Houston retailers dodge the worst in aftermath of Beryl

HOUSTON — Houston was in the crosshairs of the first major tropical storm system this year to make landfall in the U.S. on Monday, but by all accounts, its furniture retail community made it through without many lasting effects.

Hurricane Beryl made landfall south of Houston near Matagorda, Texas as a Category 1 hurricane on Monday morning with heavy rainfall and winds in the range of 75 to 80 MPH. The storm caused power outages for more than 1 million households in the greater Houston metro and reached near-record water levels.

As the storm made its way inland, tornado watches were issued for areas in Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas. Tornados remain the biggest ongoing concern as what’s left of Beryl continues through the Midwest.

Top 100 retailer Gallery Furniture opened the doors of its 6006 N. Freeway flagship store as a temporary shelter on Monday morning. On social media, owner Jim McIngvale offered up free food and a place for residents to ride it out. That offer remained in place Tuesday, with free food and free phone charging stations.

Star Furniture, part of Top 100 Berkshire Hathaway’s furniture division, came away as good as could be hoped, said Michael Galloway, vice president of marketing.

“All Houston operations were shut down yesterday. Business is resuming today though intermittent power issues persist,” Galloway said on Tuesday. “Texans are tough! After 112 years in Houston, we’re pretty resilient when it comes to wind and water events.”

That was a similar sentiment from Todd Garten, chief marketing officer for Top 100 retailer Dufresne Spencer Group, which owns and operates Ashley stores and Worth & Co. in the greater Houston area. He noted that associates made it through and power appears to be the biggest remaining issue.

“From an infrastructure standpoint, all stores and our DC were without power yesterday and did not open. Other than power, just looks like minor damages here and there so far thankfully,” Garten said. “Half of our stores already have power restored. The other half we don’t have an ETA on currently.”

Top 100 retailer American Furniture Warehouse closed its Houston-area stores and is now getting back to the task of getting deliveries back on schedule. Owner Jake Jabs said damage was minimal this time, and when AFW designed its stores in the market, it made sure they were as hurricane-ready as possible.

“When we built those stores, we certainly had hurricanes in mind. For example, our Conroe store is actually 15 feet higher than the then the ground around it,” Jabs said. “We did that purposefully because of flooding and knew that hurricanes would come there. So we built all stores kind of hurricane proof if there is such a thing. We basically had no damage.”

 

See also:

  • When good comes out of bad: Bacon’s rebuilds after hurricane devastation
  • Sales surge after storm? Louisiana retailers talk about how furnishings play role in post-hurricane recovery

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