Foodservice Equipment Reports

Dealing With Disaster

As we all now know, Sandy wasn’t just a storm or even a hurricane; it was a “superstorm.” Calling around to our friends to see how everyone fared, it’s clear the storm and its aftermath created severe challenges for those who equip and supply foodservice operators in the Northeast. Several major dealers in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania lost power or had minor damage to their facilities but, thankfully, it appears most weathered the storm in reasonable stead and were able to begin operations with 48 to 72 hours. It never hurts to be lucky.

Among the lucky were M. Tucker and its parent, Singer Equipment. We checked in with Fred Singer and Marc Fuchs late last week. Tucker’s distribution facility in Paterson N.J., never lost power. “It was very scary,” said Fuchs, who actually was in the office for a couple hours Monday during the height of the storm, “but we were very lucky.” None of the company’s hundreds of employees was hurt though more than half were without power. Everyone hunkered down Monday and Tuesday, but by last Wednesday, Tucker was able to start deliveries to hospitals and other critical customers “in dire need.” The company resumed full loads on Thursday and Friday.

Singer told us the company’s other major distribution facilities in Elverson, Pa., and Philadelphia also were lucky enough to not lose power. “Even our office in Long Island stayed on,” he said. “There’s a TV station next door; maybe that helped.”

Edward Don’s facility in Westhampton, N.J., did lose power for a couple of days, according to Steve Don. “With so many out of power and dealing with damage at home, it was difficult for everyone,” Don said. But the branch was also able to start full deliveries by Thursday.

While a lot of focus on been on New Jersey, parts of New York and Pennsylvania also got hammered. Mike Posternak at the rep firm PBAC said his “hometown dealer,” H. Weiss in Armonk, N.Y., in Westchester Country, was still without power this past Monday, and was running on generators. Sam Tell and the consulting firm Clevenger Frable, also in Westchester, were down for several days but were back up and running at the beginning of the week, according to Posternak.

Allentown, Pa., was battered too. Both a Wasserstrom distribution facility and an outlet of Clark Foodservice lost power, thanks to reported 90 mile-an-hour winds. Wasserstrom got power back Thursday, the Clark store on Saturday.

Still, it was not piece of cake. Tom Gilligan, Wasserstrom’s v.p. of distribution services, sent us this report: “We regained power Thursday evening. Our team rallied together and worked this Friday through Sunday and ensured that all orders were picked, packed and shipped. We worked with the local carriers to pick up our shipments over the weekend as well as deliver our inbound goods so that we could ensure all items were on hand as needed. In special instances while our Allentown facility was coping with restricted logistic capabilities from the local carriers, our network of distribution facilities stepped up and ensured customers who were not impacted by the storm (and are normally served by the Allentown facility) were serviced by Wasserstrom without missing a beat.”

People have to eat. And when bad things happen, good people step up. Among the good things, Fuchs at M. Tucker and Fred Klashman, publisher of Total Foodservice, the regional foodservice publication in the Tri-State area, have created a special website to help operators in the region with questions such as health department rules on reopening and foodservice suppliers who are up and running. You can check out the site at Hurricane Foodservice Relief.

And as we also report above, the International Hotel, Motel and Restaurant Show at the Javits Center in New York opens Sunday, Nov. 11. The show is offering free registration to attendees. You can get information here at ihmrs.com. The “Register to Attend” button is front and center on the homepage. Enter FER2012 for the promo code in Step 1 of registration.

We’ll be at the show. We look forward to seeing many of you and hearing even more stories.

 Cheers,

 

Robin Ashton

Publisher

rashton@fermag.com

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