Igor Yakovlev’s company is quite the buzz on Staten Island.
He started Beezy Beez Honey about seven years ago.
“We produce local raw honey for New York and we are also CBD manufacturers for different hemp products as well,” said Yakovlev.
As COVID-19 made its way through the city and restrictions began, Beezy Beez was considered essential, so it was business as usual for Igor. But he started facing some challenges six months into the pandemic.
“That’s when you started to see issues with supply chains, issues with ingredients,” Yakovlev explained. "Those are big bulk warehouses so they are also getting it from overseas.”
The delays can be felt far beyond the city. It’s a global issue, according to Brooklyn College Economics Professor Merih Uctum.
"Companies froze orders, they reduced staffing levels, they rundown inventories so this created wide-scale disruption on what we call the supply chain,” Uctum explained.
Yakovlev said coconut oil is a main ingredient in a lot of his products. A drum of it used to cost him $350. Now, it’s almost $100 more.
He’s even had to change the way he packages his products.
“I used glass bottles because it's more eco-friendly and stuff like that and I used to get them overseas from Sweden. So now because of all the tariffs, all the shipping issues, I can’t afford to ship glass jars anymore because a glass jar that used to cost me 25 cents now costs me a dollar. So it’s almost four times the price and when it comes to small ticket priced items, you know, $3.99 milk, $5.99 honey, that extra 75 cents is a big hit on a small business like myself,” said Yakovlev.
To create more revenue, Igor started adding things like freshly roasted coffee to his list of products, but he said even coffee beans are getting more expensive.
“I don’t really raise my prices because the customers are used to a certain price point. I definitely don’t wanna lower the quality of the product. It comes down to it, as a business owner, I lose out on the money and my family loses out on the money. I don’t want to have to lay off an employee because everyone here is like family. Everyone here has been here two-plus years, three-plus years,” Yakovlev explained.
And yet, he’s keeping a positive attitude and says he believes supply will return and everything will be, “Beerific!”