PEMBROKE, ON. -- First, it was toilet paper. Then, disinfectant wipes. Now, pressure-treated lumber is the hot commodity due to COVID-19.

Lumber is selling out across North America, with backyard decks and deck extensions the new growing trend.

Ron Reiche runs C.A. Reiche & Sons Lumber and Building Supplies in Pembroke and says they are selling twice as much wood as last year.

“With the pandemic, it forced people to stay at home and they were looking for something to do. [...] So they’re not out at restaurants, they’re not going travelling, they’re not going to sports events, but still they’re going to spend money. All of a sudden, the spouse says to the other, ‘Hey, we got lots of time now, so lets go and do something with this,’” says Reiche.

C.A. Reiche is one of the few stores in the region that still has a supply of pressure-treated lumber. 

“We’ve had people come up from Ottawa to our store in Eganville and there’s people from Arnprior coming up here. There’s just a shortage of wood and we have a good supply in," Reiche says.

Marianne Minns is one of the lucky few in her Pembroke neighbourhood who got her hands on some lumber. Minns is adding an addition to her deck, the result of spending more time at home. 

“We have our kids over and it’s growing, so we’d like to have a little more room to have supper out here and enjoy the space we have,” says Minns.

Contractors across the region are seeing their workload double this summer, compared to last. It is welcome business for assistant manager Richard Pearce at First General Services.

“If you’re going to spend more money, spend it on your house instead of somewhere out of town. Spend it in your own hometown and then you’ll spend more time at home. Hot tubs and stuff like that are going right now too.