Businesses try to dig out of Harvey's havoc

Kathryn Cargo By Kathryn Cargo

Sept. 11, 2017 at 10:18 p.m.
Updated Sept. 12, 2017 at 7 a.m.

A 25-by-55-foot awning rests on top of two boats at Victoria Marine after Hurricane Harvey. The business reopened Monday after power was restored.

A 25-by-55-foot awning rests on top of two boats at Victoria Marine after Hurricane Harvey. The business reopened Monday after power was restored.   Contributed by Bob Ort for The Victoria Advocate

Hurricane Harvey caused about $1 million in merchandise and structural damages to Lacks, leaving the store with no inventory or usable space.

"It made a lot of us very sad. We had spent a lot of time making that store what it was," said CEO Lee Aaronson. "It wasn't open very long before it got destroyed. The insurance adjuster, when they walked in it, said it was a total loss; that was disappointing."

Several businesses in the Crossroads remain closed more than two weeks after Hurricane Harvey, and owners continue to work to reopen as the area slowly recovers.

Aaronson estimated it would take at least 60 days if not more to reopen. Store officials have to redo the inside of the store because it sustained substantial flood damage from its roof that failed.

Business was short-lived; the store had opened about three months ago.

The Lacks building, 3607 N. Navarro St., now has a temporary roof, and a new one is being installed. Aaronson said the walls, ceiling, lighting and flooring will have to be refurbished before opening.

"There's a great deal of work that needs to be done," he said.

The store has business interruption insurance, so all 30 employees will continue to be paid until the store reopens.

Aaronson said he is determined to reopen Lacks because Victoria welcomed the store to its new home, and a prior Lacks company was also in Victoria for more than 70 years.

"The people of Victoria seemed to be thrilled to have us and seem to like our furniture," he said.

Bob Ort owns Victoria Marine, 8001 Houston Highway, which repairs boats, boat motors and trailers. His business was without power for more than two weeks. His shop reopened Monday after getting power restored Sunday.

Harvey ripped a 25-by-155-foot steel awning from the business, sending pieces into the shop's building, parking lot and fence and collapsing onto two boats. The awning also damaged two campers where two employees live.

While Ort's business was closed, one of his employees reassembled a 155 horsepower V-four boat engine with hand tools and sunlight.

Ort estimates his business sustained about $50,000 in damages.

"The main thing (Harvey) has caused is we've been out of work for two weeks," Ort said. "That means no income coming into the business for a solid two weeks. That two weeks, we didn't get to work at all."

Lupe Limon, owner of Limon's BBQ, has two restaurant locations and a food truck. Quality Packers Smokehouse at the Corral, 3502 Houston Highway, became the second Limon's BBQ location, which Limon opened a day before Harvey hit.

He reopened that location a few days after Harvey. Employees, family and friends gathered together to repair roof tiles and suck out water at the location.

The iconic Corral sign that has been at the location for more than 60 years was severely damaged. Limon is working to restore the sign to its original stature.

"I don't know yet what we're going to do," he said. "We've got a lot of response from the public as far as they want to do whatever it takes to help to get the sign up and going again ... This sign has been around for years, and people remember that sign from a long time ago."

Limon's other location, 3494 S.W. Moody St., remains closed, but he plans to open this week, depending on the extent of damages. Power was restored to the location Saturday. Harvey tore the location's sign off, downed a tree in the parking lot and threw debris around the building.

The week after the hurricane, Limon gave out free food from his food truck in Victoria, Bloomington and Port Lavaca, feeding thousands.

"We had a lot of outside help that came forward to help us get up and going," Limon said. "Some of our employees didn't have electric or water but knew the importance of us coming together to get this business up and going. That's how we support our families. To see everyone work together, not just our workers, but the community, that was pretty awesome."



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