LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — As more people are spending time at home and cancelling vacations due to COVID-19, they are making their own home a vacation spot.
There's been a spike in sales for pools and other backyard accessories in Arkansas and across the country.
Richard Uekman, owner of Family Leisure in Little Rock, said big summer spending usually kicks off Memorial Day weekend, but this year it started earlier and has been continually steady.
"This year we started seeing an increase in customers six weeks earlier than that," said Uekman.
Because of COVID-19, he's seen a surge in interest for anything that can make the backyard feel like a getaway. Many of his customers' planned getaways have been cancelled amidst the pandemic so they are using the money elsewhere.
"We've been selling above-ground and in-ground pools and play gyms and we have seen a good uptick in spa sales and patio furniture," he said. "People are investing the money in the house because they know they can use it for a long time to come and since they can't take that vacation."
Jeff Self, owner of Jeff Self Pools and Spas in Bryant, said they are seeing the same surge in sales.
"We have been swamped with calls and the schedule is full," he said.
Co-Owner, Deborah Self, said people are spending the money to make their backyard feel more like a resort.
"A lot of people are looking for more toys like fountains and aesthetic things like lighting around the pool making it have a resort feel," she said. "They want it to feel like a vacation so they are looking at things like this and people with new pools are wanting extras to make it feel more like a resort."
As more people request these products and services, the demand has been hard to meet not only for the Self's but for Uekman too.
"I think, overall, we'll see good numbers this summer but with a finite amount of installation capacity and inventory we might have compressed this summer earlier than normal," he said.
He said people interested in these items should call quick so they don't miss out.
"There's still a high demand so we're trying to do everything we can to get everyone taken care of," he said.