May 21, 2020
It's apocalypse now for some consumers.
Vivos, a network of underground shelters built to survive catastrophes, has seen year-over-year inquiries into its bunkers increase by 2,000 percent and sales jump 500 percent amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to CEO Robert Vicino.
"We've noticed a lot of people are jumping, not out of windows, but off the fence, and they're realizing we live in vulnerable times, dangerous times," Vicino said about the surge.
The list of catastrophes Vivos claims to be prepared for includes killer asteroids, nuclear war, and, of course, global pandemic.
The Vivos system of shelters, with locations in Indiana, South Dakota, and Germany, accommodates either private bunker ownership and leasing as well as memberships into communities of like-minded survivalists, according to its website.
It's not for everyone, though; there are some prerequisites for members, according to Vicino.
"One of the things we look for is people that have an open heart, that are tolerant, that can get along with other people, and we also look for them to be able to bring some skillsets to the table, or to the community," he said.
While the bunkers can range from luxurious to relatively modest, Vicino noted that community members are mostly middle-class and come from skilled professions and trades like doctors, lawyers, military personnel, plumbers, and electricians.
"That's the way we try to populate each shelter so that if the toilet breaks, and we only had doctors, we'd have a real disaster," he explained.
The wide cross-section of people populating the Vivos xPoint location in South Dakota, which looks to house 5,000 to 10,000 people in 575 bunkers, might serve another purpose beyond survival — entertainment.
"We have a television show in the works, and it's going to be an ongoing reality show following the growth of this community, the building of the world's largest survival community on Earth," Vicino said.
While he didn't go into details about production, the doomsday bunker CEO said the show will track individuals in their day-to-day, interacting with families and fellow community members.