Ontario prepper businesses see Trump bump
Some disaster supply stores are reporting a spike in orders of survivalist gear, especially from the U.S.
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There may be a silver lining to that mushroom cloud of anxiety over Donald Trump.
Business is booming for some local retailers who specialize in survivalist, or so-called “prepper,” supplies.
Robert Studer, who runs the Oshawa-based online store Survival Central, estimates there’s been a 25 per cent increase in orders for items like generators and bulk freeze- dried food since November.
The Trump bump is mostly for orders coming in from the U.S., but there are some new Canadian customers in the mix, Studer said.
“There’s definitely a heightened sense of dread. The uncertainty is causing people to sit there and say, ‘OK, well what can I do for my family to prepare?’”
There have been other signs that fears of a Trumpocalypse, whatever that might entail, are causing ripples of prepper-like behaviour across North America.
Earlier this month, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported a spike in orders for solid-steel bomb shelters.
Eric Pinkerton, who runs the online store Rapid Survival, said he’s definitely seen a jump in customers from the U.S., which he attributes “directly to Trump” and the low Canadian dollar.
Pinkerton, who’s based in Orillia, sells everything from 72-hour survival kits to "the odd gas mask". Sales of radios and water-purification supplies have surged the most, he said.
Toronto’s Eric Somerville, who runs a tongue-in-cheek Zombie Survival Camp for adults, has even seen more registrations this year.
He’s heard more than a few jokes that the camp needs a new name.
“There’s been a few references to the Trump Presidency and whether or not we’ll rebrand as a Trump survival camp,” he said with a laugh.
Overall, the uncertain times are also causing a shift in attitudes, Studer said. Preppers are less and less categorized as a fringe group consumed with building underground bunkers.
“It is becoming more mainstream, going back to our grandparent’s mentality where you have something just in case something goes wrong,” he said.