Russia-Ukraine war’s impact on industry, economic development in ENC

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – For Pam Carroway in Uptown Greenville, she was ready to close what she called the “pandemic chapter,” as business returned to normal at Votre Boutique.

“We were only closed for about a month [in 2020] but business was slow through ‘21,” Carroway said. “And then we moved here [Greenville] Aug. 1 of 2021, and it has been fabulous. It is a true blessing.”

But with the Russia-Ukraine war going on, Carroway imagined how business could be affected again, as some of her inventory comes from overseas.

“You have to be very careful how you order,” Carroway said. “You ask [if the order is] outside the country? Cause you may get a delay, you may not order from that line. Do they already have it in stock in the United States at a warehouse? How long will it take to get it? So you have to do a lot more research in where you’re ordering your garments from.”

Despite having a “full house of clothing,” at Votre Boutique, Carroway added how shipping costs have increased.

“Shipping costs have gone up,” Carroway said. “And shipping, just in the United States with our carriers, have been delayed. I’m not sure if it’s because of labor.”

Four doors down, a confectionary that opened on Tuesday in Uptown Greenville makes do with what’s available.

Over the Top Sweet Shop owner, Lorri Ballejos said getting supplies such as truffles has been difficult due to high demand.

“I have products that I ordered last September that still hasn’t come in yet,” Ballejos said.

But despite the ongoing issues with the supply chain and inflation, on top of what’s going on internationally, Ballejos remains positive.

“There’s never ever any guarantees no matter when you open,” Ballejos said. “The economy could be perfect and then crash the next day. You just have to take it by faith and keep going.”

There’s a lot of uncertainty as to how the Russia-Ukraine war will impact the U.S. economy, but Greenville ENC Alliance’s Uconda Dunn discussed what impacts we could see to the industry and economic development in eastern North Carolina, as the City of Greenville and ECU prepares for major upgrades.

“The crisis is gonna slow down how long it takes for a company to make a decision,” Dunn said.

“They’re gonna have to reevaluate their products, they’re gonna have to reevaluate their materials coming in for the end product, and what those cost associated with getting those supplies in, so this is just not an “A, B,” type effect, it’s an “A through Z” effect. It will affect everything in the decision-making process.”

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