Freezers in short supply as harvest approaches

A national shortage has storage freezers sold out across our region.
A national shortage has storage freezers sold out across our region.(WCAX)
Published: Sep. 14, 2020 at 3:15 PM EDT
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) -The COVID-19 pandemic has left many products in short supply. If you’re looking to stockpile some food, you may have trouble finding a freezer to put it in.

Lou Harper and his family decided to expand their garden this year in Sangerville.

“We planted approximately twice as much as ever thinking we’re going to put them in the new freezer.”

But when he went to purchase a new freezer in April, he was told they were out of stock.

“We’ll be glad to put your name on the list here.”

April turned to May, then June, July, August. Every place he called said the same thing, no freezers.

“In fact one of them, I’ll leave them nameless, said we don’t have any freezers and we don’t know if we we’re ever gonna sell them again and I go Whoa! This is a bit much.”

“We’re taking 20 to 40 phone calls a day.”

Matt Littlejohn, sales manager at Dunnett Appliance and Mattress in Bangor says orders for refrigerators and freezers have skyrocketed as people stockpile food during the pandemic.

“Those are the two products that have really been heavily hit.”

But it isn’t just an increase in demand causing the shortage.

“Big factor that a lot of people are unaware of is they’re changing the refrigerants to a more eco friendly refrigerant.”

Factories that had shut down to retool for the new refrigerant are also contending with COVID-19 and supply line problems.

“It really is the perfect storm you have the pandemic, parts shortages, factories closing.”

Dunnett Appliance says they have a waiting list of hundreds, and it keeps growing.

“Once a week we’ll get two or three freezers here and there but it’s just not filling the back orders.”

As for Harper...

“Here I sit with a garden full of vegetables and a little tiny freezer.”

He and his wife have turned to drying, canning, and giving away food to keep it from spoiling.

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