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Doomsday Preppers: Part 2, The Business of ‘Prepping’

By Steven Sandberg

CENTRAL POINT, Ore. — As people begin to think about what they would do in the event of a catastrophe, it also means some companies are cashing in.

Preparing for disaster is serious business; in more ways than one. Disasters and emergencies over the past year have brought a new focus on preparing for anything. Someone has to sell all of those supplies and business is up and the Army Navy Store in Central Point.

“We’ve all seen like, that whole thing in Japan, with the nuclear meltdown after the tsunami, after the earthquake,” says store employee Dave Ewing.

The store says more people are coming in with concerns about a future emergency; anything from a short power outage, to the national grid going offline.

“People are displaced, they have nowhere to go, and at that point, nothing’s functioning around them. The government’s not functioning,” Ewing speculates.

That means stocking up to survive. Food…tents…sleeping bags…water… in extreme cases, people who think 2012 will bring the end of the world are buying ammo. But the army navy store says most of its shoppers are preparing on a boy-scout level, not a doomsday prepper level.

“We do get a lot of people that are also putting together long-term food storage,” Ewing says.

But some say it’s not out of the ordinary to always be ready for a widespread disaster. The Northwest Outdoor Store in Medford has also seen an increase in demand from people preparing for anything.

“We starting to stock larger 10 pound cans of freeze-dried food, it has a 15 to 25 year shelf life. And that’s in response to people asking for it. So we’re definitely seeing an up tick,” states owner Scott Keith.

And with images like the tsunami or the financial crisis hanging over people’s heads, Keith is not surprised.

“This isn’t a new movement,” Keith says. “This is just getting back to what we should have been doing all along.”

He says the prepper movement is just people getting back to a turn of the century mindset: becoming self-reliant, in order to avoid depending on anyone else during an emergency.

“Just if the whole national grid were to have any problems that disrupt the flow of goods,” Keith says. “The grocery stores, the shelves become empty, then you want to have your family with several weeks’ worth of food.”

Stores say there’s no shortage of potential emergencies…and that will keep people coming in and stocking up.