
Right now is one of them. Godfrey said the business had been able to acquire some foreign manufactured ammunition to sell.
“That’s all we could get our hands on,” he said.
This is not the first time an ammunition shortage has had an impact on Godfrey’s. After the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012, people panicked and began buying up ammunition, according to Godfrey. He and his staff struggled to keep it stocked. It remained this way for eight months. Every time something along these lines has happened, Godfrey has experienced the impact — from shortages to issues with insurance.
Godfrey said he learned from the experience and the knowledge he gained after about 11 years in business has helped Godfrey’s through this shortage.
“We determined that we needed to find an ammo reloading business,” he said. “We actually bought one.”
The business, Sand Creek Ammunition, is located in the back of Godfrey’s shop and keeps the range supplied with ammo so if people want to shoot at the range they can.
“The difference between this time and the previous time is now components are even harder to get,” Godfrey said. “So primers and powder and then actually the bullets are harder to find.”
This is the worst it has ever been.
“This is by far the most frustrating it’s been,” he said. “I’ve never seen it like this.”
Prices have gone up for all these items, further complicating the situation.
“We’ve struggled at times,” Godfrey said. “We got pretty close to getting low on supply, but then it seemed like as we got to the point where we started to panic, then something would let up and we’d get a phone call or something would be in stock. We actually at one point had to order bullets out of Tennessee, but they wouldn’t ship them to Kansas because they had several incidents where there bullets that were shipped to Kansas were being stolen in the shipping process.”
The company wouldn’t ship to Kansas but agreed to ship to Missouri, so Godfrey had the bullets shipped to the residence of an acquaintance in Kansas City.
“We went to Kansas City to pick them up and brought them here,” he said.
Right now, he said, the business is mostly set on ammunition.
Roughly every two weeks he receives emails to outside companies offering to sell him ammunition in bulk, but it’s often out of his price range. Recently, Godfrey said he received an offer of one million small pistol primers for $130,000 — not affordable for a small business such as his.
Godfrey said he believes the shortage will continue as long as gun and ammunition dealers continue to buy ammunition at inflated prices and sell it at a markup, the longer the shortage will go on.
“We’ve had people reach out to us about ‘well, do you want to buy some ammo?’ and no — it’s too high and I’m not going to play this game,” he said. “The sooner we quit buying it and people quit hoarding it, the prices will come back down.”
When people hoard ammunition, he said, it leaves no ammunition for others which causes a chain reaction of panic buying. It’s not helpful, according to Godfrey.
“For dealers, it’s great,” he said. “You’re running out of your supply almost as fast as you get it. On the other side, you think about people who — they’re just buying this stuff because they’re scared they’re going to die, That’s reality to them. But they feel that they need as much as they can get their hands on because something is coming — they don’t know what it is. Some might think that they do, but here we are a year later and for the most part in Junction City it’s business as usual.”