After pummeling the Bahamas for more than a day with wind and heavy rain, Hurricane Dorian is now churning its way toward the U.S. East Coast. Downgraded from its Category Five high to a Category Two, the storm is still producing sustained winds over 96 mph and its projected path is forecast to move it along the coasts of Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas. With Dorian’s potential to affect the communities and businesses in its path, industry companies in the area are taking precautions and communicating with their customers on how it may impact their business.

Tampa, Florida-headquartered BIC Graphic North America, has released a statement, noting, "Our leadership team was monitoring the storm hourly throughout the weekend and coordinated additional support to be at-the ready at our Minnesota locations, keeping employee safety as the top priority. Thankfully our Clearwater facility was outside the impact of Hurricane Dorian, so we are operating business as usual."

The Book Company in Delray Beach, Florida, has closed its offices and production facility today but expects to reopen tomorrow. The supplier reports that it is unable to proof, produce, ship or provide order updates until staff can safely return to work.

Supplier Eyevertising in Miami, Florida, is closed today but will be open tomorrow. COO Victoria Newton-Dunn reports that the company was able to plan ahead and shipped out all of today’s orders on Friday so it’s not experiencing any production delays.

Hit Promotional Products, in St. Petersburg, Florida, reports that it has been spared any impact from Hurricane Dorian and is operating under normal business hours. However, the supplier notes that several delivery zones for UPS and FedEx will be affected and packages could be delayed after the carriers leave its facilities.

PPAI asks for the industry’s help in identifying members and nonmembers that may be affected by the storm. The Association sent an email this morning to companies in the region as a reminder that it stands ready to help them manage the impact of the storm on their business. Businesses that have evacuated due the hurricane, or are experiencing delays or disruptions, can notify PPAI and provide information on their status or alternative ways for customers to contact the company or check orders during or after the storm. This information will be communicated to the industry in PPB Newslink, and through a continuously updated list on the PPAI website.

In the wake of the storm, PPAI, in conjunction with the Regional Association Council (RAC), is offering disaster relief to help promotional products industry members and nonmembers located in federally declared natural disaster areas get back to business through the Promotional Products Disaster Recovery Foundation (PPDRF) Business Recovery Fund. Click here for information on applying for funds. Affected business owners are encouraged to contact PPAI via email or call 888-I-AM-PPAI (426-7724), extension 3051 for assistance with specific needs to re-start their business, to update their contact information or let PPAI know how they are doing.

Financial contributions to support the fund 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 donors. Or, donate online.