Supply chain problems — from salsa to sheet metal — are hampering Colorado businesses’ coronavirus recovery

Shannon Najmabadi
Colorado Sun
DENVER, CO – AUGUST 3: Production lead Maeve Wenglewick carries ingredients to the ice cream maker as she works to make nine gallons of strawberry ice cream. It has been challenging to get the fresh frozen strawberries, as well as strawberry puree, that is used to make their strawberry ice cream. Crews at Little Man Ice Cream Factory at 4411 W. Colfax Ave., continue to prepare their special recipes despite experiencing shortages in ingredients and supplies on August 3, 2021 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo By Kathryn Scott)

Salsa -maker Amy Lasley used to throw away the disposable gloves she wears during food preparation. But as the price of nitrile gloves skyrocketed in recent months, she’s started to disinfect them with bleach and reuse them for cleaning outside the kitchen.

Other items are more expensive, too: The glass jars she packs her salsa in cost 8.5 to 17 cents more each. A case of cream cheese used to make dips went up $10 in less than a month and a half. And the rising price per gallon of fuel has prompted her to try to make fewer van deliveries from her Fort Collins warehouse.

Her Rocky Mountain Salsa Company is one of dozens of Colorado businesses facing increasing costs and lengthy wait times to purchase items ranging from chicken wings to sheet metal as supply chain crunches disrupt markets across the globe. Experts forecast the disruptions will last for months, and that consumer prices will likely go up as businesses grapple with high expenses on top of labor shortages.

After a year of coronavirus-restrictions, the shortages are like a “hangover of this pandemic,” said Diane Schwenke, head of the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce. “A year ago we were talking about a potential for a shortage of (personal protective equipment) and you know masks and gloves, hospital gowns. And now it’s expanded to just about every aspect of everyone’s life.”

Big international companies like Ford Motor Company and Sony Corp. have had to stall production due to lack of semiconductors and other parts. But independent businesses with thin margins — or those that saw anemic growth during the pandemic — may be particularly hard-pressed to weather the added costs.

To continue reading, go to

More Like This, Tap A Topic

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

The Sky-Hi News strives to deliver powerful stories that spark emotion and focus on the place we live.

Over the past year, contributions from readers like you helped to fund some of our most important reporting, including coverage of the East Troublesome Fire.

If you value local journalism, consider making a contribution to our newsroom in support of the work we do.