Hardware stores shift gears to hurricane season preps

The past several weeks have been all about COVID-19 at Sumner Hardware, a mom and pop business in Port Orange.

“We typically carry like paint respirators and masks for people like sanding and stuff like that, and we were out of those within the first couple of days of all this virus stuff,” said employee Jennifer Wright.

Things like hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies have been selling fast.

Now, hurricane season, a busy time for hardware stores, is around the corner.

“When I saw it pop up, I was just like, 'Are you kidding me?' With all the virus stuff still going on and not even everybody being able to open yet,” Wright said.

She’s talking about news from the National Hurricane Center about a system off Florida’s coast.

She’s adding another thing to the to-do list.

“We’re still trying to restock virus supplies and maybe we need to get out hurricane supplies earlier than we originally planned,” she said.

They’re not expecting customers to walk in with a supply list June 1, when hurricane season starts. 

“When they hear the news say the hurricane's coming, then mad rush,” said owner Karen Sumner.

Experts say it might be time to start thinking about preps around your home, especially big things like your roof.

“Make sure that your singles are stuck down and glued down properly. That keeps the shingles from lifting and you losing them during a storm,” said Paul Alfrey, owner of Alfrey’s Roofing.

Meantime, Sumner Hardware is stocking up on hurricane supplies.

“Tape, duct tape, tarps, rope, earth anchors, gas cans,” Sumner said.