Between Coronavirus and Summer Weather, Retailers Can't Keep Recreational Gear on the Shelves

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First, it was hand sanitizer and toilet paper that was hard to find after the beginning of the pandemic. Now, retailers say outdoor gear is flying off the shelves and they are struggling to keep up with demand.

At Monahan's Marine in Weymouth, Massachusetts, business has never been better, but the showroom has never looked so empty.

"People think we're going out of business when they come in here. Kayaks are totally out of stock. I have very few inflatable boats, and bigger boats, I have none left," general manager Wally Eastman said.

Eastman said the issue is two-fold. The pandemic has more people looking to get outside, but a lot of manufacturers were temporarily shut down during the peak, so they are behind on production. With only so many slots to build boats, he expects the shortage to last beyond this summer.

"They're telling me Christmas, I might be able to get stuff," Eastman said. "But we won't have some inventory for six to seven months, so if you want a new boat for next year, make your order now."

It is a similar story at Levitate surf shop in Marshfield. Co-owner Dan Hassett said it is not only water sports -- their stock of skateboards is limited, too, and their paddle boards will not be in until August.

"We've started making waiting lists for the incoming products before they even arrive," Hassett said.

Hassett said what he does have in stock goes fast, but shipping is still slow. An order of beach towels was delayed a month.

"It's tough when people come in and you don't have what they want," Hassett said. "But we're trying to make the best of it."

Hassett said there is a silver lining with many people trying outdoor activities for the first time. He hopes they will get hooked and become customers for life.

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