SAN DIEGO – Six months ago, Jim Wiseman didn't even have a spare nutrition bar in his kitchen cabinet.
Now, the 54-year-old businessman and father of five has a backup generator, a water filter, a grain mill and a 4-foot-tall pile of emergency food tucked in his home in the San Diego suburb of La Jolla.
Wiseman isn't alone. Emergency supply retailers and military surplus stores nationwide have seen business boom in the past few months as more Americans spooked by the economy rush to stock up on gear that was once the domain of hard-core survivalists.
These people snapping up everything from water purification tablets to thermal blankets shatter the survivalist stereotype: They are mostly urban professionals with mortgages, SUVs, solid jobs and a twinge of embarrassment about their newfound hobby.