MADISON HEIGHTS, Mich. — We’ve learned to have more family fun in our own backyards during this pandemic. Pools, hot tubs, and bikes were in high demand last year. Alicia Smith visited some local retailers to see how supply and demand is shaping up this spring and summer so you don’t waste your money.
Finding even a kiddie pool was a challenge for many folks last year.
I posted on social media asking people what was hard to come by.
Kevin said, “I was able to get an above-ground swimming pool installed last summer. It was very hard to find installers to complete this and it was horribly expensive."
Yes, pool sales soared. Last June, our crew stopped by Viscount Pools in Madison Heights, one of many retailers overwhelmed by the demand in 2020.
There were still quite a few spas and above-ground pools on the showroom floor back then.
“Now, no spa, no spa, no spa, Patio furniture,” said Bob Zacharski, owner of Viscount Pools.
Zacharski said the supply chains are a little slower than they were last year.
“The manufacturers and the vendors are having a difficult time fulfilling orders, purchase orders that we have written way back like last fall. So, right now we have a little bit of a waiting game,” Zacharski said.
If you’re lucky, Viscount will have a pool in inventory that you love. But if you want to order something very specific, Zacharski said it may take 30 to 60 days before it will come in
Also, there’s a chlorine shortage involving one of the most widely used chlorine tablets.
Zacharski said he’s seen some price increases from suppliers, but he urges pool owners not to hoard chlorine buckets like toilet paper because there are a lot of cost-effective alternatives out there.
This spring, even the business of servicing and renovating older pools is booming as George Suarez is experiencing. He is co-owner of Huntington Woods Pools and Spas.
“This year we were booked before the new year for this whole year, and we can’t fit one more pool renovation in,” Suarez said. “We’re taking deposits for next year already.”
“And when was the last time that happened,” 7 Action News Anchor Alicia Smith asked.
"That’s never happened,” Suarez replied.
So, when’s the next opening for a backyard pool renovation if you call today?
“As of right now, it’s May or June of next year. And that list continues to build,” Suarez said.
And Suarez added that his company is maxed out on handling pool openings until mid-June -- which is frustrating decades-old customers who aren’t used to having to wait.
If you want to build a pool from scratch, Suarez said all the pool builders he works with are booked with contracts for the next two or three years!
Shifting from water to land, how about getting a new bike?
“We still have people waiting weeks and in some cases months for a bicycle,” said Mike O’Donnell, General Manager at D & D Bicycles in Westland.
O’Donnell said his staff spends a lot of time apologizing for further shipping delays.
“Do you know if you’ve lost any business from people who were [saying] ‘I can’t wait that long. I need a bike now?’ asked 7 Action News Anchor Alicia Smith. “Unfortunately, yes,” answered O’Donnell.
However, he said more people are willing to ride out the wait because they understand the situation better now than they did last year.
If you want a high-performance bike, O’Donnell said expect a limited supply and not all sizes or colors available. But, he added, the good news is there are more e-bikes – the electric assist bikes – available along with a good number of children’s bikes on hand.