Summertime and the living is getting easier for many Americans who don’t have to worry about a zoonotic virus on vacation because they’re staying home and investing those savings into outdoor furniture.
Home furnishings Association members say they’re seeing an increase in outdoor furniture sales, as more customers choose staycations — trips to the backyard — over the traditional beach, mountain and lake trips.
Business has been up ever since HFA member Fruehauf’s Patio reopened last month in Westminster. Colo. Owner Meghan Maydew says there’s a common refrain from customers in the store. “They’re telling us if they’re not going anywhere this summer, they might as well be comfortable at home outdoors,” says Maydew. “Over and over again we’re hearing that. I think a lot of customers want to make the most of a bad situation. We’re happy to help them feel a little better.”
Travel plans changed
The virus has led a majority of Americans to change or cancel their summer travel plans, a recent poll from Longwoods International shows. The survey reports that 53 percent of U.S. travelers have altered or canceled their summer plans.
HFA member Brad Schweig of Sunnyland Outdoor Living in Texas is among them. Schweig’s family was set to take a Disney cruise as well as travel to Tennessee, but those plans are off for now. Instead, he’s bouncing between Sunnyland’s main store in Dallas and a new store that opened in October in nearby Frisco.
Sunnyland is one of the nation’s largest outdoor furniture stores. That large inventory has the business well over the last few weeks. “It’s nice that we’ve had the inventory to meet the demand,” says Schweig. “We’ve been busy every weekend for two or three weeks now — weekdays, too.”
Schweig says the anticipation of warm weather is always a factor in driving up outdoor furniture sales this time of year. But the spike in demand currently experienced by Sunnyland is due, he says, in part to the coronavirus pandemic. He notes that Sunnyland would be on track for a record year in sales were it not for March and April when both stores were forced to close because of the state’s stay-at-home orders.
“Take those two months out of the equation and we’d be on track for a phenomenal year,” says Schweig. But in the same breath, he jokes, “Unfortunately, I don’t think our accountants are going to let us do that.”
Schweig says there’s nothing in particular that’s selling more than anything else. “It’s all selling,” he says. “Sectionals, fire pits — if it can be set up outside, we’re doing a pretty good job of selling it.”