ST. LOUIS ( -- Supply chain problems have contributed to the increasing cost of everything from cars to furniture to bacon. And they've made it take longer, in some cases, to get a car repaired.

Joe Barbaglia is the owner of Columbia Auto Report on Southwest Boulevard.

"I've never, never seen anything like this," he said.

Barbaglia said he has spent up to four hours in a day trying to track down auto parts. He said the delays in getting a part can be longer when ordering it from a car dealership.

"They'll say, okay 10 days. Sometimes three weeks. I've waited for one part and it was 2-and-a-half months," he said.

Diner's Delight on South Compton will celebrate its 53rd anniversary in March. Co-owner Greg Houston said the family business has never gone through anything like the product shortages they're seeing right now.

Houston said catfish was recently in short supply and he couldn't get beef ribs.

"It's been hit and miss. One time we couldn't get corn meal for a minute. Couldn't find black eyed peas," said Houston.

Webster University Associate Professor of Finance, Mitchell Ellison, Ph.D., is hopeful that the supply chain problem has turned the corner.

Ellison said there are still many reports of shortages of items but wonders how much of that is the impact of a shortage of truck drivers to haul those products. He said the backups of container ships at ports waiting to be unloaded has improved. Ellison added that toilet paper, paper towels and hand sanitizer are plentiful now.

Barbaglia said he's also seen some hopeful signs.

"It seems like it is getting a little better. It's not as bad as it was like three or four months ago," he said.

Ellison said a much clearer picture will start to emerge beginning next week.

"The real breakthrough is going to come when companies start reporting earnings this next week," said Ellison.

Earnings reports will likely include an update on supply chain issues, Ellison said.

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