N.S. electronic repair store feeling effects of China factory closures due to COVID-19

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WATCH: The coronavirus outbreak has forced the closure of factories across China and one business owner says if they don’t reopen soon, he may have to close his doors too. Graeme Benjamin reports. – Mar 3, 2020

The owner of a Nova Scotia device repair store says factories closing in China due to the coronavirus outbreak may have a detrimental impact on his business.

Nic Merry, the owner and founder of Geebo Device Repair, says his company relies on buying parts internationally, or from North American companies who purchase parts from China.

“We purchase a part, we repair the customer’s device,” Merry said. “Without that, we would lose almost 95 per cent of our revenue.”

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The Chinese government extended the Lunar New Year holiday to keep factories and offices closed as an anti-disease measure. Those factories help supply the world with smartphones, furniture, shoes, toys and household appliances.

Luckily, Merry was notified of the impending closure and was able to stock up on parts. But he says those parts can only last so long.

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“The factory was going to re-open at the beginning of February. It’s now at the beginning of March, and now we’re told (the factories will reopen in) April,” Merry said. “So we have no idea how long this is going to last for.”

Click to play video: 'How coronavirus is impacting the economy around the world' How coronavirus is impacting the economy around the world
How coronavirus is impacting the economy around the world – Mar 3, 2020

Merry worries if the factories don’t reopen soon, he simply won’t be able to stay afloat.

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“Without access to parts it could be extremely detrimental,” he said. “We could be looking at many things, maybe stores would need to close, staff would be laid off.”

“When we run out of parts, we can’t fix phones anymore. Plain and simple.”

The Halifax Port Authority says they’ve seen reduced cargo as a result of the outbreak, but it’s an issue that ports across North America are dealing with.

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“Some ports are getting hit harder than others and it really depends on where the goods are coming from,” said Lane Farguson, a spokesperson for the Halifax Port Authority. “The global supply chains have become very, very complicated, and we’re seeing the impact of that now.”

Farguson adds that the outbreak is also highlighting how interconnected supply chains have become.

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As for Merry, he says he hasn’t noticed a drop in revenue, but worries for smaller businesses trying to get off the ground who aren’t in the same position.

“They don’t have huge inventory, they don’t have stock that will last them a month or two,” he said. “They purchase their stocks, typically, on request, and maybe stock a week’s worth of the common things.”

“But with this being an issue they won’t be able to reach out to their supplier and restock, and we don’t even know when it will end.”

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