Katie Anderson/Observer-Reporter

From left, Giovanni Bazzano, Vinnie Lavorgna and Julio Prestia, of Premier Power Cleaning in Canonsburg, clean a playground at Canonsburg Town Park in preparation of the park’s recent reopening.

It’s Vinnie Lavorgna’s third year running his Premier Power Cleaning and Landscaping business in Canonsburg. He hadn’t expected a pandemic or the 75% increase in business he’d received in the last few months because of it.

“It’s a lot because we’re a small business, so 75% is game-changing for us,” Lavorgna said.

Since the pandemic started and people have been staying home, homeowners have been taking on projects like landscaping, deck building, or other home renovations. Hardware stores and other businesses that sell materials or offer services in those areas have actually done better than projected in the last few months.

“We’ve actually been doing better since the pandemic, just because we switched to helping the community out,” Lavorgna said.

His company does cleaning and sanitization, mostly for houses, but in the last few months, he’s offered discounts to schools and has taken on jobs sanitizing parks and pools. As an example, he sanitized playground equipment at the Canonsburg Town Park for free, as a service to the community.

Lavorgna said he has also been working a lot with homeowners associations that have parks or playgrounds that needed to be cleaned during the pandemic.

“I think people have been spending their stimulus checks,” he said. “People have been getting paranoid about cleaning, too.”

Sometimes the jobs come in as a domino effect – a neighbor will see them cleaning and want them to do their property next.

“On every job so far this year, we’ve had a neighbor stop us to ask if we can help them out,” Lavorgna said.

He wants to start offering sanitization services for commercial dumpster cleaning, which could be in high demand as restaurants start opening up again.

Right now, though, his landscaping business is very busy, and it had to add another truck to its fleet.

“We had to hire two new people just to keep up with the landscaping work,” Lavorgna said. “We took on about 40 new accounts for landscaping.”

Building material supply companies like 84 Lumber have seen an uptick in people requesting quotes for projects as well. 84 Lumber, headquartered in Eighty Four with stores across 30 states, was deemed an essential business during the pandemic, according to the company’s public relations manager, Sara Mellema.

“Over the last few months, we’ve seen a major uptick in homeowners and DIYers reaching out for help on new projects,” Mellema said in an email. “A lot of people have been using their time at home to build sheds, decks, pergolas and playsets.”

The company has seen a 130% increase in people clicking social media ads or requesting quotes from social media posts, she said. On their website, there was a 93% increase in quote requests this April compared with April 2019. When it comes to May, the business received a 138% increase compared with last year.

Quote requests for playsets increased by 400% from last year, Mellema said, and quotes for treated lumber increased by 173%. She said quote requests for pergolas jumped 100%, sheds by 149%, decks by 88% and fencing by 150%.

“I would say these are the projects most homeowners are looking at during the pandemic,” Mellema said in the email.

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