CAPITAL REGION — While many local businesses have been hit hard by the lockdown, one sector has been seeing high demand lately: pool stores.
“People are afraid they’re going to be locked in their house next year,” said Mike Delgallo, manager of Delgallo Country Pools. “If they’re forced to spend more time there, then they’ve got to have something to keep their kids busy and enjoy being there.”
Delgallo’s retail store in Schenectady has been seeing a high number of customers coming to buy chlorine, water tests, and pool noodles – partly due to his lax social distancing policy.
Delgallo said his employees prefer working without a mask while moving merchandise, like the 50-pound tubs of chlorine they’ve been selling quicker than usual.
While other pool stores have kept their storefronts closed, they’re still attracting homeowners looking to install or upgrade their pools.
“It’s not uncommon to see all the spots in our parking lot full of customers with their trunks open,” said Jon Fosee, President and CEO of Concord Pools in Latham.
Concord Pools allows curbside service for products including water tests, which customers can drop off to have their pool analyzed without coming into the storefront.
“People are spending more time at home. There’s tons of interest in new construction,” said Fosee.
When Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s “New York State on PAUSE” order took effect March 22, pool businesses got good news and bad news: while they couldn’t construct new pools since they weren’t considered essential construction, cleaning and maintaining pools was considered essential for safety.
“I lost two months of work and I will never get it back,” said Delgallo. “Not only that, the federal government is paying most of my employees more than I can and I can’t get some of them back.
Now that pool constructions are cleared to continue, companies including Delgallo Country Pools are competing to help thousands of homeowners build a place to splash around in their backyards.
It remains to be seen whether that new demand is enough to make up for the almost three months of lost business during the lockdown.