The Struggle For Small Businesses After Hurricane Harvey

By Terri Langford
The Dallas Morning News

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Insurance — or the lack of it — will play a huge role in determining who recovers and who does not in all the areas hit by Harvey. But it will be particularly important in the resort towns that dot the barrier islands and coast of South Texas.

ROCKPORT

After running a popular food truck in this beach town, Melissa Smith took a giant step three months ago: she rented space in a commercial building downtown and opened Always Sunny Fudge and Ice Cream.

Last week, Hurricane Harvey peeled the roof off the place and drenched it. Ruined were the cases where she displayed handmade candy and sweets, as well as the equipment she used to make gyros and mango drinks.

And she got an even nastier surprise: the building was not insured and will probably have to be demolished.

Which means she can’t reopen, even though her own insurance on the shop’s contents should cover some of her losses.

She is not sure what to do next. “For now, we will have to wait,” she said.

Insurance — or the lack of it — will play a huge role in determining who recovers and who does not in all the areas hit by Harvey. But it will be particularly important in the resort towns that dot the barrier islands and coast of South Texas.

In places like Rockport, wedged between two bays northeast of Corpus Christi, the businesses are mostly small, commercial budgets are tight, and locations near the water makes insurance expensive, when you can get it at all.

Despite the risk, some business owners opt to go without special insurance for floods or windstorms, which are not covered by basic policies in Texas. That means getting Rockport’s core tourist-related businesses up and running could depend more on business owners’ pocketbooks than insurance.

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