Thriving after Harvey: Two years. Two journeys.

Two years ago, our Texas Gulf Coast communities experienced the devastating force of nature as Hurricane Harvey severely changed the landscape of those neighborhoods. We knew that small business owners would be affected, and quickly rose to the call for aid.

Dana Alsop knew her life would change as Hurricane Harvey made landfall in her home of Refugio, Texas. Her home was impacted and her businesses, Britt’s Floral and A Little Britt of Heaven event venue, suffered roof, ceiling and interior damage.

In Houston, Texas Chef Yolonda Henry managed Nuksy’s Fine Catering for 15 years until Harvey flooded her business space and ruined her equipment, inventory and the business’ building structure, forcing her to look for a new location to continue business operations. “I know there are a lot of clients who rely on us, and are good to us, so I really wanted to find an out to continue my business,” said Yolonda.

Dana refused to let the storm reduce her commitment to her community; for months, she used the side of her venue as a supply and grocery distribution center to dispense food, furniture, appliances, and other donation items to families in need. Meanwhile, she embarked on a two-year battle with her insurance company to get the funds to restore her business facility.

With support from LiftFund, Dana was able to reopen her businesses while she waited on the insurance company to settle her claim and continue to provide work for her employees. Now, Dana’s event venue is up and running, nearing the end of the needed repairs for the nearly $143,000 in damage. Her flower shop has expanded and moved to its own storefront across the street from A Little Britt of Heaven.

Yolonda used her relief funds to secure a bigger location near downtown Houston and purchase new equipment. Today, she and her growing team are busier than ever, catering larger events including corporate and government clients. Her new space has a showroom where she is able to consult with her customers, and rental space for intimate gathering and celebrations. When reflecting on her recovery journey, she thanked LiftFund for the “the funding, the opportunity to be here, and the loan assistance, [which] has really helped us get back on track. [Now] we’re growing,” she said.

After surviving Harvey’s devastation, Dana hopes small business owners take time to understand the coverage provided by their insurance policy; know their rights as property owners or tenants; and be prepared to experience a long recovery process after a severe natural disaster.

LiftFund has enhanced its disaster support resources by participating in the recovery journey with hundreds of small business owners like Dana and Chef Yolonda. That’s why we are proud to partner with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration to create a disaster preparedness toolkit and build on our support services for small businesses. Stay tuned for more details!