Oil Lamp Sales Are up Since Power Outage

Ramona's W. T. Lanterns, Inc. is attracting shoppers from San Diego.

When the , Ramona's Woody Kirkman kept his doors open to sell oil lamps at his store on Main Street.

About a dozen customers came by . after business hours, Kirkman told Patch recently, but his store has been even busier since then—so busy that he's had to take some display items off the shelves because he has run out of stock. He said restocking and even sales could be a problem after a while due to some changes in the international business arena.

"We had about 25 people come in the day after the outage and it's stayed about that way," he said. "I couldn't really put the sales into numbers for you right now. We've been so busy. People have been calling or finding us on the Internet and coming up the hill from San Diego to get their lamps."

The response is nothing new for Kirkman, who has supplied homeowners and businesses with kerosene and oil lamps since 1984. . In addition to emergency lanterns, the store also supplies replicas of lanterns to the movie industry. to see a previous Patch story which goes into more detail on the movie aspect.

As Kirkman talks to customers from around the United States, he gets a good read on how people are thinking.

"A lot of people are putting in gardens, stockpiling food and buying lamps in preparation for another big disaster," he said. He thinks they're wise.

Kirkman and his wife, Dawn, also ship lamps to Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa. He said his sales to Japan are still more than they used to be but they've reduced somewhat now, in the wake of the

Though business is booming, there are a few developments that cause Kirkman to believe he's going to have to get more innovative.

He said inexpensive lanterns made in China are competing in the American marketplace.

"Also, we've sold out of some of our most popular models and we may not be able to replace them for many months due to a shipment delay," he said.

Kirkman's hoping to buy some tooling to make a comparative model. Its machinery once operated by American-owned Dietz Lanterns out of New York and its now based in China.

Kirkman smiles at the irony of hoping he can bring the tooling back stateside, when so many jobs and so much


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