Having been through a couple of hurricanes over the years, I know the stages that one goes through when tragedy occurs. Even though a number of members are telling us that they are OK and their shops fared fairly well in the wake of Superstorm Sandy's rampage, it will take a lot of time to get things back to "normal."
After Hurricane Hugo, I was without power for nine days. Some people went longer. Even after that, it took months to get back into a routine. You don't really get back to "normal," you find a new "normal." The interruptions these members are facing to their businesses and their families lives will take a toll on them physically and mentally. Stress levels will increase.
For example, I recently heard from Sean Benetin, owner of Millwork and More in Bernardsville, NJ. Sean's shop lost a week's worth of production time last week, but fortunately did not suffer any storm damage. But he adds that his clients - homeowners, builders and designers - are preoccupied with more pressing issues, in some cases waiting for power to be restored, thus putting projects on hold for at least a couple of weeks or more.
As president of the Cabinet Makers Association, I offer all the resources available to any CMA member, and for than matter, any northeast woodworking shop impacted by Sandy. With our membership being scattered all over the country, our offerings may be slim, but we will put forth a giant effort with any shop owner that needs or asks for help in any way. The request does not have to be business related. If there is anything we can do to help the families of our members, I am sure that we can find a way to make things happen.
History has shown that members help members. We have had shops offer the use of shop space and equipment. Some have sold others machinery at dirt cheap pricing. Others have helped as an outsource agent to get products out the door. In fact, Sean is offering shops that sustained damage or without power to contact him to outsource their production for the short term. We will do what we have to do to see that our members not only survive, but be made better.
If you, or someone you know, could use our help, please, let us know. You can contact Executive Director Dave Grulke at our head office in Milwaukee at firstname.lastname@example.org. or 414-377-1340.
God bless you all in your time of strife. You are all in my thoughts and prayers.
Tracy Yarborough is owner of Maple River Woodworks in Florence, SC, and president of the Cabinet Makers Association.