In two decades, Minus Energie has built a total of 50 bomb shelters. But within the past two weeks, the Italian bunker manufacturer has received 500 customer inquiries, the New York Times reported.
A surge in demand for underground shelters following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has also been felt by US-based companies, three manufacturers told Insider in February.
Typically, fallout bunkers have been known as an unconventional safety net for the rich and paranoid. But two European companies told the Times that their customer base has extended beyond the wealthy to working-class people in the wake of the conflict in Ukraine.
“Rich people do not have these fears and often have jets or helicopters that are already a valid escape route for them,” Minus Energie owner Giulio Cavicchioli told Ansa, Italy’s leading wire service. “Instead, (customers) are small business owners, traders, and health informants.”
The price tag of Minus Energie’s smallest bunker starts at $32,000, costing $1,300 to $2,100 per square meter, according to the company’s website.
Gary Lynch — the general manager of Texas-based Rising S Company, which specializes in survival shelters — said he has also received an uptick in phone calls requesting information about the company’s underground bunkers since Russia invaded Ukraine.
Lynch provided Insider with documentation showing that his company sold five bunkers on February 24, at prices ranging from $70,000 to $240,000. He said Rising S Company normally sells anywhere from two to six bunkers a month, and that the winter is usually a slow season.
“Russia is a superpower, and the threat of a superpower being in conflict with us is more of a touchy subject,” Lynch said. “There are people alive today that remember the Cuban Missile Crisis.
The North Carolina-based U.S. Buildings Group and Texas-based Atlas Survival Shelters reported similar trends on phone calls with Insider.
“I’ve never seen it like this because we’ve seen Russia invade a sovereign country,” Atlas Survival Shelters CEO Ron Hubbard said. “A lot of people who were on the fence are like, ‘Let’s do this.'”