High Point company attempts to sell doomsday bunkers

Feb. 03, 2013 @ 01:00 AM

For sale: One doomsday bunker, 10 by 40 feet. Living quarters, kitchen with fridge and microwave, bathroom with toilet and shower. Self-contained. Lots of storage. Escape hatch. Corrugated, galvanized steel guarantees underground life expectancy of 200 years. Approximately $60,000, depending on extras. Seller is very motivated. Contact World Class Powersports.

A bomb shelter designed to be buried 20 feet beneath the Earth’s surface may not appeal to you, but the regional preppers community has expressed a lot of interest in the 10-by-40-foot tubular shelter that’s been sitting in the World Class Powersports parking lot for not quite a week.
“We’ve got more than 200 preppers in the Triad alone,” says Royce Palau, who owns World Class Powersports and whose idea it was to become a distributor for Atlas Survival Shelters. “We’ve already had several people who were interested. One guy drove down here from Virginia to look at it.”
Another couple drove down from Pinnacle, near Pilot Mountain.
Preppers are individuals who are preparing for a disaster scenario such as a nuclear attack or a government takeover of some sort. You may be familiar with preppers from the popular program on the National Geographic Channel, “Doomsday Preppers.” They store food, water, clothing and other necessities — including firearms in some cases — that will help them be self-reliant in the event of such a scenario.
And yes, some of them have an interest in buying a “doomsday bunker,” or survival shelter.
“It’s made of corrugated, galvanized steel,” says Palau, of High Point. “It’s good for 200 years underground. The doors are laser-cut, airtight, bullet-resistant, grenade(-resistant). It’s got an escape hatch. You’ve got tons of storage for your food, your blankets, your clothing, everything you would need.”
Palau stops short of describing himself as a prepper, but says he and his family are pseudo-prepping — they’re stocking food and water — and that’s how he hit on the idea of selling the survival shelters through his business.
“I was watching a program about preppers, and an episode about underground bunkers caught my attention,” he recalls. “The more I thought about it, I thought it would be a great thing to offer the local community. I did a lot of research and found that we have a lot of preppers here in the Triad, so I thought this would be a good idea.”
According to Atlas Survival Shelters, the bunkers can be used as a sort of second home for a weekend getaway or as a hunting cabin, but most people buy them to have in case some sort of catastrophic event happens.
“Since your shelter is buried up to 20 feet underground, you wil have the maximum protection needed from nuclear fallout, civil unrest, looters, pandemic outbreak, etc.,” company literature promises.
The bunkers feature many of the comforts of home — sleeping quarters, a shower and toilet, a microwave and refrigerator, a sofa, bookshelves and so on, as well as storage space underneath the floor — but obviously in a much more confined space. The feeling is that of being in a large RV or a small mobile home.
“This is 10 by 40 (feet), but they also make one that’s 10 by 51,” Palau says. “You can customize it and have it made the way you want. You can even bury two of these beside each other with a tunnel connecting them. It just depends on how deep your pockets are.”
They can even be equipped with security cameras that allow you to see what’s going on above the ground.
The display model would sell for about $60,000, Palau says, but a much more basic unit sells for about $30,000. More elaborate bunkers sell for upwards of $100,000.
Each unit has one way in and two ways out. A main entrance tunnel with an attached ladder allows entry and exit, but there’s also an escape hatch that only opens inward — so you can get out that way, but nobody else can come in that way.
Palau points out that claustrophobia could be a problem.
“You’re gonna get cabin fever,” he says. “One guy who was here said he’s planning to get one and start training his wife and children to get used to it. They’ll come down here and sleep for three nights, and then a week and so on, building up how long they can stay, because you will get cabin fever and you’ll go absolutely crazy.”
While Palau says he’d like to have one of the bunkers himself someday, one of his co-workers has other thoughts.
“They’re very nice, and you’ve got enough room for whatever you need when the world decides to come to an end,” says Krista Valade.
“But for me, I live by the theory that someone has me in his hand, and when it’s my time, it doesn’t matter if I’m under the ground or above the ground or if I’m under water. When it’s my time, it’s my time, and I’ll be going somewhere way better than an underground bomb shelter.”
According to Palau, you may never actually need a doomsday bunker, but if you do, you’ll be glad you made the investment.
“This is like having a life raft on a boat,” he says. “You know, you don’t go out to sea to sink your boat, but if something happens, you’ve got a life raft.”

jtomlin@hpe.com | 888-3579