Notes from the Field: A Small Business Tries to Recover

Upper Valley Strong case managers and project managers spend hours in the field, speaking with people whose lives have been disrupted by Irene and helping them figure out them how best to put the pieces back together.

In the northern part of our service area, at a place where a river makes an oxbow, a small business was badly impacted by Irene’s flood waters, which reached four feet high on the main floor. Machinery, tools and supplies were damaged – some beyond repair.

For several days community volunteers worked to help the owner remove the four feet of mud from the basement  of his shop, a bucket at a time.  The shop is still full of buckets and boxes of muddy inventory, raw materials, small tools, debris and lots of drill bits. A return to normal will require many hours of cleaning and sorting in addition to expert repair of the machines. The owner is currently spending time at this labor, as well as interviewing for paid work as he does not have either enough orders or the capacity to fill them.

The owner described his work and explained  some of the kinds of parts he makes. He told how one of his largest accounts, which brought in up to half of his pre-flood income, stopped ordering immediately after the disaster.

COVER is looking for skilled volunteer labor who can help get this business back together.  In the meantime, they are trying to obtain the funds needed to repair the walls of the shop and to replace machinery and parts.

This is just one of many small and home businesses that were hurt by Tropical Storm Irene and have not yet returned to normal operation.