September 5, 2012: Bunker Mentality

I just finished reading The Age of Miracles (affiliate link), a luminous (pun intended) story about what happens when the earth’s rotation begins to slow. I don’t want to give away too much (it really is worth reading), but one of the consequences of the natural disaster was a boom in sales of shelters and bunkers.

Turns out this bunker mentality is not just fiction. A recent article in Bloomberg Businessweek points to the growing number of entrepreneurs catering to “preppers,” the folks who are busy preparing (hence the name) for some cataclysmic event. Being an optimist, I somehow missed the fact that two television shows (Doomsday Preppers on the National Geographic channel, and Doomsday Bunkers, which airs on the Discovery network) cater to this market. And Bloomberg Businessweek reports that entrepreneur Scott Bales, who was featured on both shows, received nearly 16,000 requests for information about his “fortified shelters,” which sell for a minimum of about $50,000.

Mathew Gross, author to The Last Myth: What the Rise of Apocalyptic Thinking Tells Us About America (affiliate link), told the magazine that there are already about 3 million preppers in America-and all indications are that the number is rising.

Lest you think the only way to make money from this trend is by selling somewhere to hide, entrepreneur Andrea Burke has another idea. She started Survivalist Singles, a dating site that already has nearly 4,000 members. Bloomberg Businessweek reports Burke plans to charge a membership fee sometime later this fall.

Of course, disaster-prep products and services don’t have to be oriented towards a possible doomsday. There are plenty of entrepreneurial opportunities in helping people prepare for more “mundane” events, such as hurricanes, tornados, floods and earthquakes.

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