Need New Furniture? You'll Likely Have to Wait

Mario’s Furniture in Lowell, Massachusetts, has never looked so empty in its 42 years in business.

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The pandemic has had an impact on everything -- especially businesses. And one area still feeling the frustrations a year later is the furniture industry.

From big box stores to mom and pop shops, people are waiting months for items that would normally have taken just a few days.

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At Mario’s Furniture in Lowell, Massachusetts, they have seen a steady amount of business throughout the pandemic. However, once they have sold items off their showroom floor, they are having a hard time replacing them because their warehouse is depleted.

Debbie Fernandes says the store has never looked so empty in its 42 years in business. One of the longest wait times she’s seeing is for a couch and love seat set she ordered back in October. It still has not arrived and is slated to come in May.

“For the most part we’re seeing things shipping in three months -- at least,” Fernandes said.

Many other stores are quoting customers a minimum of 20 weeks to wait for a couch delivery. Some are even longer than that depending on fabric and any changes made to the in-store model.

The stores have very little control over these wait times, and that is something Fernandes has tried to convey to her customers. Manufacturers have taken a hit during the pandemic, slowing down production. Plus, there seems to be a big increase in demand, as well.

Another unusual factor is the recent winter weather that slammed Texas. It also added more complications -- slowing down companies responsible for the foam inserts that make up couch cushions. This is resulting in confusion and frustration for many customers not expecting these unheard of wait times.

“There are still stores with inventory. Not plentiful, but if you’re in a pinch because you’re moving, venture out to your mom and pop shops," Fernandes said. "I would suggest if you really need something, order it and be patient because we can’t get these things any faster.”

Two British designers have developed an eco-friendly approach to producing furniture — they grow it directly from trees. The co-founders of the U.K. furniture business, called Full Grown, coax trees to grow into the shape of tables, chairs and even lamps. Yusuf Omar of Hashtag Our Stories met with the co-founders of Full Grown to see this “organic 3D printing” process in action.
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