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If you've been looking around the website lately, you might be wondering - "Why are so many products out of stock right now?" Which is soon followed with - "When will products be available again?" So today we are diving a little deeper into why we often have items out of stock!
I know I say it all the time, but having products out of stock is just another way that Stone Creek Trading is not your typical online retail company. We are very careful to make sure we do not sell items that we do not currently have in our possession. In the 5 years we have been in business and thousands of orders placed, I think there have been 3 times when we couldn't fulfill as ordered. We know how frustrating it can be as a consumer to order a product and then have to wait for weeks because the item is actually out of stock! So we decided when we first started this company that we wouldn't do that.
We also don't restock products like other online stores. All of the items we sell come from small companies in Poland. To keep our costs low, we gather all the items from many different companies together and ship them in one container. We ship about 4 containers per year, which means we only restock the website about 4 times per year when the new container arrives. So if an item sells out shortly after a new container has arrived, it may take a few months before we can get any more. Over the years we have gotten much better at anticipating demand and ordering more product before we sell out, but it's not an exact science!
In addition to only restocking a few times per year, we work exclusively with small businesses. While we put in orders to our producers early, sometimes a business only has 1-2 employees and has trouble meeting our full order in time to make it on the next shipment. We've had items arrive 1 week after the container left, which means we have to wait another 3-4 months before we will get them on the next shipment to us here in the US! I know it's frustrating for customers when items are out of stock for that long, but trust me, it's even more frustrating for us!
We've been out of stock of some items since the beginning of January. It's pretty typical for this to happen at this time as we recover from the holiday rush. We purchase more and more product every year, but we still can't keep up with demand during November and December! We always sell out, it's just a matter of how long into January and February we make it!
The exciting news is that we just loaded up a container in Poland! As you can see we make sure to use every single space to get as many products as we can in a container. This means we will be in stock longer and we can keep the cost of shipping per item down. The shipment has left our facility in Poland and is on it's way to the port in Gdansk where it will be loaded onto the ship which will take it across the ocean to New York. In New York, the container will have to clear customs before it can be transferred to train to make it's way to the Chicago Rail Yard. Once in Chicago, a truck will pick up the container and bring it us here in Frankfort, IL!
With all those transfers it typically takes about 4-6 weeks to get from our facility in Poland to our facility here in the US. Unfortunately, there are many oppurtunities for delay along the way, which is one of the reasons we can't give an exact date for when we will be restocking. Our shipment tracking information is estimating arrival in the 3rd week of March, but there aren't any guarantees. Let's hope for smooth sailing and easy customs clearance!
If you are anxiously waiting for a specific item, your best option is to input your email on the product page. This will get you signed up to be notified when a product comes back in stock. We will send you an email as soon as we have unloaded the container! You can also keep an eye on our Facebook or Instagram, as I typically share a photo during unloading.
Hopefully if you've made it all the way to the end of this blog post you now have a better understanding of our unique stocking process! Now go sign up to be notified when your favorite products come back in stock!
* This blog post is part of a new series - Behind the Business. We want to give our customers more insight into the decisions we make everyday that contribute to how our business runs. We try to always keep the customers best interest in mind when making these decisions, and we want you to know why we at Stone Creek Trading aren't your "normal" online business. We are proud that we don't follow the "business rules" and choose to do things a little differently!