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Texas Firms Regroup After Storms

On Wednesday, several advertising specialty companies based in central Texas described the local devastation after deadly storms and flooding crossed the region Memorial Day weekend. The storms left much of Houston underwater, destroyed hundreds of homes and businesses across central Texas and swept away bridges, stranding more than 2,000 motorists, according to reports. At least 18 people in Texas and Oklahoma have been killed, and officials warn that the danger is not yet passed: The National Weather Service on Wednesday issued a new flash flood warning for Houston.

Richard Lopez, director of sales at RiverCity Sportswear (asi/309087), said San Marcos, one of two cities the decorator calls home, was “wrecked,” with over 700 homes damaged or destroyed in the floods. Though RiverCity, which also has offices in Austin, was not directly affected by the storms, the company recently produced merchandise for customers that were completely wiped out and likely won’t be able to pay for those goods, Lopez said. To help its neighbors, RiverCity has launched a T-shirt fundraiser (click here for info), with all profits going to local charities. “There are so many needs right now in Austin, San Marcos and Wimberely,” Lopez said. “We are doing everything we can to make this fundraiser a success.”

Over in the Houston suburbs, suppliers and distributors were contending with technical and logistical difficulties. Visual Promotions (asi/93997), based in Sealy, TX, informed customers that the severe weather had taken out phone lines, an issue that was likely to take several days to resolve. Internet and e-mail were still functioning. Cynthia Cormier, owner of C&E Specialties (asi/154889) in Houston, felt lucky to have escaped the major flooding that hit the city’s downtown. “It’s bad, trust me,” she said. “The downtown area is definitely underwater.”

Though her business wasn’t directly hit, Cormier noted that the office has been quiet this week, with many of C&E’s larger clients, in particular area universities, shut down, due to the flooding. “They can’t get in or get out,” Cormier said.