Local bakeries, pastry shops cope with shortages – Times News Online

Published October 23. 2021 07:21AM

To-go box? Maybe not.

As the domino effect of the pandemic continues, many business owners deal with constant change on a weekly basis.

There seems to be a shortage of just about everything right now, which causes uncomfortable challenges for local bakeries and pastry shops.

“Every day, every week is new,” said Christina Yurasits, owner of Blended Bakery in Lehighton.

“We have to continuously stay on top of things and be prepared. I can’t let my guard down and we have to know that every week is a new week, and we have to deal with it and figure it out.”

Yurasits posted on the bakery’s Facebook this week, alerting the public that prices will increase.

“The prices are through the roof, which is very painful,” Yurasits said.

“We don’t want to charge more to our customers, so we’ve been eating the cost and dealing with it. But I had to make that (Facebook) post. People have to understand that things cost a lot of money. If we’re going to survive and get through it, we’re going to have to start charging accordingly.”

Yurasits said a 50-pound box of shortening, which her bakery uses to make icing, was $50 just three months ago, and now it’s $91 for that same size.

“I only use certain brands of peanut butter and I only use certain cocoa,” she said. “There is always a shortage. We have a really hard time getting our Hershey’s cocoa and our Hershey’s’ chocolate chips. I love the brand and I really don’t want to bend, so it becomes difficult.”

Aimee Dotson, owner of Pamkakes in Tamaqua, shared some specific hard-to-find items.

“Believe it, or not, anything navy blue, I couldn’t find,” Dotson said. “Anything that’s edible in navy blue right now – it doesn’t exist. Every different vendor that I use, everyone is out of stock on navy blue. Every week is something different and the price of everything is insane.

Dotson said premade items such as gun-paste flowers for wedding cakes are also tough to come by.

“I think a lot of it is because people who are normally sitting and making these things, they didn’t work in almost a year. Whatever is there, is just depleted in supply, and nothing else is being made right now.”

In addition to food items and ingredients, a shortage of plastic and paper goods among local bakeries are a current common denominator.

“It’s usually the containers we put our stuff in to sell – we use the plastic containers with the snap lids,” said Kay Zamudia, of Kays Kakes in Tamaqua. “We switched to boxes for some of the things until they came back in stock. It’s kind of back-and-forth.”

Yurasits is also having container issues. Additionally, she said it took almost two months to obtain 20 oz. coffee cups.

“Our doughnut, cupcake and cake boxes are really in a shortage,” said Yurasits. “We’ve been warned by three of our distributors that we should be loading up for Thanksgiving, Christmas and after Christmas, because we won’t be able to get boxes at all. Papers and plastics are a nightmare. Eggs are also hard to find, but we find them – you just have to drive around and look for them.”

Kyle Underwood, owner of Donerds Donuts in Jim Thorpe, had no issues finding larger coffee cups, but could not find a smaller size for his customers.

“If someone wants a medium coffee, we use a 16 oz. cup and fill it to the medium line,” Underwood said. “Prices have gone up a little bit. It’s hard to find plastic cups and lids and stuff like that. Deliveries are also not arriving on time, or missing things, because what I’ve been told, there are not enough drivers.”

Kays Kakes and owner Kay Zamudia are one of many businesses in the sector dealing with a shortage of paper, plastic and much more. JUSTIN CARLUCCI/TIMES NEWS