Fox Valley companies carry on despite storm losses

Posted on Aug 8, 2013 :: Insight on Business, Web Exclusive.
Posted by of Insight Publications

The thunderstorm that ripped through the Fox Valley on Tuesday has left many businesses without power, causing many local businesses’ profits to hiccup, and leaving some with property damage and losses.

“We did lose some product yesterday,” says Steve Burkhardt, vice president of operations at Festival Foods, referencing the store on Northland Avenue in Appleton. “It was a significant loss in sales. We probably did 10 percent of what we normally do.”

Burkhardt said roadblocks in the area because of downed power lines prevented customers from getting to the store.

“Also, a large portion of our customers didn’t have power, so they couldn’t buy perishable goods and take them home,” he says.

Burkhardt said the teamwork of his employees created a silver lining in the wake of the storm.

“Today will be close back to a normal day for us. And I think by the weekend we’ll be better,” he says. “It always hurts to throw product away, but at some point, you just have to follow procedures. Our team really did a good job step-by-step.”

Burkhardt even talked about how the loss of power could actually benefit the store.

“So, as much as there’s a negative financial side, we have insurance and we can help cover that, there’s a lot of morale-building that goes on afterward. Everyone works together and says: ‘Yeah, I can’t believe how good the store works.’ We’ll be talking about this for a week or two. It’s a big morale boost.”

Other businesses, such as Greenville Storage, sustained external damage. During the storm, a tornado touched down and wiped out several of the company’s storage units. However, like Festival, the employees of the company remained positive despite the damage and simply changed the sign out front to read: “Ouch.”

–Sean Lyons