On the evening of September 13th 2018 Wilmington NC home to Kessebohmer Retail Merchandising and Kessebohmer USA was struck by Hurricane Florence, which would linger over the area for three days causing great destruction. Roughly 1,000,000 people and businesses were left without power for multiple days, there were 37 fatalities, 450 water rescues, and over 1200 road closures including 357 main roads in North Carolina. Hundreds of residents have been left homeless due to flooding in their homes or damages from trees and wind. Entire neighborhoods were underwater and people had to use boats and canoes to get out.

„Staring Down Hurricane Florence.“ Image Credit: ESA/NASA–A. Gerst

For one week Hurricane Florence made Wilmington an island cut off from the rest of the world. This left people and families who evacuated the area before the storm unable to come back to check on their homes. It also made it impossible for supplies to be brought in such as food and water. Grocery stores were left bare and gas was also in short supply. Multiple churches and other organizations came together and helped feed and offer supplies to people that were in need. Hurricane Florence has been considered the most devastating storm to hit the North Carolina coast since Hurricane Hazel in 1958.

KRM and KUSA employees started preparations for the offices and their homes early in the week moving office furniture and computer equipment to keep from possible damage. KRM had several employees stay and weather the storm and others left to be with family outside of the area. One of KRM’s team members did lose his home due to flooding but has since been relocated and was not home when it happened. The KRM office sustained a great deal of damage, and repairs are being made now, until repairs are finished KUSA has graciously open up their office so that we can continue operations as normal as possible. With the two Kessebohmer teams under one roof this is giving newer team members in both companies the opportunity to get to know each other and creates a great working environment even when sharing space. The Kessebohmer Teams here in Wilmington went through a devastating time the last couple of weeks, but we remained lucky that no one was injured and damages were to things that can be replaced.

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Text: Erin Jernigan