Katrina Devastates DM Companies
Hurricane Katrina is easily the largest natural disaster to hit the United States in the last century. With the death toll at 1,200 and counting, an estimated $200 billion in damages, and more than a million people displacedonly the Great Depression can rival this social impactobviously it will take years for Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama to recover economically and spiritually.
While the focus of business reporting in the days immediately following the storm centered on oil, steel and shipping, other industries suffered losses, too. Meanwhile, the oil business, for one, was able to get back in action rather quickly. That was not the case for direct mail service providers located near the storm-ravaged areas of Mississippi and Louisiana. These companies might have been able to get back in operation within a week or two, but their local business had washed away with the tide.
About two weeks after the hurricane landed on the Gulf Coast, I received an e-mail from Joe Glasse, a PR professional in Florida who represents some direct marketing clients. He told me of the economic impact the storm had on two of his clients, First American Printing and Direct Mail (FAPDM) and Crain Creative, both located in the Biloxi, Miss. area. According to Glasse, Crain Creative is 95 percent dependent on copywriting and design jobs from local businesses; the casinos and hotels in this region were huge moneymakers for the state and local economies. Mississippi derived $2.7 billion in revenue from gambling in 2004, most of which came from the Biloxi casinos. And while FAPDM has a more diverse client base, it still has suffered a major blow.
Considering that there are hundreds of thousands of unemployed people due to this hurricane's devastation, FAPDM and Crain Creative are determined to hang in there and keep people on their payrolls. But they need more business to stay afloat. If you are scheduling any upcoming jobs and might be able to give these companies a job or two, it will help keep them on their feet as well as support the economy of a U.S. region that was let down badly by local and national government organizations.
The IDM staff is creating a Web page of direct mail businesses that were affected by Hurricane Katrina. If you know of an operation that could use a helping hand, please e-mail full contact information for the business to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or mail it to me at 1500 Spring Garden St., ste. 1200, Philadelphia, Pa. 19130.
You can access this page to learn how to contact FAPDM or Crain Creative at www.insidedirectmail.com.
Many thanks to Glasse for making me aware of this real need within our direct mail community.