PPB Newslink Breaking News: Hurricane Harvey Causes Massive Flooding; HPPA Hot Stuff Expo Postponed
Hurricane Harvey slammed into the Texas Gulf Coast late Friday night, bringing heavy rain to the entire region. Massive flooding in the Houston area has closed many businesses and caused the Houston Area Promotional Products Association (HPPA) to postpone its Hot Stuff Expo. The show was scheduled for Tuesday with 220 exhibitors and more than 700 distributors in attendance at the NRG Center in Houston.
In a statement issued Saturday morning, the HPPA board said, “With Hurricane Harvey recently being upgraded in severity, the HPPA Board has decided to cancel the August 29 HPPA Hot Stuff Expo, with an eye on rescheduling it for a future date. The safety of our members, supplier reps, and NRG employees is of utmost importance.” The board referenced its Facebook page and website, www.houstonppa.org, for additional updates on the show.
So far, 18 counties have been declared a state of disaster by the federal government, and PPAI has activated the Regional Association Council Business Recovery Fund for businesses located in the designated counties. 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. Those in the designated counties that need assistance can fill out the assessment here: http://www.regionalassociation.org/business-recovery-fund/brf-assistance.
PPAI also issued a member alert on Friday to all businesses in the region notifying them that it was opening its headquarters in Irving, Texas, (about 400 miles north of Houston) to industry members displaced by the storm. In an email from PPAI President and CEO Paul Bellantone, the Association offered its office space, phone, fax, wifi, copiers, restrooms and showers to allow industry members to continue business until their offices or home offices were available for occupancy. A special email address and phone extension have been set up to handle requests: MYPPAI@ppai.org or 888-I-AM-PPAI, extension 3280.
Some Houston area suppliers and distributors are reporting they are safe and dry, although many are closed due to flooded roads. Allison Gower, president at supplier The Platform Group Gallery in Houston, says the company facility is dry and has power. “We may have a skeleton crew depending on flooding of the surrounding areas, but I'm positive carriers will not be picking up this week. Roads are impassable for the most part,” she says. She adds that her team was able to get some rush orders out last Thursday and Friday and she’s alerting customers by email for orders that would have been picked up today.
Supplier Hirsch Gift is closed on Monday because of the severe flooding and for the safety of its employees. It plans to update its status later this afternoon. Supplier Tiger Hill Houston, Inc. is also closed but expects to resume normal business hours on Tuesday. In an email message, it reports that all orders received on Friday after 2:30 pm CT would be shipped out on Tuesday.
A number of distributors in the Houston area are also closed because of flooded roads and to ensure the safety of employees. However, many are working from home and can respond to email at this point.
Check the PPAI Publications website for the status on member companies at http://pubs.ppai.org and look for PPB Newslink’s Tuesday edition for updates on this story.
To report your company’s status, email PPB@ppai.org.