Furniture Max in Herndon anticipated supply chain issues and ordered stock well in advance (staff photo by David Taube)

People looking to get items from furniture stores in Fairfax County say employees have told them they may have to wait weeks or months before the stock arrives.

The delays are another symptom of the supply chain disruptions that the COVID-19 pandemic has introduced across the country, affecting industries from vehicles and food to homebuilding materials.

Brian Katz bought thousands dollars worth of furniture for a Labor Day sale in Bailey’s Crossroads, but three months later, he has yet to see the purchased bed frame, sofa with chaise, and other items.

“I am still waiting to receive any piece of furniture in my order,” Katz said in a Nextdoor post to neighbors.

Katz and his wife had been getting by with a makeshift sofa made out of blankets and a bedroll, but when he heard there would still be a delay a few weeks ago, he ordered a cheap futon from Amazon. It’s serving as a stopgap measure.

Delivery delays have been an issue for furniture stores nationwide throughout the past year. The Institute for Supply Management, a nonprofit organization, found furniture and related products had the biggest increase in backlogged orders in June compared to 17 other manufacturing industries.

The biggest uptick in backlogged orders has shifted to apparel, with the furniture sector having the second-most delays of that sort from July through September before scaling back and then no longer experiencing those kinds of extreme upticks as of November, according to stats from the institute.

The American Home Furnishings Alliance, an industry trade association, has attributed the challenges to increased demand for furniture, with more people continuing to work from home, as well as the lag time needed for manufacturers to restart operations after shutting down in March 2020.

In Herndon, Furniture Max higher-ups anticipated issues early in the pandemic, ordering around a year’s worth of furniture in the summer of 2020, said store manager Ali Baderzada. Many of the orders arrived six months later.

“Instead of ordering it monthly, we ordered it all at once,” he said. “We are still…getting those.”

That preparation means the store is now in the position to offer same-day and next-day delivery. Staff say they expanded that service to most in-store items this fall.

With the delays, many people have reported complaints to the Better Business Bureau, which can assist with getting refunds and resolutions. Customers have also shared their experiences on Google reviews.

Baderzada’s store has one BBB complaint, which is marked as resolved, and a Google review rating of 4.9 out of five stars. BBB’s database contains numerous complaints against different furniture chains amid the pandemic, where people say they paid upfront and still waited months after they expected items.

For Furniture Max’s Herndon location, many customer reviews say that, while other places across the region have had limited stock, they’ve been surprised and satisfied with their experiences there.

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