Louisiana flooding takes out two Olinde's stores
August 19, 2016,
Baton Rouge, La.-based Olinde's provided this aerial view of Range Avenue in Denham Springs, La., where its Ashley HomeStore was flooded by about five feet of water.
DENHAM Springs, La. — Top 100 company Olinde’s has lost everything at its Ashley HomeStore here from the devastating flooding that has claimed lives and wiped out thousands of homes and businesses in Louisiana this month.
“The water rose about eight feet,” Olinde told Furniture/Today Friday. “The store is up about three or four feet so there was about five feet of water inside — destroyed pretty much.”
Olinde’s Mattress Superstore in Walker, La., just a few miles away also was damaged by about a foot of water in the showroom. Both stores were among Olinde’s smallest, he said, but still strong performers. He estimated the inventory loss before freight at about $600,000 between the two stores. Add up all upfront costs, including gutting and rebuilding and “I’m probably going to lose a couple of million bucks,” Olinde said.
The homes of about 50 Olinde’s employees were flooded too, inflicting more pain while making staffing a challenge early on as well. One of Olinde’s first moves following the record rains and flooding was to contact all employees and help them out as much as possible, he said.
Because many roads were impassible earlier this month, deliveries were halted for a while, which freed up Olinde’s warehouse manager — an outdoorsman — to bring out his boat and rescue some 50 people in the space of a couple of days, Olinde said.
The interior of one of the Olinde's stores after the flood waters receded.
In a preliminary analysis, the Baton Rouge Area Chamber noted 20 Louisiana parishes have received the federal disaster area declaration, including eight of nine parishes in the Baton Rouge region. More than 110,000 homes in the region were located in flood area, the report said.
“It’s a pretty devastating deal,” Olinde said. His damaged stores, like the vast majority of businesses and residents in the affected area, were not insured for the catastrophe, but Olinde has been here before, not so much with Katrina as Hurricane Rita, also back in 2005, which destroyed the retailer’s 70,000-square-foot store in Lake Charles, La.
Indeed, Olinde ended up calling on the same salvage company out of Dallas to take a look at the damaged goods in the HomeStore to see if it could get anything for them (but no one wanted to touch them, and the retailer ended up hiring another company just for removal).
“We jumped on it right away because we know time is of the essence,” Olinde said. “We’re fighting to come back. I’ve got a salvage crew ripping all that stuff out and a contractor coming in behind them. When you have these kinds of things happen, time is money. You have to jump on it because the contractors become a real premium.”
Olinde said it’s going to be a good while before the HomeStore opens, but he’s hoping to have the bedding store back up in a month or so.
Despite the setback, he said, that “we’re blessed” and that he knows single-store operators in the area who have faced flooded homes and business who are “at their wit’s end.”
But for the most part, “people over here are real upbeat,” he said, “helping each other. They’re really kind of spiritual. It’s inspirational and encouraging.”
Related Content By Author
Casual Friday: Furnitureland South's expanding outdoor showroom
Casual Living eWeekly
Most Viewed Articles
November Digital Edition
Don't miss the November digital edition of Casual Living! In this month’s issue, we look to the future of retail with a spotlight on technology. Assistant Editor Alex Milstein breaks down the basics of artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR) and how they’re changing the furniture shopping experience. We also explain how building engagement on social media channels can boost business for retailers.
You’ve waited two years, and it’s finally here! Casual Living’s biennial Universe Study offers a comprehensive snapshot of the outdoor category, highlighting its growth across all segments from furnishings to shade to grills.
Also in This Issue:
• Designer Viewpoint: A Beverly Hills backyard gets a glam makeover, thanks to renowned designer Christopher Grubb.
• Market Report: Our editors give you the inside scoop on all the new outdoor introductions at the High Point Market. Can you say Cobonpue?
• Casual Insights: Kathy Wall of The Media Matters offers insight on refreshing your brand.