coronavirus pandemic

Businesses Specializing in Outdoor Items Thrive Amid Pandemic

As people social distance at home, businesses say there is an increased demand for things like swing sets, pools, saunas and kayaks

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While many businesses are struggling to survive during the coronavirus pandemic, ones that specialize in selling outdoor items say they are thriving as people social distance at home.

It appears people are taking the money they're saving on those canceled vacations and putting it into making memories at home, buying swing sets and pools to create a "staycation."

Darren Bemister's family has been in the business of backyard fun in New Hampshire for the better part of the last century.

"We have been doing it since 1942," he said outside his Salem store Wednesday.

Bemister said business has never been better and sales are at least double what they were at this time last year.

"We're so busy it's overwhelming," he said. "We're all working 10 to 12 hour days trying to keep up. We are very lucky to have business booming."

He added that patio furniture is tough to keep on the floor, pools and hot tubs are flying off the shelves and kayaks are a hot item too.

"I went to purchase a kayak but they didn't have it in stock, then they found it in a warehouse and I was fortunate enough to get it," said Derry resident Harland Brown who was headed up to his cottage to do some fishing.

It's just as busy over at Swings 'n Things in Kingston, New Hampshire.

"Our trucks are coming in, they're 52-foot flatbed trailers full of swing sets, and they're literally all sold before they even get to our location," store manager Tonya Woodcock said.

She said the phone is ringing off the hook as parents desperately search for swing sets to get their kids out of the house.

"One of the biggest things I hear is, 'nobody has any, everybody is out of stock,'" Woodcock said.

There is proof that while vacations are on hold, families are still spending money, but these days the memories are being made at home.

"I'm a mom of two so to me, it's incredible to watch these kiddos get exactly what they want," Woodcock said.

At Swings 'n Things, sales are up about 50% from this time last year. Woodcock said they are trying to restock their swing sets just as quickly as they're sold.

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