Virus Vices: Indulging at home


ALTOONA, Pa. (WTAJ) — If you could sell liquor in Pennsylvania in the last month it’s likely you’ve been hammered with business.

We’ve all been kind of inundated by people placing orders and looking to buy,” says Kevin Lloyd, owner of Big Spring Spirits in Bellefonte.

Lloyd says he wasn’t sure what the coronavirus pandemic would do to his distillery.

“We’re fortunate to be able to be open still but we were terrified just like every other small business,” says Lloyd.

With liquor stores closed for most of the past couple of months, Pennsylvanians turned to local distilleries for their cocktail fix.

Because it turns out, if you tell many Pennsylvanians to stay home, they will. Just, with a stiff drink.

“We’re probably at least 50% more volume than we would normally see at this time of the year,” says Lloyd.

With anxiety at all-time high, others in our area are bypassing the bar for bud tenders and mellowing out with medical marijuana.

“After the first round of stay at home orders and business closings we did see a surge in business,” says Herbology Pharmacist Louis Schnaubelt.

Recreational marijuana is illegal in the Commonwealth but medicinal huffed puffed and passed back in 2016

Herbology in Altoona is seeing fewer people frequent the shop but bigger purchases and many more patients.

“I don’t know if it’s directly the result of the pandemic because it is kind of a long process to get certified in Pennsylvania but I think overall the certification routes are pretty much saturated so we’re seeing as many as we can and it is rapidly growing,” says Schnaubelt.

Let’s indulge a little more.

If beers and bongs aren’t your thing, how about the sweeter things in life?

It’s comfort, it’s comfort food, it makes you feel good,” says Marcia Cumming of MarCia’s Chocolates.

Studies show chocolate can relieve stress which may be why MarCia’s Chocolate in Altoona was so busy.

“I truly had no idea of really what to expect,” says Cumming.

For the chocolate shop, as soon as restrictions on businesses went into place orders took off.

“The volume that I sold, was really what I think probably shocked me the most,” says Cumming. “People that normally would have bought like at 15 piece box were buying 60 piece boxes.”

“This is like a prime opportunity for someone to develop or use an excess of a vice,” says Ken Locher.

Locher works in direct support, specializing in behaviors of people. He says right now, most have the time and money to “treat” themselves.

“Vices aren’t all a horrible thing,” says Locher. “It’s, you know, in a sense for some people they’re a hobby and a hobby is basically an activity you do during your leisure time”

Meantime, Lloyd and his staff are working extra hard to satisfy their customers taking pick-up orders and shipping liquor all across the state.

“A lot of these people are front of the house wait staff and so now they’ve become the shipping department,” says Lloyd. “So we’ve had to adapt quite a bit to these changing times.”

As we all come to terms with the state of the world each day, these businesses are proof Americans are turning to, sex, drugs, booze, and even chocolate during uncertain times.

In this Web exclusive, Amanda talks with an expert, Anne Morse, PhD candidate in Sociology and Demography at Penn State who researches fertility and quantitative methods. Learn more about how the quarantine is predicted to affect sex life and the possibility of a baby boom.

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