September 11/18, 2017: Volume 32, Issue 7
By Reginald Tucker
The toughest of times often bring out the best in people. That time-tested mantra certainly applies to the flooring industry, which is stepping up in a big way in response to the natural disasters that have stricken Houston and Florida this month.
The support from the industry—on top of what has already been pledged by various charities, associations and independent donors—is sorely needed. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott puts the damage from Hurricane Harvey between $150 billion and $180 billion, making it more costly than Hurricane Katrina or Hurricane Sandy. Meanwhile, Karen Clark and Co., a Boston-based firm that analyzes risk, estimated total losses from Hurricane Irma, including the Caribbean, at $25 billion. Florida accounts for most of the $18 billion in estimated damages in the U.S., followed by Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama.
Following are several ways industry suppliers and individuals are providing assistance in the wake of the hurricanes.
Armstrong Flooring has pledged to donate 250,000 square feet of flooring to support rebuilding efforts after Hurricane Harvey and other natural disasters. The company will contribute flooring through a new partnership established with Good360—a nonprofit group that matches product donations with community organizations, many of which are engaged in disaster recovery in local communities.
The flooring donated through Good360 will be provided to several, thoroughly vetted non-profit organizations, including those helping with rebuilding efforts after disasters. Good360 provides products for all stages of disaster recovery and works with its on-the-ground non-profit partners to assess needs and respond accordingly.
Emser Tile has arranged a company-wide donation program to support disaster relief in Houston and southeast Texas in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. The program includes a significant corporate donation to the Red Cross from Emser Tile along with a match of all Emser Tile employee donations.
Emser Tile, based in Los Angeles, operates four showrooms and a major distribution center in Houston and employs more than 200 associates in the area. A separate fund has also been organized to provide financial assistance to those Emser Tile employees directly impacted by this disaster.
Following the devastating effects of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, Gerflor USA—which includes the Gerflor, Connor Sports and Sport Court brands—announced it will match employee donations for hurricane relief efforts. The company and its brands are committed to helping rebuild Texas, Florida and all communities impacted. Match-eligible donations to several non-profit organizations providing relief to affected communities in/around Houston will be accepted through Oct. 11.
As the devastation wrought by Hurricane Irma continues to be assessed, Karndean has announced plans to expand its Hurricane Harvey relief program to include those affected by Hurricane Irma as well.
After offering free freight services to its customers in Texas, Karndean Designflooring will also extend free freight to include customers in the state of Florida through Oct. 31. The company is also in the process of reaching out to dealers throughout the state to assess showroom damage and provide assistance.
In addition to the company’s current Hurricane Harvey donation drive to benefit the Houston Food Bank and City of San Antonio Animal Care Services, Karndean is also accepting donations for United Way of the Florida Keys, which will distribute funds to non-profit groups throughout Monroe County. The donation drive is open to Karndean employees as well as members of the general public.
Mohawk Industries and Nature’s Big Springs Water have partnered to offer a helping hand to those affected by Hurricane Harvey. The two Dalton-based companies teamed up to donate and deliver more than 100,000 bottles of water to the Houston area. The companies will split the cost of the water and Mohawk will deploy its trucking fleet to make the delivery once the roads are passable.
Mohawk employs approximately 130 people in the Houston area—all of whom have been identified as safe and sheltered, although some of their homes have been severely compromised. In addition to the water delivery, the company will provide further assistance to affected employees.
Patcraft, working in conjunction with its parent company, Shaw, has established a donation program to benefit Hurricane Harvey relief efforts led by the Red Cross. Over the next 90 days, the company will donate 2% of every sale of product shipped to Texas to the humanitarian organization. This donation program was designed to provide support to the affected areas and began with purchases made on Sept. 4. Patcraft is currently exploring opportunities to support Hurricane Irma relief efforts as well.
Shaw Industries is committed to supporting the response and recovery efforts of communities affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma and other natural disasters as part of the company’s corporate vision of creating a better future. The safety and well being of Shaw’s associates and customers directly affected by these events are a top priority.
Working alongside the American Red Cross, Shaw is listening to and addressing the needs of victims and volunteers as disasters strike and challenges continue to unfold. The company has chosen to partner with the American Red Cross due to the organization’s far-reaching network to effect meaningful change and their track record of transparency, donating an average of $0.90 of every dollar to the programs they service.
Shaw’s strategic plan for assisting with natural disasters is as follows:
- Connect with affected associates and customers to ensure their safety and well being.
- Address property damage of associates and customers to explore needed physical and financial support.
- Make corporate donations to the American Red Cross immediately following natural disasters.
- Organize efficient and practical ways Shaw associates can donate money/supplies as needed.
- Listen to the needs of first responders and the American Red Cross to ensure that supply donations make logistical sense and offer significant benefits.
- Organize Shaw associate blood/collection drives as needed.
- Donate flooring products for recovery and rebuilding efforts as needed.
To date, Shaw has provided the following support for those impacted by Hurricane Harvey:
- Made a corporate contribution to the American Red Cross.
- Invited associates and the community to support the Red Cross’ efforts by making monetary donations—the most efficient way to most quickly assist those impacted.
- Offered grants to assist with expenses are available to Shaw associates who lost their homes.
- Donated and transported bottled water as requested by the American Red Cross.
- Enabled Shaw retailers to use Capture The Spirit points for American Red Cross donations with a corporate match for donations during a specified time period.
- Extended sample/showroom replacement support and other special offers to retail customers.
- Provided a dedicated customer service group to handle calls and expedite service.
Shaw will continue to evaluate needs and take a similar long-term, strategic approach with Hurricane Irma.
For more information, visit shawinc.com.
Texas-based Swiff-Train Co. is rallying team members from all over Texas to help in multiple aspects. At the same time, the company has established a YouCaring Fundraising account to aid in the recovery efforts. (Visit youcaring.com and search “Swiff-Train” for details.)
To assist their customers with their showrooms needs, Swiff-Train created product, display and showroom floor promotions. The support from its business partners and vendors has been instrumental in its efforts to meet current supply demands.
Swiff-Train itself was heavily impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Three of its distribution centers—Houston, Corpus Christi and Victoria—were in the storm’s path. Despite extensive damage to employees’ homes and property, all personnel are safe and distribution operations are back to normal, Swiff-Train reports.