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'It makes me sick what I have to charge them' | Triad furniture builder on how skyrocketing lumber prices impact business

The supply chain problem has widespread consequences, especially for industries that need lumber.

ALAMANCE COUNTY, N.C. — The supply chain problem has widespread consequences, especially for industries that need lumber.

Since April 2020, lumber prices have soared 200 percent, according to the National Home Builders Association. The supply is low and the demand is high. Small businesses are feeling the ripple effects.

Tom Morgan said his furniture building business all started around nine years ago when his wife saw a post of a wooden bench on Pinterest.

"She asked my son and I if I could build it, and I was like, of course, I have a couple tools, I could make it. It took three days, but it turned out really cool," he said. 

From there, the idea blossomed and grew into their business: Soulful Haven. He's now crafting tables, swings, bed frames, and all kinds of other unique pieces. Morgan says, it really picked up three years ago, as he started working out of his father-in-law's Alamance County woodshop. 

"We keep our scraps because with the price of wood, all of that is treasure. Some might think it is scrap, but we find uses for it."

Over the past year, he's watched the price of lumber skyrocket - now, higher than he's ever seen it. 

"Last fall, a 2 x 4, just an 8 foot 2 x 4 - it was $3.23," he said, "Today, it's over $7.25."

More than two times the price. Morgan says, more expensive materials mean a higher cost for his clients. Usually, almost double.

"There are some clients that are like, oh my gosh, because of wood prices, we’re just gonna have to hold off - and I'm like, I don’t know when they’re coming back down," he explained, "But some clients say that they’ll take it anyway...But, it makes me sick what I have to charge them."

Home sales have also been impacted. The National Association of Home Builders says lumber prices add nearly $36,000 to the price of a new home.

Morgan's concern and burning question is also on the minds of many builders.

"I just would like to know if anybody can predict or tell me with some sense when the prices might ease up?"

An important question without a concrete answer - affecting businesses and livelihoods everywhere.