vol. 18 // August 2021
Sean* owns a thriving bookstore housed in a turn-of-the-century building in a charming town on the Atlantic coast. Hurricane Florence, which brought more than 24 inches of water and multiple days of high winds, put the store’s future in jeopardy.
The bookstore and many other structures in the town were damaged. Water came in around windows and under the doors, damaging the furnishings and books. Sean and his team, along with help from customers, friends, and the local Scout troop scrambled to save what they could, but the clean-up job was massive. The store sign was blown blocks away, carpeting was soaked, bookcases were wicking water, and many books were wet, stained and quickly began to mildew in the late summer heat.
As often happens after a hurricane wreaks havoc with a community, the resulting damage and recovery efforts also restricted business. Communities like Sean’s were closed to non-residents while residents cleaned up homes and businesses. For Sean’s store and other businesses, this created a second hardship as potential customers could not patronize their stores multiplying the loss of income. It was a full 19 days after the storm before the bookstore was able to reopen and welcome the few customers that ventured into the area.
Sean contacted his insurance company to file a claim to cover repairing the damage, only to be told that unless the physical building structure failed, the wind and water damage were not covered. Due to damage and the lower volume of business, Sean wasn’t sure he’d be able to continue meeting the rent. He used his own funds for a while, but knew that wasn’t a sustainable solution.
Luckily other booksellers in the area let Sean know that he had a safety net – the Binc Foundation. Binc was able to help Sean with a few months of store rent, allowing him to persevere until the holiday sales restored his store income to pre-hurricane levels.
Sean writes, “Without the help from the community, I would not have the ability to consider continuing the store.” Binc was happy to be a part of Sean’s community of helpers!
*Confidentiality is a core component of any assistance Binc provides, so the name of this bookstore owner has been changed. Some events may have been compressed and details might be included from another story to protect the confidentiality and privacy of all those who receive assistance from Binc.
It’s Hurricane Season
Check your disaster plan, restock any needed supplies, and be safe.
Bookstore or comic shop owners and employees, if you are facing a financial emergency due to hurricanes, wildfires, floods or other disasters, Binc is ready to help.
Make sure your store is ready for any disaster. Download your checklist and find many other resources at: https://www.bincfoundation.org/resources/
“I am so grateful for the support that my business partner and I received for our shop. The pandemic greatly impacted our ability to secure our storefront last year so we had to transition to e-commerce only while we were waiting for another opportunity to secure a storefront. We managed earlier this spring to secure a space and were building the business up but just lost that to gentrification. We were nervous about what the next few months would hold when we became aware of the support Binc offers. They helped keep a roof over our heads while we are close to securing a new place for our shop.”
— A comic shop owner you helped**
**Quotes may be edited for length, clarity and to help preserve confidentiality.