Many of us are just plain frustrated by bare shelves at the stores, whether it be a gaping hole where Fluffy’s food is supposed to be or maddening delays in getting that cool knit octopus hat you ordered, starting back with the whole toilet paper debacle in March, 2020. Enough already!

Business owners, consumer and government leaders we’ve talked to agree the situation with price increases and shortages now isn’t so much a run on buying certain products and hoarding, but that much-publicized problem with the “Supply Chain.” That’s forced us all to get creative and explore workarounds and maybe even discover that we can make some of our own products, saving $$$$!

But what about the business owner and restauranteurs?  They also have had to get creative in dealing with shortages and pricing issues.

Our Country Hearts owner, Jason Shaw, is in a unique position. Not only does his business at Route 26 and 38B in the Town of Maine sell American-made furniture, it is also a restaurant and gift shop and Shaw has been representing the 8th District on the Broome County Legislature since 2014, so he has a handle on what is going on throughout the entire county.

Shaw says his business has had to rethink everything from switching to other contractors when their usual suppliers have been unable to get materials or have been absorbed by other companies, to making adjustments to streamline the restaurant menu, removing items that aren’t so popular.

The owners of Henry’s Drive-In in Afton agree. The pandemic has challenged their creativity.  Daron Schultes says the eatery at 29 Main Street features home cooking, so any issues with getting ingredients may mean actual adjustments to their recipes.  Like us home cooks, they have had to turn to ingredient substitutions on occasion.

And, while the pandemic increased the popularity of take-out orders, a trend that is continuing, Schultes says another issue hitting the small restaurants and diners especially hard is the new ban on Styrofoam containers in New York.  Where the old foam take-out containers cost about $.15, recyclable cardboard options can cost $.75. It makes you appreciate what steps these small businesses are taking to try to keep from passing huge cost increases on to their customers.

Take a look at some ideas we have here for Supply Chain shortage workarounds and helpful substitutions and household hacks that could save you money:

Supply Chain Workarounds and Household Hacks

We're continuing to encounter bare supermarket shelves or just run out of stuff we need at home.

There are easy ways to make your own, or substitute ingredients to get around shortages or poor planning. Some can even save you a few bucks.

Check out these workarounds, substitutions and hacks.

See if you know the four most important things you should always keep on hand.

Binghamton Masonic Temple: An Exclusive Look Inside

It has been years since the historic Masonic Temple building on Binghamton's West Side was active. We toured the magnificent structure from top to bottom for a special photo gallery back in 2016.

The structure at Main and Murray streets was constructed in 1922. It was used for a wide range of events for several decades but it has been vacant for many years.

Although the building now is nearly a century old, it appears to be structurally sound. But as our tour this week revealed, plenty of work is needed to bring the place back to life.

THROUGH THE YEARS: The Construction Of The Veterans Memorial Arena

What is now known as the Visions Veteran Memorial Arena have been a staple of downtown Binghamton and the Southern Tier for the better part of 50 years. Hockey, concerts, graduations... it's been the hub of huge local events for a long time. Nearly everyone has been to an event at the arena at least once.

But how did it come to be? We dug around for some pictures of its early days...

BLAST FROM THE PAST: Take A Trip Through The TC Jets Past

Do you remember when semi-pro football was right here in the Southern Tier? The Triple Cities Jets were the talk of the town back in the day, and we're taking a look at some of the best bits of memorabilia from the Greater Binghamton Sports Hall of Fame.