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Level 2

Recovering From a Disaster

Has anyone gone through a natural disaster with their small business and recovered? I live in Sonoma and I'm witnessing the tragedies and triumphs of many local businesses in the Napa and Sonoma area trying to get back on their feet. 

I'd love to hear any stories or perspectives on recovering and staying focused and inspired after a disaster or tragedy.


13 Comments
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Level 7

Recovering From a Disaster

The unbelievable love and support I've seen from the community has inspired me to stay strong and forge ahead. I wish I could provide work to those who are unable to work because they've lost their home and have had to relocate, or because their place of business is no longer standing. 

Thanks for starting this conversation, Bill. :heart: It's such an important topic to think about right now. 

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Level 6

Recovering From a Disaster

Bill and Audrey, we are so glad you are both safe and we are so sorry for what you have gone through. Our hearts are you.

My business has not gone through a natural tragedy, but we did live through the greatest recession since the Great Depression. Several things happened during 2007-2008. First, our boutique customer base for our prenatal products disappeared. We had over 600 boutique customers at the start of 2007. By 2009, we were down to about 100. Many of them just disappeared.

Second, in 2008, 25% fewer babies were born. That is a huge problem for a company selling prenatal products! And it hit women who planned their pregnancies the hardest - and those were mostly our customers. It was really tough.

Looking back, our approach became to focus on the customers we did have. We developed a wider range of products so that we could sell more products to fewer customers vs. one product to more customers. It was scary because it required inventory investments that were not proven. But it kept us afloat and one of those new products ended up being our best seller.

Lean on us however we can help. We are here for you!
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Level 7

Recovering From a Disaster

@LeslieBarber - Amazing story on how you just gotta roll with the punches! As scary and challenging as these situations may be, boy do we grow fast and they teach us so much. Thanks for the love and support, which is another beautiful thing that flourishes during these challenging times. :heart: :smileyhappy:

Highlighted
Moderator

Recovering From a Disaster

Hello Bill,

 

I hope you are doing well and persevering through the recovery. How has it been in Napa and for yourself?

 

I grew up in Rincon Valley (Santa Rosa) but haven't lived in the area for about a decade. When I heard the news it was surreal - all I knew was I had to get home. I drove back to the Bay Area from LA that night, hopped in the car next morning with some food donations and drove to Santa Rosa without a plan. 

 

I was turned away at several places due to the overabundance of support; a fantastic problem to have (as far as problems go). Eventually, I was able to volunteer at the Redwod Empire Foodbank and watched for hours as individuals and businesses donated food, some even brought their store's stock (gas and power were off, didn't want food to go to waste).  

 

Some of my friends lost their homes, others their place of business, a few are going to rebuild and some aren't going back. Yet people are showing resilience in different ways. I heard this story on NPR (http://www.npr.org/2017/10/12/557444669/northern-california-wildfires-destroy-thousands-of-businesse...) last week when I was driving, the gentlemen talking seems to be optimistic and provides some good silver lining. People seem to be rallying - lots of local places opened their doors and offered free support (http://www.petaluma360.com/news/7534571-181/petaluma-restaurants-pitched-in-to?artslide=0).  The friend I initially went to help works as a FoH manager at Kendall Jackson Wines near the evacuation area. Their story never made it to the news. He wasn't able to work for a few days, but eventually, KJ opened their doors and let operations run for free. They served 11,000 meals to shelters, gave the staff the opportunity to help and supported the local community.

 

Others I talked to said the fire was more than anything a learning experience - what they would do differently down the road and perspective on the importance of life and not material possessions. As an outside observer, I can't pretend to know how that all feels, but it does make me think. 

 

I use this website (a friend of the friend built it) for the up-to-date, accurate, community-contributed information. It has all kinds of resources and facts, some for Napa and Sonoma as well. Specifically, the recovery page (http://sonomafireinfo.org/#/recovery) seems to have many good contacts - maybe there is a group you can connect with? Maybe there's some information you could contribute as well. 

 

Facebook also seems to have quite a few support groups (Sonoma County Fire: Community ResponseSanta Rosa Fire Storm UpdateSanta Rosa/Sonoma County Fire Support). These might be worth exploring, though not all the information may be useful. 

 

I hope this helps. Very best to you in your recovery, happy to chat if you'd like. 

 

Best,

 

James Ong

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Level 7

Recovering From a Disaster

Hi @Hayaibookusu

Thank you for helping our small but strong community during this time. I really appreciate you taking the time to share the stories and support sites you've come across, as well as sharing your story. The amount of love and support that has come out of this disaster has been inspiring to say the least. One day at a time. :heart:

Highlighted
Level 2

Recovering From a Disaster

Hi James,

Thank you for such a thoughtful and generous post. We are getting back to work and school in the town of Sonoma, albeit in the middle of a lot of mixed feelings: relief, grattitude, sorrow an grief. 

So many have lost it all, but to your point, the Napa and Sonoma Valley's have rallied to the cause, and we are getting a lot of support from the surrounding area. 

I appreciate you sharing the links, especially the SonomaFireInfo site - the folks at Chimera are amazing. 

The small businesses around town are getting open and back on their feet - after talking to a couple of friends who are SB owners, their plee was pretty succinct - "come to Sonoma (or any affected area) and spend money)".

Highlighted
Level 1

Recovering From a Disaster

I send you all my courage and digital help from spain brother. I read your post and I feel that I should share with you this quote that get my through tough times:

 

“Our negative life situations are essential elements for us to fulfill our intended destiny. However, unless we possess the power of endurance to live through the dark of the night, we will not see the glory of daybreak.”

Highlighted
Moderator

Recovering From a Disaster

Hello @AudreyPratt

 

Stories help us keep focused and hopeful for great futures! Doing what I can from a distance. 

Highlighted
Moderator

Recovering From a Disaster

Hello @BillJohnston

 

My pleasure, I hope you are doing better every day. It must be a challenge to navigate so many ups and downs internally and externally. Sonoma has such history and character, the product of wonderful people I know will drive the way forward. 

 

The response has been overwhelming - disasters bring out the best in us.  There was a group of us who planned to go up on day 5 but so many places were impacted by volunteers we were sure we'd get turned away, it made me so proud of my hometown. 

 

Glad the links helped. Hopefully, it will keep providing information as the area enters the long road to recovery. Were the FB groups useful? There's tech doing some direct human good. 

 

My friends and I are planning to do a cycling training ride up there soon for that very reason - we want to spend money in the economy and help out some local restaurants and shops. I keep telling folks to buy groceries from local producers up there - everything helps. 

 

Keep on keeping on. 

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Level 1

Recovering From a Disaster

I received an email today from Quickbooks but not sure if it's legit.  It's not on the calendar for the hotel and can't confirm online with quickbooks.   I've been on hold with QB's for and hour, not sure if I'll get thru tonight.   Has anyone else received?

Email Details: 

 

Can your Sonoma area business use some help December 7-8?

We know right now is a rough time for California Wine Country businesses. Businesses like yours are the cornerstones of healthy communities, and we want to strengthen your business and help you be as successful as possible.

How can we help?
Next week, December 7th and 8th, we'll have a team in Sonoma to provide product support, solve technical issues, and answer questions.

Here are some ways we may be able to help:

  • Retrieve or recreate your business data.
  • Ensure your business data and books are backed up so you can recover your data quickly.
  • Set up credit card and online payments to ensure you have income even if your doors are closed.
  • Get tips on finding workers and new customers to build your future.
  • Help you understand other obstacles you face and identify opportunities.
  • Answer questions about how to prepare for tax season.

We'll be in the Sonoma MacArthur Park Hotel:

Sonoma MacArthur Park Hotel
29 East MacArthur Park Street
Sonoma, CA 95476

There is free parking in the lot, and we'll have signs out and our QuickBooks t-shirts on so we're easy to find. The front desk can direct you to our location once you're in the hotel.

We'd also like to learn from you so we can help others in the future.
What support do you need during and after a natural disaster? We're offering a $150 gift card for your time if you meet with us for about an hour.

Schedule a time to meet

We look forward to seeing you!

Sincerely,

The QuickBooks Team

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Anonymous
Not applicable

Recovering From a Disaster

Hello @AKhan,

 

Yes, a team of QuickBooks employees are going out to the area to help disaster victims with the recovery. Thank you for bringing this to our attention! 

 

Are you from the area? 

Highlighted
Level 2

Recovering From a Disaster

As James said, this is legit. I plan on swinging by to say hi to the QB team. I hope to see you & other QB Community members as well.

A big THANK you to the QuickBooks team for doing this!

Highlighted
Anonymous
Not applicable

Recovering From a Disaster

@AKhan, were you able to make it out to the event with the team? 

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