This past week marks two years since Hurricane Harvey changed the lives of Houstonians forever. Our Braeswood location took on four feet of water, damaging thousands of dollars of equipment, ingredients, and product.

There is a certain type of trauma that comes with going through a natural disaster. For months after Harvey, our team would grow anxious any time the bayou behind Braeswood would rise. If a lot of rain was in the forecast, it became second nature in our business office to move precious documents and equipment to precariously high heights, wary of the possibility of flooding again.

For those who have never experienced flood cleanup, it’s a dirty job. Once the floodwaters receded, our team showed up to begin picking up the pieces. It was all hands on deck–cashiers were washing dishes, decorators were power-washing, bakers were cataloging damaged ingredients and throwing out what could not be salvaged. Without our devoted staff, we could never have accomplished full cleanup a little over two weeks later, resulting in our receiving the 2018 SBA Phoenix Award for Outstanding Small Business Disaster Recovery.

But while Hurricane Harvey brought difficulty to our business, it also gave us a very important platform. Janice has become an outspoken advocate for small business disaster preparedness, and the importance to shop disaster zones. The surge in natural disasters in the past few years also inspired VISA to make them the focus of their Small Business Week this year, as well as causing a call on Congress to reinforce support for flood-ready infrastructure.

Brian Melley, AP

For the next few months, we will be sharing tips for individuals and small businesses on disaster preparedness. We are so grateful for all of the customers that have supported us these past two years, and for organizations like the SBA–without which we would definitely have closed our doors long ago.