Demand for pools creates some sell-outs
FINGER LAKES--With travel greatly restricted during the pandemic, many Finger Lakes residents are instead planning for staycations, resulting in a high demand for pool installations. Pool stores throughout the region are reporting not only is demand very high, but the COVID-19 pandemic has at the same time created a shortage in supply.
"It's the prime season to begin with and the weather has been in the 80s and 90s and those things combined create a lot of excitement in the business," said Tom Witzel, owner of Hesselson's in Elmira. "On top of that a lot of people are staying home and not traveling and making their backyard their vacation so there has been a great increase in traffic for people buying pools and hot tubs."
John Crane, manager of Finger Lakes Pools and Spas in Canandaigua, agreed business has been booming during the spring.
"We are currently out of pools, I have sold about 35 pools in the last two weeks and I can't get any more in," Crane said. "Every day I get calls and emails from people who want pools and I can't even get any for them."
Witzel, who said Hesselson's does installations in a roughly 70-mile radius around Elmira, said while he still had a small supply of pools in stock, he expects to be out by the time this article runs for publication.
"We will still have hot tubs, pool supplies and chemicals," Witzel said.
Witzel added he believes the stimulus money every American received from the federal government has also been a driving factor in sales.
"People want to spend their money to help the local economy," Witzel stated.
Crane, who said his store does installations consistently in Yates County, said the drive in demand has not just been from families looking for fun at home, but for adults looking for fitness and outdoor activities while being able to stay home.
"People have been coming in since March buying hot tubs off the showroom floor," Crane added. "It's almost desperation at this point. I have been here 10 years and honestly, I have never seen this level of demand."
Due to the pandemic, Crane said he expects the consumer economy to adapt to meet the new normal.
"This is definitely the stay at home era we are going through, people are scared to go out so this is part of the new normal... and might represent a shift in the economy," Crane said.
Both Crane and Witzel said they are unsure of when a resupply of pools will come in, but Witzel said he was confident that when they do, it will be almost the end of the season.
"We are in a wait and see mode right now, supply has been tricky with factories in New York, California and Mexico shut down," Witzel commented. "People have been patient in uncertain times...but it'll be August, the end of the season, before we get more pools in."