A congested global supply chain is causing headaches for a lot of Canadian companies, but one New Brunswick manufacturer is seeing business go through the roof.
Bell Wire Products Ltd. works year-round manufacturing things from wire. In summer, it makes tomato cages and wire for floral baskets. For this time of year, it normally makes as many as two million Christmas wreath rings.
A ring is a simple wire structure, essentially the skeleton of a wreath, and is used for holding decorative spruce bows in a circle before they’re hung on doors and windows for the holidays.
Wreath rings often come from overseas, but they’re also made at the Bell Wire Products plant in Florenceville-Bristol, a town of about 1,600 in western New Brunswick.
Lately, shipping constraints have limited and delayed products coming from manufacturing giants in places like China, so the New Brunswick wreath rings are suddenly in high demand.
“We have been really busy,” said Martha Bell, who, along with her husband, Scotty, bought Bell Wire Products in 1998.
“Busier than we have ever been. This has been, by far, our busiest fall.”
Wholesalers pinched for product are now depending on the small plant to pick up the slack.
“We have found that instead of 500 for a customer, they want 5,000,” Martha Bell said. “That is what we’re facing. Every customer.”
Scotty Bell said the company is scrambling to provide the wreath rings for much of Ontario and British Columbia.
“The orders they’re sending are tripling, that’s what it is in volume,” said Scotty. “It’s unbelievable”
As far they know, their company is one-of-a-kind in Canada producing similar wire products.
“There’s not a lot of places to go besides Bell Wire for the products you want in Canada,” Scotty said.
“We get materials from containers ourselves and it’s been delayed by four months,” Martha said.
New Brunswick maker of Christmas wreath rings sees demand skyrocket
To illustrate the skyrocketing demand, Scotty said he was shocked by an order from a customer earlier this fall for Remembrance Day easels, the wire frames used for poppy wreaths at cenotaphs and memorials.
“He ordered 6,000 easels just recently; unheard of an order of 6,000 easels,” Martha said. “In our business, two or three hundred [is normal.] So there’s the difference.”
Martha said the business isn’t geared to handle so much demand, but with its workforce of 10, it’s doing its best to keep up. Efforts to grow the workforce in response to the exploding demand have fallen flat.
“When you run ads for workers and you get zero response, that’s scary,” said Martha.
The Bells said they’re also unsure if wholesalers will continue to buy from Canadian manufacturers once the supply issues are resolved. With the lack of new workers, the company won’t be expanding anytime soon.
This content was originally published here.