2020 was quite a year.  It’s hard to even think back to the days of lock down when chicken, toilet paper, and Lysol® were difficult to come by.  It feels like it was both yesterday and a lifetime ago at the same time.  But here we are!  It’s a new year and, while COVID-19 is not fully in our rearview mirror, we are most certainly turning a corner. 


Many companies have yet to bring back tradeshows, in-person meetings, or conventions, though we are starting to see some planning begin for events happening in Q3 and Q4.  Along the same line, many organizations have slowly started to roll out “Return to Work” Plans.  The plans are often including a hybrid/flex schedule as employees have proven their abilities to be effective and productive at home, while continuing to promote in-person collaboration.  Here at City Paper, we are operating on a flexible 3-day schedule through at least the Summer.  


With the rattling of 2020, we are seeing some downsides in the packaging and promo industries – none of which we expect to surprise anyone.  Freight and logistics have been a challenge.  Transportation costs have gone up as the shipping industry is experiencing more demand with not enough drivers or carriers.  There is a global shortage of shipping containers, primarily a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.  What we are recommending to customers is to plan as far in advance what they need well in advance of when they need to receive it.  We are doing what we can to promote domestic goods, including Made in USA promotional items and packaging.  This not only helps keep freight costs down, but simultaneously allows for a quicker receipt of product as many overseas jobs are taking longer to produce and certainly longer for shipping than usual.


The Covid-19 pandemic led to a quick shift for many promotional product companies to supply PPE materials, including nitrile gloves, hand sanitizer and face masks.  City Paper was not exempt from this switch.  We made the pivot early on in March as Covid-19 began to make its way to the United States.  We are grateful we could help our customers gain access to the necessary supplies they needed to safely stay open for business.  So many of our customers are businesses and industries we all rely on daily – banking, retailers, restaurants, manufacturing companies, etc.  Business could not just stop for them or their organizations and certainly their employees would suffer.  


It’s a blessing to start to see PPE subside a bit as it means we are returning to a (new) normal.  It does seem that we will continue to experience price increases with material costs continuing to rise, as well as inventory challenges that will likely occur through the end of 2021.  We are prepared as a company to communicate these changes as quickly as we are made aware of them and be ready to offer back up suggestions as needed.