Here is an informational blog article that you won’t see very often. An actual, real explanation on why we are low on product (only temporarily); what we are actively doing about it; what are the limitations of what we are able to do; and proof of our continual commitment to you, our valued customers, to ensure we will fulfill and deliver your orders to you as quickly as soon as the shipments arrive at our yard.
First of all, let us say right up front: we are so very thankful for each and every one of you who have placed your orders for various stones and other supplies with us and are waiting patiently for your stone to arrive. Rest assured that as soon as it gets here on the truck we will be contacting you to let you know your product is here and ready for you to pick it up.
How did the supply of stone dry up so quickly not just on our lot, but at most stone suppliers around Georgia and neighboring states? A confluence of events, really. The lockdowns caused by the coronavirus kept the beginning of our normal busy season (late March through most of April) lighter than usual. Once the “Shelter in Place” order started to be pulled back at the end of April, we saw more people coming in, but not quite the normal amount we would see at that time.
But about a week to 10 days later in early May is when we saw things pick up significantly. And the pent-up demand we hoped was there started to show itself. Business has been consistently brisk over the last month, even somewhat higher than we would have expected in a normal year. In addition, the shipments of stone we have had coming in since late April have been consistently of high quality. Since early May it has been going out the door almost as fast as we have been getting it in.
Our incoming shipments were keeping up with demand through the first month since the easing of “Shelter in Place” rules – but then the central and northern parts of Tennessee experienced several weeks with a lot of rain. Those are the areas where we at Stone Distributors as well as most of the stone suppliers throughout the southeast get a significant amount (not all) of the Flagstone, Fieldstone, Rubble Strips, River Rock and Boulders from.
“Why is rain in central and northern Tennessee a problem for us,” you ask?
Understand we are talking about a normal amount of rain. But when too much rain falls in too short an amount of time (as has happened recently in those areas), the excess water causes the quarries to have to stop bringing the stone out of the ground and from the side of the mountains they are getting it from. The rock removal machines have to be shut down when the quarries receive too much water. That is exactly what happened.
Of course, the timing of the temporary shutdown could not be worse for all of us stone suppliers as this is our busy season so almost all of us have orders in with the quarries at this time. For example, here at Stone Distributors we have over 300 tons of stone on order right at this minute (hoping we start receiving some of that backlog by the end of this week). That is 12 to 13 truckloads’ worth.
By comparison, we normally have between 1 to 3 truckloads on order at this time of year. Certainly a much bigger than average amount to have on backorder, particularly when you have a significant number of good customers anxiously waiting for those shipments to arrive.
What we are doing to try and relieve the backlog as quickly as possible:
- We are doing the best we can. Using multiple vendors to get orders filled, staying on top of the quarry owners to make sure we know when our shipments are loaded up and headed our way so we can let you know as quickly as possible.
- We are working with our vendors throughout the day to get our shipments out on the road and on the way to us here so we can get your orders onto our lot and then right back out to each and every one of you who has been patiently waiting.
Contact us at (678) 354-0566 or by visiting here on our lot or online at https://www.stonedist.com or on our Stone Distributors Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/stonedist/. We are open our normal business hours: Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; closed on Sundays.