I live on an island in Alaska. My only options for purchasing cake supplies locally is a 6 foot section in Walmart, which is filled with mostly wedding decorations; and an independently owned party store, which has less of a selection but the owner is willing to do what she can to stock supplies.
A friend and I decided to place an order with a company she found online. They charge a $10 fee for shipping to Alaska, on top of their shipping prices, plus an extra fee for odd-sized items. When she placed the order, after the fees, our shipping came to $50, which is a lot, but we understand that living in Alaska comes with a cost. The company emailed her today, the actual shipping cost would be $110. We cancelled the order quickly.
I've been looking at lots of sites to find what I need. I want boxes in various sizes, but I don't will never use a case. Most places charge over $100 for shipping for a $50 order. I understand that many places charge by weight and not everything will fit into a flat rate priority box, but it gets a bit discouraging sometimes.
Do you buy your supplies online? What are the shipping charges?
Are there any local bakeries or grocery stores with bakery departments? You may be able to work with them if you need supplies. If they place orders for supplies regularly the bakery may be able to add your items to their next order, and you could reimburse them for the cost plus a markup (which would probably be far less than the shipping).
I feel your pain. I'm in the Anchorage area. Thankfully, we do have a Partycraft up here with a pretty good supply of boxes and other cake supplies. We also have Michael's and Joann's.
I broke down about a year or so ago and ordered cases of certain items (boxes, lollipop sticks, etc). The order totaled $250 and the shipping was an additional $250! Of course, they didn't clue me in to the shipping cost until it'd already shipped, or I may have cancelled the order.... But as I got the supplies wholesale, it ended up costing me normal retail in the end.
I've always paid as much for shipping as for the item being shipped it seems.
If you have specific items you're looking for, maybe I could pop over to the Partycraft and get them for you and send them your way via in-state shipping.
Thanks Tricia... I'm currently in Kodiak... I don't go to Anchorage often, but a friend of mine will be there next week. She looked at Michael's and JoAnn's for me last week, but they didn't have what I needed, so I'll send her to Partycraft. If I was in business and not planning on moving next year I'd buy cases, but they would outlast me.
I find most vendors are willing to help with flatrate shipping, I actually ask that question before placing an order. What is to heavy like fondant or sweetex I order from Global Sugar & they ship it regular parcel post (sea) I make sure I order that well in advance & they are most kind about doing it.
We do have a section here on Kauai in our local hardware store that stocks as much as they can & that helps a lot.
I feel your pain about shipping charges........