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Stores still hurting from liquor shortage

Posted at 8:41 PM, Dec 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-31 05:22:16-05

LANSING, Mich. — It's been over a month and a half since Republic National Distributing experienced software problems, affecting local businesses.

Fox 47 caught up with the owner of Tom's Party Store in East Lansing.

He said a month and a half later, they're getting deliveries on time, but they're still missing a lot of product.

He said ahead of one of their highest-selling days, with the upcoming holiday, he's worried they'll start to lose money.

"We've been here 55 years, I've never seen it this bad," said Rich McCarius, owner of Tom's Party Store. "It's certainly not at a lever that we need to do business, especially this holiday season."

Since the shortage began in November, the distributor says they've fixed some of the problems, but it's still not enough.

"They've sent out postcards apologizing, said McCarius. "But those don't really help us."

McCarius said they get their liquor from Republic National Distributing; he says their orders are missing everything from bottom-shelf liquors to the hard to find bottles.

"We just can't get it from the distributor," he said. "This is where we're making our bread and butter. If we can't get it, then we're just some guy on the street now."

There's concern the shortage will affect business on New Year’s Eve, when liquor stores expect to make the most money.

"This is a devastating blow during a season when they have to make a good part of their living...they want customers to know they can come in" Douglas Stites, a customer of the party store, said.

McCarius said he's running of patience with the distributor.

"They need to get it fixed...it's just been too long. Something should have been done by now."

A representative from the distributor said they're getting closer to being able to fulfill complete shipments, and that it's not uncommon for there to be shortages during the holiday season.

The delivery issues were a result of consolidating distributions to a facility in the Detroit area.

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