Industry Companies Batten Down As Hurricane Florence Approaches
Hurricane Florence is expected to make landfall in the Carolinas later today, bringing with it storm surges as high as 13 feet, coastal flooding and prolonged rains forecast to dump 10 trillion gallons of water further inland. The nearly 1,000 PPAI member companies who are in the three states expected to be most affected by the storm are preparing themselves and their customers for any delays the rough weather may bring.
Distributor All Kinds of Stuff, LLC, in Wilmington, North Carolina, is ready to ride out the storm. Most of its clients are in the area and in the same situation, although it’s made a national account in California aware of potentially slowed responses. Ann Willard, MAS, the company’s owner, says, “We are five miles from the ocean in Wilmington as the crow flies. We have disconnected all our desktop computers and gotten everything off the floor in case of flooding. We have plastic that can be used in case a window should blow out. Since our office is attached to our home and we have a generator, I may be able to respond to most requests, if nothing else but to let them know we are in 130 mph winds and I will be in touch once the storm passes. We have had so many clients reach out to us that are not in this area letting us know they have us in their prayers so I think this storm is large enough that everyone knows.”
Several suppliers in the storm’s path have also alerted customers of disruptions and delays due to Florence.
Prime Line, headquartered in Bridgeport, Connecticut, has alerted clients that due to the storm’s forecasted track, production at its South Carolina facility may be temporarily impacted. It has temporarily suspended its 24-hour rush service and will resume taking rush orders on September 18. The applies to both its South Carolina and Connecticut facilities, as it is leveraging both locations to get ahead of any potential interruption. It is continuing to accept new orders and they will continue to be processed at the Bridgeport facility, while existing orders that might be impacted or delayed due to the storm, and any upgrades in shipments will be covered by each customer and handled on a case-by-case basis. Additionally, it has announced that ground shipments originating from the Northeast that require transit through mid-Atlantic states may face delays of unknown length.
The company’s customer service staff will be available to customer calls and emails, and additional information regarding the storm’s impact on the company will be posted on its website and social media accounts. In a statement, the company says, “It is always our goal to provide on-time shipping, and while it pains us to have any interruption to our service, our greater concern is for those affected by any potential hardships the hurricane may bring.”
JournalBooks/Timeplanner Calendars is also in the path of Florence, headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina. Tim O’Boyle, the supplier’s president, says, “During our preparation for Hurricane Florence, our No. 1 priority is the safety of our staff and their families. We are watching the progress of this storm very closely and will do everything possible to support our team members as well as our customers.”
He adds, “Our team is doing everything possible to ship orders on time, especially event-driven projects. A big challenge in a weather event like this is that our carriers will limit pick-ups or be unable to deliver to areas impacted by the storm. When a carrier cannot pick up or deliver, they have their reasons and the situation is beyond our control. We are working to manage customers’ expectations and we are being proactive in all areas of our business to ensure the least amount of impact on our distributors business. Our colleagues throughout our PCNA organization are standing by to help support us in all areas.”
Industry businesses that are evacuating, or are experiencing delays or disruptions due to the hurricane, can share their status with PPAI through 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.
If the impact of Hurricane Florence results in a federal disaster declaration, PPAI, in conjunction with the Regional Association Council (RAC), will offer disaster relief to assist promotional products industry members seriously affected in the form of the Promotional Products Disaster Recovery Foundation (PPDRF) Business Recovery Fund. To apply for funds, please click here.
Financial contributions to support the program are being collected now and should be directed to the Promotional Products Business Recovery Fund, care of PPAI RAC, 3125 Skyway Circle North, Irving, Texas 75038. This fund is a 501(c)(3) organization and all contributions will be tax deductible. A tax-deductible receipt will be mailed to each donor. Or, donate online here.