Industry Rallies Behind Members Affected By Hurricane Irma

Communities in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina are taking stock of the impact of Hurricane Irma, and beginning the rebuilding and recovery process. With impassable roads, wind and flood damage and more than five million utility customers without power in Florida, many industry companies in the region remain closed, although most expect service to resume—at least partially—as the week progresses.

PPAI has heard from numerous industry companies on their status following Hurricane Irma. Many took advantage of the Association’s Emergency Closures Form. The form helps businesses in the storm’s path share updates on their situation and inform customers of alternate ways to contact them or check orders during or after the hurricane. To see the list of businesses that have reported a delay or closure, click here.

Industry companies in the affected areas are also updating their customers and clients online and through contacts with PPAI. Water Promotions (PPAI 336980), a supplier in Boca Raton, Florida, reports that it has survived the storm and expects its plant and offices to be up and running on Thursday, pending power restoration.

BIC Graphic, which closed its facility in Clearwater, Florida, on Monday, has temporarily suspended its 24-hour service and extended its standard production time by three working days. Similarly, Jetline in Gaffney, South Carolina, suspended its 24-hour rush service Monday and today. It asks customers to contact Prime Line to see if a rush order can be shifted to Prime’s Connecticut facility.

The Book Company (PPAI 218850) in Delray Beach was closed Monday and today, and hopes to reopen on Wednesday. The supplier notes, “This is the strongest hurricane to come to our area ever, so we have no idea how long we may be without power or internet, so there is no way to predict today what our plan will be after Tuesday.”  

As they did with industry business and professionals affected by Hurricane Harvey two weeks ago, PPAI and SAGE are granting payment extensions to affected members along the Gulf Coast. Membership and services will continue without interruption during this time, so members don’t need to worry about paying now or risk losing the critical business and research tools they will need to rebuild their businesses.

“The destructive impact of Hurricane Harvey and now Hurricane Irma have critically affected the prosperity of small businesses,” says Paul Bellantone, CAE, PPAI President and CEO. “It’s our job as trusted advisors to the promotional products industry to aid our community in any way we can during this time of distress and grief.”

David Natinsky, SAGE President, adds, “As the storm continues to produce heavy rain and inland flooding, we can finally begin to assess the devastating impact of Hurricane Irma. Many of our members are left with no power and have experienced significant damages to their homes and businesses. We will continue to provide ongoing support to our struggling colleagues for as long as it is necessary for them to recover and come back stronger.”

In addition to the payment relief, SAGE is offering free email campaign services to any affected member customers. Industry businesses affected by the disaster can use the service to notify their customers with information on the current state of their business affairs and to keep customers updated as businesses hopefully return to normal operations.

Recognizing that many members may not have access to their computers, SAGE representatives can also assist with loading customer lists and creating the email campaign to send out. To receive complimentary campaigns, contact your SAGE account executive at (800) 925-7243.

Members in the affected region who need additional time to pay for membership and subscription services need to contact their SAGE account executive at (800) 925-7243, or their PPAI customer service representative at (888) I-AM-PPAI (426-7724) and request a payment deferment.

The RAC Business Recovery Fund (BRF) has been activated to support businesses located in counties that have been declared a state of disaster by the federal government. The fund can help replace lost equipment and supplies—computers, cell phones, office supplies, promotional products catalogs and samples—provide a work area, or give other assistance as needed to get a business up and running as soon as possible.

Businesses seeking need assistance can fill out the assessment here: http://www.regionalassociation.org/business-recovery-fund/brf-assistance.

Donations can be made to the BRF here.

As the long-term effects of Hurricane Irma continue to play out, the promotional products industry may experience more requests for assistance and more opportunities to help. If your company was affected or is contributing to the recovery efforts through donations, let PPB Newslink know by emailing PPB@ppai.org.

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