As demand for computers skyrockets, supply dwindles

CEO of Urban Mining: ‘The demand has been overwhelming as more companies and schools have shut down operations’

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As many people are working from home and children are conducting their studies online amid the coronavirus outbreak, there is a high demand for computers and computer accessories.

After Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry’s issued an executive order directing anyone who is able to work from to do so, the need for computers has skyrocketed. But the supply has started to dwindle.

At Urban Mining, a Jacksonville store where computers are refurbished and sold at much cheaper prices, the demand for computers is unlike anything CEO Steven Kaufmann has seen before.

“The demand has been overwhelming as more companies and schools have shut down operations and required people to work from home and go to school from home,” Kaufmann said.

While desktop computers have been selling at a steady rate, Kaufmann said that there has been an overwhelming surge in the demand for laptops, docking stations and dual monitors for people who must now work from home. High school student Maria Dyro went to Urban Mining to purchase a computer monitor. She’s one of the thousands of children in Duval County who are now forced to complete their studies and homework online.

“It’s kind of like annoying to sit there a listen to the teacher and not be able to communicate with them directly without turning on your mic and interrupting everyone," Dyro said.

Dyro was one of the lucky ones, as she was able to find the monitor she needed. Others haven’t been so lucky.

“It’s getting tougher and tougher as our inventory has declined," Kaufmann said.

The bulk of Urban Mining’s computer inventory comes from companies and corporations that retire office computers. The retired equipment is stripped clean of its memory and then refurbished. All of the refurbished computers are upgraded with more memory and speed. But as refurbished computers continue to sell off the shelves, inventory coming in is running low.

“The number of companies that are having us pick up retired or old equipment has declined now that everybody is shutting down operations," Kaufmann said.

Kaufmann is now asking all companies and corporations with old computers sitting in information technology department storage rooms to reach out them so that they can take those computers, refurbish them and hopefully be able to sell them at a lower cost to parents who have children in need of a computer for school.

The CEO of Urban Mining added that anyone looking to purchase a refurbished computer should always stay away from places that appear to be price gouging and always make sure the equipment not only works but that you get a warranty and guaranteed support.

News4Jax also spoke with managers at Best Buy, PCLiquidations and Office Max, who also said the demand for computers has been overwhelming. In fact, Best Buy told News4Jax that all their Jacksonville stores now have a limited supply of computers.

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