The emergency-preparedness business got a boost from the December earthquake prediction and has stayed strong during the Middle East crisis.
The quake never materialized, but sales of emergency-preparedness kits and other materials zoomed in Salt Lake County. Retailers say sales remained strong during the holidays and haven't flagged since.Many of them report that customers are concerned war in the Mideast could eventually wind up on their doorstep.
At least one business is playing off that concern by building an advertising campaign around the Persian Gulf crisis.
A spokeswoman for Food Storage Sales said the company has "gotten a lot of response" from the ad, which she said specifically referred to the possibility of a war with Iraq.
Other companies aren't advertising the war crisis but are getting a similar response.
Donna Geisler, manager of Emergency Essentials, said the store was busy Tuesday with customers "buying up everything we had." Tuesday was the deadline set by the United Nations for Iraq's withdrawal from Kuwait.
Geisler said many customers told her they were stocking up on emergency supplies because they were worried about the threat of terrorism.
"The only thing I can tell you is it's been extremely good and very busy," she said. "People have been standing in line."
Dorothy Callister, an employee at Salt Lake Perma Pak, said she was called in to help handle the extra business. The store has sold many water containers and pre-packaged kits that hold enough emergency supplies to last three days.
Bobbie Sladick, a receptionist at Rocky Mountain Water, said the company has had a moderate increase in people inquiring about the shelf life and prices of bottled water. A few customers have said they were stockpiling water because they are worried about a war in the Mideast.
Mount Olympus Water reported receiving about 30 inquiries on storing water Tuesday. A company employee described that as an "unusual" number of calls and said business had been "very, very quiet until the last couple of days."
Todd Snow, regional sales manager for the company, believes the war is feeding interest in emergency preparedness.
"What it does is make people think," he said of the political unrest. "Who knows what could happen with municipal water supplies?"