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Ontario prepper businesses see Trump bump

Some disaster supply stores are reporting a spike in orders of survivalist gear, especially from the U.S.

It's not quite this bad, but some are stocking up on supplies for the Trump era.

Torstar News Service file

It's not quite this bad, but some are stocking up on supplies for the Trump era.

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.

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