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As a sales manager for the plumbing, heating and appliance supplier Ferguson Enterprises, Phillip Carr witnessed escalating demand for appliance repair early in the pandemic. He sold to builders, so he had already seen how fragile the global supply chain has become. Then the machines — and the parts that compose them — became scarce because of trade disputes with China and Germany, shuttered factories and manufacturers converting to make protective equipment. He decided to go over to the other side — where the jobs were.
“It used to be if an appliance got damaged but was still workable, the customers would return it to get a new one. They don’t do that now because there’s no new ones to get,” Carr said. “So that’s added to the amount of repairs that need to be done and backing up repair people as well. Because if it’s working, people are going to have to keep it.”
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