First and foremost, we want to thank everyone for their support and shopping local, and wish you all the best and a happy and healthy New Year!
Where to start? 2022 will go down in history as the year when everything was supposed to go back to normal, and didn't! The year started out well enough with restrictions and lock downs lifted in most places and people starting to go about their lives again, and then somehow managed to descend into utter chaos! Chaos in airports, commercial container ports, manufacturing hubs, factories, the entire global supply chain broke down. There was a shortage of raw materials, workers, trucks, truck drivers, containers, container ships, port space, rail capacity and a strike at the port of Nova Scotia and port of Los Angeles, where most goods bound for the west coast come through. Everything suddenly got very expensive, inflation started to become a serious issue and price increases were so frequent they were hard to keep up with. Hopefully some of this will reverse itself again this year. Fingers crossed!
Unfortunately, the pandemic as a whole and last years mayhem on top was not good for many of our smaller, family owned and mom and pop suppliers, people that make special things for specialty stores like ours. They didn't have the deep pockets necessary to continue, and we sadly have seen too many retire or sell their businesses to larger firms. They will be missed!
On the bright side, hope springs eternal and we've also met a number of entrepreneurs that against all odds have recently entered our industry and will happily keep us supplied with the special things and diamonds-in-the-rough products we always aim to find, and some of our existing vendors have added to their product line-up with great success. Luke and Ben in Kelowna come to mind, everyone of all ages seems to love their 3-D printed (from vegetable filament!) Curious Critters - people buy them for their desks at work as much as for their kids! Djeco keeps on making and adding some of the most well thought out, classic and timeless products out there, and the Magna Tiles Animals expansion sets have been a big hit, with the addition of the Dino and Forest Animal sets in the fall, just in time for the holidays! Others worth mentioning are Melanie in Montreal and her Kids Map and Kids Explorer Map, easiest the nicest and most interactive world maps for kids we've seen, and the Marble Circuit and Marble Circuit Junior by Mind Ware are a recent addition that's been a hit with kids and adults alike! So, the circle of life continues, some things leave, some things join us. Let's see what this year brings - all we can say for sure is, it will be an interesting year. Once again, fingers crossed!