At the end of March, President Trump announced the extension of social distancing guidelines for another month — and set off a national scramble for stand-alone freezers.
The next morning, retailers arrived to an unexpected surge of orders. “There was an immediate reaction,” says Ryan Turner, director of merchandising and contract sales at Bray & Scarff Appliance & Kitchen Specialists. “We had already seen a little bit of an uptick in freezer sales, but that opened the floodgates.”
Within a few days, the lowly freezer, an appliance often relegated to the basement, was as hard to get ahold of as hand sanitizer. Now, waiting lists for freezers are growing as consumers seek the comfort of knowing that they’ll have plenty of food at home throughout a shutdown of unknown length.
Jim Estill, chief executive of Danby, which makes 20 different types of freezers, thinks the pandemic will permanently change this market. “Now people who are single want freezers, and people in apartments think they need a freezer,” Estill says. “Households who already have two refrigerators with freezers also want a separate freezer.”
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