October baseball is typically a home run for Fenway businesses, but the labor shortage and supply chain crisis are hitting them hard as the Red Sox prepare for the American League Championship Series.
As they continue to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, stocking up and staffing up in advance of the ALCS is a challenge.
Tiffani Faison owns several restaurants in the Fenway area, including Sweet Cheeks and Tiger Mama. She said she currently has 35% fewer employees than she would usually have at this time. They are getting by, but on top of that, deliveries do not come as often and they do not always have everything that she needs.
"We have supply chain issues. We have inventory issues. We love fans in the neighborhood, but it's a double-edged sword because we're not fully staffed at any of our restaurants," Faison said.
Faison said she recently had to find different takeout bags and containers due to the supply chain issues. At the same time, the price of everything from beef to lobster is going up as a result.
"We want the Red Sox to go all the way, obviously, even though there are challenges around us. It feels like the normal we all need. We just want fans to come and be patient and be kind," Faison said.
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Spirits are high at the Cask 'n Flagon, but some brands of spirits are not being delivered.
"We might not have that top-shelf tequila that you're looking for, but we have one that's pretty close. We're getting creative here and there, but we are doing OK, and having 40,000 people here is amazing," manager Chris Klessens said.
The supply chain crisis is also making some jerseys hard to find. The manager of the Red Sox Team Store said they are not sure when they will be back in stock.
"Things like jerseys are mostly made overseas, so if they can't get them here, or they are locked up and waiting in Los Angeles, there's nothing we can do," manager Tim Petit said.
While they hope the Red Sox go all the way, some businesses are calling on friends and family members to help cover shifts.
"Whatever it takes," Petit said.