Not that the popular opinion of mosquitoes was ever particularly positive, but ever since the first human cases of the West Nile virus in the United States popped up in 1999, even the staunchest animal-rights activists have at least thought about hurting a fly. And while consumer fears of the disease -- transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes -- haven't reached irrational proportions, some within the sunroom industry have noticed that the disease has positively affected their business in one way or another.
"We don't specifically tell people that a sunroom will keep them from getting the West Nile virus, but it's definitely a concern of some consumers," says Cristi Holmes of Maine Window & Sunroom in Kennebunk. "We just tell them it's another benefit of having an enclosed porch or sunroom."
Randy Dumouchel, national marketing manager for TEMO sunrooms, says that 2% to 3% of total sales at Tony V's Sunrooms & Spas -- TEMO's retail arm -- could be traced back to customers who are concerned about their health. "More than anything, it's raised awareness that bugs and mosquitoes are nasty things, to be avoided," Dumouchel says. "At the very least, it's given our marketing message more meaning."