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Home improvement projects keep hardware store busy amid pandemic

San Antonio – Hardware stores are seeing a spike in sales as more people staying at home are finding time to do the improvement projects they may have been putting off for a while.

Trudy Lasage, with Johnnie Chouke’s Home and Hardware store, said she’s seeing a lot of new customers in her store since the city shut down non-essential businesses. Hardware stores remain open because they carry items for plumbing, heating and electrical supplies that could be necessary to keep a home running.

“I've never seen this kind of traffic ever before,” Lasage said. “People are wanting to come in to do repairs on the house -- painting, lawn and garden. They're stuck at home, and it’s beautiful weather outside.”

Lasage has been in the business for decades. She said there’s been a lot of interest in paints and lawn and garden during a time when these types of sales are slow.

“Our paint sales this month are as strong as they would be in April and May,” she said.

Customers like Louie Sirianni aren’t complaining about the extra time.

“We did all the bagging of the leaves in the yard. We put up security cameras. We have a list a mile long at home,” he said, referring to how his weekends and days are being used up.

Lasage said her business, like many others, is offering curbside pickup for any customers who want to avoid people. The advantage of her store, she said, is that it’s small and there are generally fewer people in the building at once.

She said she hopes people will be wise about how they spend their time and where they go.

“In this time, although it's not fun if you're stuck at home, it is something fun you can do and then feel good about the project, that you got it done when this is all over,” Lasage said.

Sirianni said although the circumstance isn’t ideal, there are benefits to having more time at home.

“We’re spending more time with the kids, playing board games, doing stuff outside with the kids. We did a garden this year. It’s been great for the family,” he said.

COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new virus, stands for coronavirus disease 2019. The disease first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China, but spread around the world in early 2020, causing the World Health Organization to declare a pandemic in March.

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