Irma Hits,
Harvey Relief
Efforts Continue

As MI retailers and suppliers in Florida and Georgia deal with the impact of Irma, now downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm, MI businesses in Texas are in the midst of recovery from Hurricane Harvey.

Hurricane Harvey has killed at least 70 people and devastated the city of Houston, impacting dozens of MI companies.

The roads surrounding Eternal Lighting's facilities in Houston on Aug. 29.

When Harvey crashed into Texas on Aug. 25, several Houston-based Music & Arts stores were forced to close due to flooding. Harvey also affected more than 10 Guitar Center locations. Sam Ash's Houston location and Eternal Lighting were unreachable due to Harvey's floodwaters overtaking the roads in both directions. Promark's team members experienced serious water damage to their homes and property. Allparts' Steve and Lollie Wark were in chest-deep water when they were rescued by boat from their home.

A handful of the retailers that Music Inc. reached out to stated they were safe. But with such pervasive damage, the distress felt by the entire city was palpable.

"Our city is a mess, and people are hurting and without a home," said Mike Henry, CEO of Percussion Online. Henry's store and home were spared.

But in times of crisis, this industry bands together.

Mike Matthews and the Electro-Harmonix team donated several thousand dollars to various organizations for disaster relief. Texas-based Warm Audio teamed with multiple charities to raise funds for residents in need, including Samaritan's Purse, Houston Flood Relief Fund and the senior citizens of La Vita Bella who required relocation. Guitar Center partnered with charity MusiCares and launched an initiative to help the music communities of Southeast Texas get back on their feet.

Sam Ash also supported Texas with a donation of $25,000 to the Red Cross. "The Ash family sees this disaster as something that transcends all things, including job description," said Sammy Ash, chief operating officer. "Yes, Sam Ash Music makes its living on the musicians and hobbyists of this earth, but our heart sees no difference between people at a time like this." MI

Check back with Music Inc. for more updates on the impact of Irma. Many retailers and suppliers have been unreachable due to power outages. Nearly 7 million residents are without power, according to USA Today.

Music Inc. was able to get an update from Sammy Ash, who has reported no deaths and will have better assessment at a later time regarding Sam Ash's Tampa and Clearwater facilities.

— By Kasia Fejklowicz