Harvey impacts couple's 2 Victoria businesses, Rockport home
Oct. 9, 2017 at 10:15 p.m.
As with many home and business owners in the Crossroads, Hurricane Harvey stole more than a month out of Martin and Cindy Kroesche's lives.
Despite both of their Victoria businesses sustaining damage from Harvey as well as their second home in Rockport, the San Antonio couple opened their business, Local Pet, on Wednesday. The business is the only family-owned pet store in Victoria.
"The reaction is overwhelmingly positive - friendly people coming in here," said Martin Kroesche. "We're glad we crossed the finish line and excited to be part of the Victoria community."
Local Pet, 6220 N. Navarro St., sustained slight roof damage, letting in some water, but none of the inventory in the store was damaged, said Cindy Kroesche. When the storm hit the Crossroads, the Kroesches were in the process of stocking the store, which was the largest obstacle they had to overcome before opening.
Originally, the couple planned to open the store Sept. 1.
"We had a lot of things that got either delayed because of the weather or USPS wasn't delivering," she said. "Trucks couldn't get in. Things got sent back and held in Houston and then got flooded there."
About 90 percent of the inventory has now been found or reordered, and the store is almost fully stocked.
The couple also owns Grande Oil Field, a midstream oil and gas business at 7102 U.S. 59 North. The business is the couple's fourth location; they also have locations in San Antonio, Pearsall and Big Lake.
The office in Victoria was significantly damaged by Harvey, Martin Kroesche said, and the couple is working to get it rebuilt, but their insurance company, The Hanover Insurance Group Inc., has been unresponsive. The Grande Oil Field office sustained substantial roof damage, which let water in, ruining all the equipment. The building's siding was ripped off as well.
"Everybody is having the same problem; all the insurance companies are doing this to customers," he said. "We had everything - windstorm coverage, flood polices. We had all the polices."
The oil field business was offline for about two weeks because of rainy weather and building damage before employees returned to the field. The office will remain closed until repaired, Martin Kroesche said.
"We took a direct hit," he said.
The Kroesche's second home in Rockport is still standing but sustained a lot of damage to its windows and roof, which will be replaced, Martin Kroesche said. The couple also has to remodel the inside of the home because of water damage. The first nine days after the storm, Martin Kroesche volunteered in Rockport with others, cleaning up debris in his neighborhood.
"It's been a loss of our time," he said. "We've had day after day trying to deal with insurance companies ... . I've had a hard time with it; it's been a struggle. We're slowly and surely getting it back together."
Despite all the damage Harvey caused for the couple, they said they're grateful because fellow Crossroads businesses and Rockport neighbors fared much worse.
"We're certainly thankful the majority of our damage, everything we sustained, is reparable," Cindy Kroesche said.
Martin Kroesche said the Local Pet's general manager, Shelley Makloski, and her family played an important role in securing the store's opening by watching the location while it had no power for about a week and half.
The 4,000-square-foot store sells items primarily for dogs and cats, including food, medical items, kennels, hygiene products and toys. All the items are approved for sale by Cindy Kroesche, who is a veterinarian in San Antonio.
"I have handpicked everything in the store," she said. "I don't buy items that are really popular; I pick everything based on the quality of the items, their nutritious value and how responsible the manufacturer is."
She said she tries to pick inventory from mom-and-pop businesses as well as items that fit all budgets.
Two years ago, the couple lived in Victoria, but they had to relocate to San Antonio for Martin Kroesche's job in the oil business. They would like to relocate back to the Crossroads eventually because they fell in love with the community, Cindy Kroesche said.
In the future, the couple plans to expand Local Pet to other cities in South Texas, such as San Antonio and Rockport, she said.
"We're excited to help people get the right products for their pets and make a lasting relationship with them," she said. "Every pet is different."
Day 1: Here comes Harvey
Day 2: Brace yourself
Day 3: 'Prayers protect us'
Day 5: 'At least God let us live'
Day 6: 'It's the luck of the draw'
Day 10: The Long Road Ahead (w/video)
Day 12: For some, normal still far away
Day 15: FEMA frustrates Harvey victims
Day 16: Displaced and in disarray
Day 18: Nature interrupted (w/video)
Day 19: 'It was like we had been bombed'
Day 42: 'Harvey broke me'