Marshall & Bruce Printing Rebounds After Devastating Flood
“One of our employees, Casey Johnson, came to our facility in the middle of the night and cut the electric,” notes Smith. “That was a key decision and he helped to save our company.”
By daybreak, the river water began to rise slowly. As the floodwaters began to peak on Monday afternoon, Marshall & Bruce’s facility had three feet of water in the plant that remained for 36 hours.
Smith and his management team slogged through the facility and found themselves knee-deep in river water. Their KBA press had flood water up to the catwalks. Repairs had to be made to all of the pumps, motors and other systems housed below the catwalk level of the press. The electrical system on the press had to be cleaned and changed.
While Smith tried to handle the immediate overwhelming shock and pain of his flooded business, a number of decisions needed to be made quickly. His brother, vice president of sales and marketing, quickly focused on the company’s customers while Chip took over the plant, equipment, insurance and building needs. Thousands of thoughts roared through his head. Where do we begin? How do we get in touch with all the employees, customers and vendors? What equipment is functional? What equipment will be salvageable? How will we continue business while we clean and repair the building and equipment? We have flood insurance, but will it be enough?
It took two months for the company to become fully operational again. KBA sent mechanics and electricians to help Marshall & Bruce rebuild the press.
“Darwin and Sebastian were excellent,” says Smith. “I can’t say enough about their knowledge and professionalism. They worked for two to three weeks at a time and on weekends protecting the press, keeping it greased so that no moisture would get inside. They were very methodical.”
During that time, the firm shifted from being a printer to a print broker. This served two key purposes: it allowed Marshall & Bruce to service its customers and maintain good relations with them; and it provided the firm with a revenue stream in the interim. With its KBA press off-line, Marshall & Bruce helped its clients find temporary printers in Nashville, Chattanooga and Alabama. Since the firm was the only printer to be affected by the flood, the local Printing Industry of America and graphic arts community offered to help.