Our local businesses need us after hurricane

By the Advocate Editorial Board
Sept. 12, 2017 at 5:18 p.m.
Updated Sept. 13, 2017 at 8:09 a.m.

Before Hurricane Harvey, we were focused on how to entice more businesses to come to Victoria.

But right now we need to do everything we can to keep our local businesses here in business.

Randy Vivian, president of the Victoria Chamber of Commerce, is optimistic about our city's ability to rebuild after Harvey.

A quick drive down Navarro Street shows most of our businesses have reopened.

"We could've got hit a lot worse than we did, and I think because of that our businesses will be able to bounce back," Vivian said.

Still, any business that loses two weeks of revenue is going to be hurt, he said.

Business owners have likely already cleaned up damage to their properties, but the test will be figuring out how to stay afloat after taking a financial hit.

We reported that the hurricane caused about $1 million in merchandise and structural damages to Lacks, leaving the store with no inventory or usable space.

Lacks CEO estimated it would take 60 days to reopen, if not longer.

Let's not forget that business owners may be dealing with damage to their own homes, and their employees are likely dealing with their own losses.

Almost 40 percent of small businesses never reopen their doors following a disaster because just a few inches of water can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Chew on that for a minute. Can you imagine what our local economy would look like if many cut their losses and opted never to reopen?

So how do we move on from here?

Well, we absolutely must support our local businesses.

We need to return to our normal shopping habits and avoid spending dollars on services that will take those dollars right out of town. Every dollar we spend should go to the local businesses who are here and create jobs and provide us the comforts and necessities needed to get back to normalcy.

But another thing we should do is practice having a little bit of patience and compassion over the next few weeks and months.

Just as our minds have been filled with dealing with recent hurdles, our cashiers and servers and contractors are probably just as frazzled. I mean these are our neighbors, and we must look around and recognize that much of our community is in the same boat or worse off.

Many restaurants took a financial loss when they opened their doors to us to serve a hot meal during the water boil notice. It wasn't easy complying with the requirements, and while it was probably frustrating, they did it while putting aside their own personal issues - because we needed them.

Our local businesses have long supported our children's sports teams and helped provide donations for fundraisers.

Now that they need us, we have to be here for them, or in a few years when we look around the city, it will look much different than it does today.

Consider also that FEMA only offers small businesses loans after a disaster, so whatever wasn't covered by insurance will be left to these businesses to cover.

We as customers have to continue to frequent our local businesses because this will help us all as we recover from Harvey.

We are strong, and we, as a community, can come together to strengthen our economy.

This opinion reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.



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