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City of Decatur holiday decorations delayed due to disruptions in labor market

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City of Decatur holiday decorations delayed due to disruptions in labor market

FILE PHOTO FROM 2015: More than a thousand people fill the lot in front of Brick Store and Little Shop of Stories in downtown Decatur for the annual tree lighting on Thursday. Photo: Jonathan Phillips

Decatur, GA — You could call it the Labor Shortage That Delayed Christmas, but that would be oversimplifying things a bit.

As with most things related to the current economy, the truth is more nuanced. A reader asked Decaturish why the city of Decatur hasn’t installed its Christmas decorations yet. The decorations — featuring ribbons, wreaths and lights adorning polls throughout the city — usually go up right after Halloween. But as of Nov. 17, the decorations haven’t gone up yet.

Decaturish asked the city about the delay. City officials said a labor shortage is to blame.

“The company has a shortage of workers,” Assistant City Manager Linda Harris said. “They should be going up this week.”

Downtown Program Manager Shirley Baylis said the decorations will be up by Dec. 2.

“The company that installs our decorations is Universal Concepts,” Baylis said. “As with many businesses, they are experiencing a labor shortage and working hard to get our decorations installed before Dec. 2.”

Universal Concepts, based in Cumming, GA, clarified that one of its suppliers is having a problem finding workers and that in turn has delayed the company’s work in Decatur. Manager Ryan Fulwood said the city of Decatur wanted to replace many of the bows in this year’s decorations. But that proved tricky.

“They’re made in Alabama,” Fulwood said. “They had a shortage of workers.”

The company also had a problem securing the materials needed to complete the project.

“Materials is a problem everywhere,” Fulwood said.

Decatur’s decorative delay might be a sign of other holiday-related disruptions. CNBC reports there could be a shortage of real and artificial Christmas trees this year due to supply chain issues.

“The world’s supply chain – a connective tissue for commerce – is under pressure from surging consumer demand, labor shortages and overseas manufacturing delays,” CNBC reported. “Supply chain disruptions, which were further exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, have led to higher freight costs, delivery times and inflation.”

But if you’re concerned about Decatur’s decorations, worry not, Fulwood said.

“There’s nothing wrong,” Fulwood said. “I promise y’all, Christmas is coming.”

Editor’s note: The photo for this story was provided by Jonathan Phillips, who has contributed to Decaturish in the past. To see his website, click here

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