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Tulsa State Fair vendor impacted by supply chain shortages

Posted at 7:46 PM, Sep 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-23 20:46:22-04

TULSA, Okla. — As the State Fair returns to Tulsa next week, vendors are seeing the impact of supply chain issues.

“We’re ready for some customers," Karen Jencks, owner of Karen's concessions said.

Expo Square is gearing up to welcome back the fair after COVID-19 suspended the annual event last fall.

“You just get this feeling in the air that is fair time and you start getting excited,” Jencks said.

Its return has vendors like Jencks very excited.

“I love the fair, I love coming and working and a lot of people say, well that’s long hours. It’s fun hours though. You know, once you get everything set up and you get the public, I love it,” she said.

She has been a vendor at the fair for more than 20 years and owns seven stands. From sweet to savory, she sells all kinds of food favorites. Her best seller is chicken on a stick.

“Our products are homemade, we stick all of our own chicken, we marinate it, we batter it, and it just tastes wonderful," she said.

She said this year's return has not been as smooth as expected. Her chicken supplier notified her of order shortages and delays.

Jencks said right now, they have enough chicken supply to start with, but they are hoping to receive the rest of the order on time to make it through the fair.

“There’s not enough workers and when your company doesn’t have the right amount of manpower, it’s hard to get the right amount of anything out,” she said. “There’s nobody to work in the factory to process the chicken.”

Other items also hard to come by, 16 ounce cups and straws. She said shipment delays has also been an issue.

“Things are coming in much later. We tried to order a couple of fryers and we thought that you know...they would be in by the fair, "she said. "We got an e-mail saying they would be delivered December 5th and we’re like oh no no, we’re going to feed these people before then, so we had to go in locally and try to find what we needed.”

As they get ready to welcome fair goers once again, they are also in need of people willing to work their stands.

“That’s another one of our shortcomings this year is manpower. We need good people to come and work for us, we would love that," Jencks said.

Jencks is ready welcome back customers, they just ask for patience as they work through supply adjustments.

If you are interested in working one of their concessions, you can e-mail karensconcession@gmail.com.

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