HOUSTON — Hurricane Harvey dropped biblical rain levels on the U.S. gulf coast and finally moved on. In its wake, it left casualties, people displaced, homes damaged, and lots of clean-up, including area drycleaning and fabricare businesses here.
“Houston is resilient and Texas is strong,” one fabricare voice tells American Drycleaner over the phone Thurs., Aug. 31, as flood waters had only just begun to noticeably recede.
Three from the fabricare industry here — two drycleaning owners and one distributor — share their stories:
Kyle Nesbit, VP of business development, and Mike Nesbit, president, MW Cleaners, Houston, note that five of their 38 locations had some level of water, and one, a plant, is being evaluated for the extent of damages.
“It appears we have lost a significant part of our equipment and all the furniture and fixtures,” they say.
They have emergency protocols in place, “so there is good lines of communication during crisis,” they note.
With concerns for employee safety, locations opened only on a voluntary basis if employees could get there safely, the Nesbits add.
“We had 35 locations opened Wed., Aug. 30, when the majority of the city service business was shut down. MW management team and employees are world class! There is no better!”
They also note that: “16 employees lost car or home or both. We have been in contact with each and have provided some kind of assistance that includes money, housing (hotel rooms) and no lost wages.”
Rahim Maknojia, president, CEO, Oaks Cleaners, Houston, says: “with the grace of God we are doing fine and we are back in full action Thurs., Aug. 31.”
He notes that he is getting some advice and help from the Drycleaning & Laundry Institute (DLI) about things like insurance claims and rent break since, “we were down because of the flood.”
Chris Barnett at the Houston distributor FabriClean Supply, notes that Houston is resilient and Texas is strong. “Neighbors helping neighbors has never been so true.”
He says: “Our industry has survivors and a number of our customers are taking in wet and damaged clothes. Munro's Uniform is taking donations now for Beaumont and Port Arthur relief. Fabriclean is open for operations with limited damages and has been supplying customers.
“We have checked on a number of customers and they are doing their parts setting up donation funds, sending in clothes and assistance.”