Shenandoah Valley businesses feeling effects of inflation

The Stoneburner Lumberyard
The Stoneburner Lumberyard(WHSV)
Published: Jun. 11, 2021 at 7:35 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - Lumber prices across the U.S. have skyrocketed over the past year, but now prices are rising on all different kinds of goods, as consumer prices are up 5% from a year ago.

“We’ve had a lot of challenges just getting the material here, so we’ve been ordering things earlier, trying to find different vendors, and trying to find different products that might be in a similar field, just to supply our customers,” said Jonathan Bucher, the co-owner of Stoneburner Inc, a lumberyard and building supply store in Harrisonburg.

Last May, Stoneburner was paying about $13,000 for a truckload of spruce lumber, that price now around $40,000. That’s an over 300% increase, which is just about the national average of a 288% cost per thousand board feet of lumber since last April.

Another problem they’ve had to face is getting the lumber to the yard.

“We’ve had to order things in advance because now there’s a trucking shortage, so even though you might be able to buy it you might not be able to get it here in the normal two to three-week window,” said Bucher.

The inflation is also affecting their other building products.

“Our metal panels have gone up at least 50 to 60% and it looks like they’re still going up. So we’re starting to see it trickle into a lot of the other products, we have not just lumber,” said Bucher.

Across all industries, consumer prices are climbing at the fastest rate in over 10 years, as businesses have been unable to reopen and revamp fast enough to keep up with consumer demand. Grocery stores are being hit hard.

“Chicken is not only more expensive, but there is also a chicken shortage. Steaks for Fourth of July are likely going to cost $18 - $20 a pound,” Lee Armbuster, the owner of Bridgewater Foods, said.

Armbuster notes that he expects it to take a while for prices to drop back down, but while their prices are climbing, Bridgewater Foods does hold reduced-price meat truckload sales every other month, which they hope will help customers during this time.

“I can’t do anything about the day to day, but every 30 or 60 days I can gather up enough value and offer it to my customers so they can stock their freezer and save themselves some considerable money,” said Armbuster.

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