Hurricane Katrina — After the Storm
“Owner Gary Hauser was at the point in his career where he was looking to retire down the road,” David explains. “He was ready for a change. We showed up at his door, and the rest is history.”
Thus, the small team of nine Harvey employees moved into Hauser’s plant, started using Hauser’s equipment and continued their print operation. “After negotiating to buy the business,” David says, “we ultimately merged into Harvey-Hauser Printing on April 30, 2006.”
“Today, we are a merged company, and we’re back on our feet,” relates Hudgens. “We’re only doing about 60 percent of the business we were doing at Harvey Press but, considering we lost everything in the storm, we feel fortunate to be back in business at all. But, as New Orleans grows back, so will we.”
Saved by Consolidation
Adversity builds character. Necessity is the mother of invention. And, “Consolidation is the new face of the printing industry in New Orleans.”
So says Tim Levy, vice president of New Orleans-based Pel Hughes Printing. When asked how Katrina impacted the printing industry in the Big Easy, Levy answers in one word: Consolidation. He acknowledges that a lot of printers closed their doors, others had no doors to close (their businesses had turned to rubble) and still others joined forces to survive.
Echoing Chalifoux’s assessment of the many mergers, he offers a prediction mixed with a bit of advice: “Smaller printers are going to have to invest in new technologies in order to meet the now important disaster recovery demands of larger clients.”
Disaster recovery is a big issue (and problem) for many small shops. According to Chalifoux, few printers had recovery plans before Katrina. Now, most have them, as some are required by their insurance carriers to have such a plan, and others are required by their customers to have insurance. PIA/ GATF has disaster plan templates and, after Katrina, PIAS got involved, helping printers with their recovery plans.