SBA meets with Rose City business owners affected by Hurricane Harvey

 

You’d be hard-pressed to find a Rose City business that wasn’t affected by Hurricane Harvey, Mayor Bonnie Stephenson told the Business Journal. The mayor and a handful of Rose City business owners attended a meeting called by Acadian Cypress and Hardwoods CEO Frank Vallot, who asked SBA Public Information Officer Susheel Kumar to come brief his employees and fellow business owners on the SBA loan process Wednesday, Oct. 11, at Vallot’s business on Canary Street. In addition to the mayor herself, attendees included Wayne Cangelosi, vice president of Acadian Cypress & Hardwoods; Gene Tannehill, president of Action Oil Co.; Warren Norton, location manager of Acadian Cypress & Hardwoods; and Billy Jack Traylor, general manager of P&P Trailer Sales, among others.

After Hurricane Harvey, floodwaters from the nearby Neches River hit the small community of 500, cresting at a record-breaking 19 feet.

“So many lives were impacted,” Kumar said.

The city’s water system was inundated and along with it nearly every home and business in the area, including Vallot’s, which manufacturers lumber, plywood, siding, shingles, flooring, fencing, and molding profiles. Vallot said the business sustained around $3 million worth of damages.

“I think for the businesses that are insured, like myself, it’s going to take a while for that insurance to settle. We need to get back to work,” he said.

Vallot said he received nearly 6 feet of water in his business.

“The machinery was totaled,” he said. The business has had to replace all its machinery, its inventory of wood at the location, which was ruined by the flood, and its dust collector will have to be rebuilt, Vallot said.

Vallot, who is a native Louisianan, and has been a business owner in Rose City for 19 years, said he intends to rebound from the disaster.

“My intent is to come back and do better than before,” he said.

At the meeting called by Vallot, SBA Public Information Officer Susheel Kumar explained to the group of business gathered how they can apply for a federal disaster loan, which may be exactly what many of them need to get back on their feet.

“I think a lot came out of that meeting,” said Kumar, who added that as of Tuesday, Nov. 2, in Orange County alone, there have been 1,525 SBA loan applications approved totaling more than $147 million. In Jefferson County, there have been 1,633 SBA applications approved totaling more than of Texas, there have been 22,256 applications approved totaling more than $1.8 billion.

Kumar reminded that FEMA and SBA extended the deadline to register for disaster assistance to Friday, Nov. 30, due to the Thanksgiving holiday.

“The need for an extension was precipitated by the need of the many that still need to be served,” he said.

Those counties include: Aransas, Austin, Bastrop, Bee, Brazoria, Caldwell, Calhoun, Chambers, Colorado, DeWitt, Fayette, Fort Bend, Galveston, Goliad, Gonzales, Grimes, Hardin, Harris, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Karnes, Kleberg, Lavaca, Lee, Liberty, Matagorda, Montgomery, Newton, Nueces, Orange, Polk, Refugio, Sabine, San Jacinto, San Patricio, Tyler, Victoria, Waller, Walker and Wharton.

Applicants may apply online using SBA’s secure Web site at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.

In addition, applicants can get more information on SBA disaster assistance by calling SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955, by visiting www.sba.gov/disaster, or by e-mailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing may call (800) 877-8339. Completed applications should be mailed to U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

Stephenson said she is hopeful normalcy will soon return for businesses along the stretch of highway between Vidor and Beaumont that was so devastated by the storm.

Photo by Kevin King - SBA Public Information Officer Susheel Kumar speaks to Acadian Cypress and Hardwoods employees and Rose City business owners about the SBA loan process during a meeting in Rose City on Oct. 11.

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