Home » Kaune’s, Toucan Market Among Independents Feeling Supply Chain Woes

Kaune’s, Toucan Market Among Independents Feeling Supply Chain Woes

Kaune’s, Toucan Market Among Independents Feeling Supply Chain Woes

Cheryl Sommer, president and co-owner of Kaune’s Neighborhood Market in Santa Fe, New Mexico, said last year was more manageable from an operational standpoint than 2020. 

Kaune’s retained much of the growth it experienced, however, the supply chain continues to present barriers. Deliveries that were routine before the COVID-19 pandemic have become unpredictable.  

“The time between order and delivery on products sourced directly from a producer are much longer,” she said. 

Asked which products are particularly difficult to procure, Sommer said there are “too many to name and it is a bit of a moving target.”

“I have mused that the receipt of trucks is like the arrival of Santa – the contents are a surprise and sometimes a gift,” Sommer said. “We consider it plain lucky when we finally receive something that has been out of stock yet promised for weeks.” 

Operating in New Mexico, grocers have fewer options for incoming distribution, according to Sommer. “As such, we are more vulnerable to the impact of supply disruptions like those we have and are experiencing.”

She added that availability of labor also has been challenging.

“But we feel fortunate to have only one position unfilled at this time, and we were thrilled to be fully staffed during the Christmas holiday,” she said. “We work to find the work formula that will be appealing to qualified candidates in our market.”

Kaune’s, Toucan Market Among Independents Feeling Supply Chain Woes

Rob Baur, owner of Toucan Market in Las Cruces, New Mexico, believes these supply chain disruptions are hurting local businesses the most. 

“We’re probably the least affected when it comes down to it,” he said. “But we’re the most affected when it comes down to cash. I mean purchasing…I’m a single store, these corporations can suffer a lot more of a hit than I can. 

“When we lose 15 SKUs or something like that it really hurts the bottom line because we’re running on thin margins as it is. And we don’t have that buffer like those corporations do.” 

Baur said he looked into e-commerce offerings two years ago, but “with supply chain where it is I’m glad we didn’t go that route.”

“I think it really does frustrate people whenever they go to buy something online, and then they don’t get it, or they get something that they didn’t want,” he said. “I’ve heard too many of those stories. I think if you’re going to do it, you need to do it right, and I don’t know that we can afford that at this point, because we’re a single store.”

Kaune’s manages most communication with customers the old-fashioned way – telephone and in person. 

“Our customers can place pickup/delivery orders through our website by sending a grocery list, but even that mode of ordering often results in a follow up telephone conversation,” she said.   

Keeping it local 

Baur said he thinks his store separates itself from large chain locations in Las Cruces by offering a variety of local products. 

“I think we do a better job of carrying a lot more local products…I probably carry about 200 different SKUs…we are always willing to bring on more,” he said. 

Once a month, Toucan Market invites local vendors to set up their stands on a Saturday to tout their products. All of the vendors already have their products on the shelves at Toucan Market. 

“Normally, they’re creating new lines [of products], or at least different varieties all the time,” he said. 

2022 goals

Sommer said the goal for Kaune’s in 2022 is the health and safety of the team and customers, as well as “continued creativity in product sourcing to identify acceptable replacements for products that have dropped from our market.”

“We hope to refine and perfect the operational changes we made to address the pandemic, which are now the ‘new normal,’ and continue to provide a safe and desirable shopping option for our community,” she said.

Baur emphasized his gratitude for the team at Toucan. “I wouldn’t be anything without the staff.”

For more information, visit kaunes.com and toucanmarket.com.

About the author

Eric Pereira

Content Creator

A seasoned journalist, Eric has a passion for covering all facets of the grocery industry and a love for home cooking.

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