The scope of damage to car audio shops in Texas due to Hurricane Harvey is just becoming apparent, even as Hurricane Irma bears down on Florida.
In the Houston area, dealers such as Apex Audio & Accessories, Orange, TX lost everything and are closed. Apex owner Jeremy Howland is trying to get a small business loan through FEMA to reopen. Other shops like Motion Audio are intact, but the owner Raymond Troy can’t get to the shop because he’s busy trying to salvage his home, which was under 18 inches of water (and he has no flood insurance). Troy’s father is answering the phones meanwhile.
Some shops suffered from looting during the storm. Car Audio Zone lost close to $100,000 in inventory. The alarm went off but owner Shawn Malik couldn’t get to his shop and nor could the police during the storm, so the shelves were completely wiped clean. Fortunately, Car Audio Zone had insurance.
Even those shops that are open for business are seeing few customers as their neighbors are busy trying to save their homes and they are spending money on sheet rock and washing machines rather than car audio.
UPS, we are told, as of Monday was not delivering to certain Texas zip codes unless the merchandise was sent prior to the storm. So suppliers are not readily able to replace lost inventory.
Meanwhile another category 4 Hurricane, Irma, threatens Florida, with suppliers such as AAMP, JL Audio, Metra, NAV-TV and VOXX in its path.
JL Audio’s Manville Smith said, “We are bracing for a direct hit. We have transferred stock to our Phoenix warehouse so they can ship most orders if we are out of commission for a while. All our IT infrastructure is backed up and robust. Our biggest concern is for our 300+ South Florida employees and their families. This looks like a brutal storm.”
A GoFundMe campaign for Houston car audio dealers has raised over $7,000, and we thank all contributors including Metra Electronics, who was extraordinarily generous, and ironically now finds itself in the path of Hurricane Irma.
We are compiling a list of affected dealers in the greater Houston area to receive those funds. We believe that dealers will need as much help as possible so if you would like to contribute, click here.
Scosche donated $20,000 in batteries and phone cables that is being distributed with the help of Hector Mena of Momentum Marketing through local Texax churches starting Monday.
Shawn Simpson of Momentum Marketing, TX is generously leading a tool drive to help replace tools lost by car audio installers. Some of those hit hardest in the storm will be installers who tend not to insure their tools. See more information here.
Maxxsonics is matching any contributions to a diaper drive for Houston residents. See Maxxsonics Facebook page.
The Mobile Electronics group (Mobile Electronics magazine, KnowledgeFest, formerly MERA) is also helping dealers in need. Many of its suppliers have offered to help. Please contact Mobile Electronics group here.
Momentum Marketing’s Mena said he wanted to give a shout out to local dealers who risked their lives in the storm to help others including Israel and Jorge Del Campo of CJ Sounds who took their truck and rescued dozens of families as did Alex Restrep of House of Sound. Similarly Kevin Henry of Liquid Rides helped cook for families.
We ask that if you are a Texas dealer harmed by Hurricane Harvey or if you are a distributor, rep or supplier who knows of a dealer in need, please contact [email protected] as soon as possible.
Photo: Car Audio Zone, Houston