REGINA -- As winter comes to an end in Saskatchewan, local businesses are noticing a major increase in demand for spring and summer outdoor products.

Dutch Cycle owner Freddy Vandelinden said it’s been a busy few months at the shop with people looking to purchase new bikes or seeking repairs. 

“Normally our first quarter – January, February, March – is much slower than it is right now. We’ve had a record-breaking quarter,” Vandelinden said. 

He’s also noticed more new cyclists coming in. He said the industry has seen an increased demand of about 300 per cent, which puts pressure on suppliers. 

“The supply issue right now is the slowness of the arrival of the product,” he said. “We’re still getting a lot of the product we’ve ordered, whereas right now we’d expect to have had it in stock since December or January.” 

Vandelinden said because of the high demand and slow stock arrivals, shortages are inevitable. 

“There’s a 100 per cent certainty in this industry that there will be shortages in both parts and bicycles at every experience level. So if one wants to be outside and riding this year, they should be doing that immediately – looking or securing something,” he said. 

For people looking to relax on a new deck this summer, industry professionals suggest inquiring about orders now. 

Queen’s City Deck and Rail owner Tyler Phelps said he’s experiencing a much busier season than average. His staff is working around the clock to keep up with demand. 

They’re now booked up until the end of May. 

“We’re getting a lot of calls, a lot of quotes. Everyone is wanting to book before the main season comes up,” he said. 

He said at this time last year, people were hesitant to spend money on backyard renovations because there were so many uncertainties around the pandemic. Now because of the ongoing travel restrictions, more people are upgrading their backyards. 

“A lot of times we’re getting calls to do fancy stuff in the backyards so they can have that backyard oasis,” Phelps said. 

Part of that oasis often includes patio furniture, which is also proving to be a hot commodity. 

“Last week was a record for us in furniture and I’ve been doing this 44 years,” Brian Sampson, the owner of Sunshine and Ski, said. “[People] are not shopping, looking and thinking. They’re looking, sitting and buying.” 

Sunshine and Ski put its furniture out on the floor earlier than normal this year. 

“The consumer is motivated. They know that there’s been product in certain categories that has been hard to get,” he said. “We’re on the right track, we just need to keep the supply there. That’s our biggest challenge right now.” 

Sampson said some suppliers are backed up right now. His Canadian supplier is 100 per cent sold out for the year and one U.S. supplier is now estimating up to 12 weeks in wait time. 

“The urgency right now in our business for our buyers, is to predict how active the consumers are going to really be and try to grab that product now,” he explained. “Six, seven weeks from now I don’t think it’s going to be out of stock, I just think it’s going to be up to 12-14 weeks of delivery.”

Sunshine and Ski is also experiencing a high demand in water sport equipment and running shoes. 

“We sold more wakeboards and wake surf than we did snowboards in February. Never, ever has that happened,” Sampson said. 

In all categories, Sampson said shoppers should think about buying now for the summer to avoid any long wait times or shortages.