BEEBE, Ark. (KARK) — After Arkansas experienced a week full of severe weather, demand is high for tornado shelters, according to one company.
Tornado Shelter Systems in Beebe has been in business since 2008, said store manager Jimmy Smith, and the spring season is the busiest for the crew. This week, calls rang with a sense of immediacy for would-be customers.
“Last night was rough, and we’re ready to do something about it right now,” Smith said many calls go.
Smith said the company can create about two shelters a day, and demand is so high that people who want to buy one may have to wait a while.
“If somebody put in a deposit today, it would be about 10 weeks before we would call them to schedule their installation,” Smith said.
Supply chain delays related to the pandemic have affected some of the parts needed to craft the shelters, Smith said, feeding into longer wait times for installation.
“Most customers are understanding of that right now,” Smith said.
Basic shelters cost around $5,000, Smith said, and customized models can cost even more.
Kara Jones lives in Morrilton, and several months ago she purchased a shelter located outside near her home.
“We actually got in our shelter one night this week because we did have a tornado warning in Conway County,” Jones said.
Jones said the shelter is basic, but it serves its purpose. It’s worth the investment, she said.
“I’m not going to say we want to stay in here long, but it is very comfortable for the five of us,” Jones said. “It’s like putting a life jacket on your child when they’re at the lake.”