Why the pandemic has some businesses booming

BRADFORD, Vt. (WCAX) There is no doubt that the shutdown hit some businesses very hard, especially those in the restaurant and hospitality industry. But for others, it's been a banner year.

"It's busier than normal," said Jim Musty of J&M Landscaping in Bradford.

J&M Landscaping chose to temporarily close when the pandemic hit. They then went to curbside pickup and eventually reopened inside. The demand was obvious.

"A lot of vegetables, a lot of raised beds," Musty said. "We've gone through just truckload after truckload of compost soils and mixes."

Across the river in Piermont, New Hampshire, there was a similar selling spree.

"We don't have much left," said Abby Metcalf of Plant Pantry. "They were staying home so they wanted to beautify their home and grow a vegetable garden. So we sold a lot of vegetables and a lot of annuals."

Farther south in Thetford at E.C. Brown's Nursery, it was the fruit that was flying out of the yard.

"There's people who have been here 35, 25 years and they have never seen it this busy before," said Charlie Acker of E.C. Brown's Nursery. "A ton of blueberries. We've sold probably 400 blueberry bushes and pears, peaches, plums."

"It's absolutely crazy the amount of recreational items, as well," said Brian Baird of Bibens Ace Hardware.

There are no fishing poles left at Bibens Ace Hardware in Woodstock. Paint has also been a hot commodity. There are seven Ace stores in Vermont from Burlington to Brattleboro. Nationwide, Ace Hardware sales are up 30%. But that has caused issues with the supply chain.

"Bag goods, mulches, topsoils, garden soils: the vendors just can not keep up with the demand right now," Baird said.

Homeowners taking advantage of their downtime by supporting their local home and garden businesses.

"People will even come in and tell you that. I'm home, I have a project, this is the year to do it," Acker said.

And owners say the increased business is likely to continue as long as people choose to stay closer to home.