Last-minute crunch underway for holiday shipping, ordering

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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - At Sweets Handmade Candies on South Virginia Street, it's crunch time.

"This week, we will do extremely busy days every single day right up to Christmas," says owner Becky Cavender.

Not only are customers coming in and buying what they can, they are getting in those last-minute orders that need to be filled and shipped as soon as possible.

"We'll continue to ship as long as people order, but I would say to really be sure you're going to get it there on time, today or tomorrow would be your last day because you've got to give us some time to get it ready," says Cavender, who has had the shop in Reno for 18 years.

This isn't just a busy time for these chocolatiers, it's one of their most important. Cavender says the holiday season accounts for about a third of their yearly sales. And while her employees are working quickly to get every order sent out, shipping companies are on overdrive trying to make those deliveries.

Gretchen Mathis with FedEx Media Relations says the company expects to see a record number of packages once again-- somewhere between 380 and 400 million-- traverse its global network. She says the growth of e-commerce is fueling the increased volume through the FedEx network, especially now during the holiday season. To keep up with demand, FedEx increased hours for some existing employees and also increased its workforce with seasonal positions.

The United States Postal Service is feeling the increased demand, too.

"This year there has been an insane amount of packages that has come through," says Randi Jones, Supervisor of Customer Service Support. "I know we scanned 10,000 packages just today."

At Reno's main post office on Vassar Street, the line wasn't too long during lunch hour Monday. But customers and post office workers say they expect the line to get longer over the next several days. Jones says people who still have packages that need to be shipped should be thinking about Wednesday.

"Biggest deadline right now is the two-day priority packaging that is on the 20th so that is in two days. That will get there before Christmas or you have the express mail which is overnight. That will get there before Christmas is if you ship it on the 22nd."