Bicycles, exercise equipment, freezers, hair clippers, and thermometers are among the items seeing an upsurge in consumer demand as a result of the coronavirus. According to Ron Perkins, general manager of Seven Seas Pools & Spas which has locations in Clarion and DuBois, swimming pools could also be added to the list.
“We’ve been staying busy through this whole thing and are super happy to help clients find new and different ways to enjoy their summer,” Perkins said.
“People are being more cautious of travel. A lot of vacations are canceled so they decided this is the year they are finally putting something in the backyard they can use all the time and spend time with their kids. It’s just getting back to that home core value and entertainment space in the backyard.”
Unfortunately for many, however, they may have waited a bit too long and now can’t find the pool they want.
“We don’t install above-grounds (pools) at Seven Seas, but I know through other dealers that right now there aren’t any left to buy,” he said. “Manufacturers have hit max capacity. Pretty much unless it’s sitting on the floor, you can’t order one, you can’t get one.
“We only do custom in-grounds. Pretty much everyone I’ve talked to is booked for the year and is booking next year. We’re taking names for waitlists. There’s a lot of different facets causing longer wait times on top of the actual demand.”
One reason for lags in the installation of in-ground pools is difficulty getting pool heaters. “Pool heaters are the hardest thing to come across, there is a three-to-four month backlog. If you don’t have the heater to build the pool, it’s kind of hard to keep construction going,” Perkins said.
In addition to pools, Perkins has also seen increased demand for related products, including solar covers and chemicals. Though the chemicals aren’t in short supply as many dealers have already bought for the season well in advance, but lack of packaging has stretched the supply chain.
“I had a call the other day. It isn’t with the chemicals, it’s with packaging. Getting bottles and things to put the chemicals in has become an issue,” Perkins said.
Other hot sellers include hot tubs and, especially in the Tri-County Area, swim spas. Designed like a hot tub but larger, swim spas allow users to swim against a cool water current, but can also be heated for a warm soak.
Perkins advises patience for anybody seeking a pool, hot tub or swim spa. “Take your time and don’t buy just because it’s available. It’s a major investment. Do the research, find a reputable dealer. Don’t buy something that’s not right or the quality you need.”