52 In 52 Business Spotlight
After the Storm: There's No Place Like Home
The Floor Show Carpet One Shares a Story of Rebuilding Home After Tornado Uproots Business
TIMBERLAKE, VA - On April 16, 2018, the morning after a tornado destroyed his newly renovated showroom and warehouse, Chase Dewitt, president of The Floor Show Carpet One, located at 20695 Timberlake Road, was overwhelmed with concern for his customers and employees.
“Once I confirmed that our families were all okay, and we shared in that gratitude that no lives were lost, I went into solid recovery mode,” said Dewitt. “As grateful as I was that no one was hurt, I just couldn’t believe how much of our business had been destroyed, and we began brainstorming how we would take care of our employees, and our customers.”
The tornado removed the entire facade of The Floor Show Carpet One’s storefront, damaging the nearly two years worth of work, store manager, Nancy Fitzgerald, had dedicated her passions and energies to.
“We had just completed our showroom renovation on February 19, which had taken us quite some time,” notes Fitzgerald. “To see all our vignettes leveled, and all the care and precision we had placed into getting things just right destroyed, well, it was just heartbreaking, to say the least.”
In the days to come, Campbell County building officials announced a total of 18 structures had significant damage from the storm, 16 of them businesses, with a majority of more than $17 million in structural loss being commercial.
Dewitt’s business was at the very top of the list.
“Silver linings were rare, but we the moment I saw what was left of our business, I knew we would have to look for them,” said Dewitt. “Those little moments of hope might have been needles in a haystack, but it was my haystack, and our team needed something to hope for, so we could pick up the pieces and move forward.”
Over the next several days, Dewitt realized a network of support he never knew existed. From his own family of employees to other local Campbell County businesses, and even competitors, help came in a variety of forms, but most importantly, helping hands showed up, too.
“Thankfully, Timberlake Health and Wellness and our point of sale computer company offered us showroom space,” said Dewitt. “Nancy [Fitzgerald] had spent the first few days in her car driving around looking at temporary retail space, so when Vince Ettare (Timberlake Health and Wellness) offered us their vacant area, it was a Godsend.”
Dewitt and his team began the recovery efforts while a portion of their crew began to set-up shop in the nearby office space.
“Those clean-up days were where the real relationships were formed. That’s what a tornado can’t take away from you – the bonds, and the sense of family. It may have destroyed our shop, but it didn’t break us.”
Dewitt and Fitzgerald also shared the techniques gleaned from disaster recovery.
“We had wanted to implement some new procedures, but just hadn’t gotten around to it,” notes Fitzgerald. “The tornado gave us the ability to really put into practice some of the ideas we had tabled. In many ways, the storm put some wind under our sails.”
The Floor Show Carpet One team worked solidly to redesign their showroom and building, so that they could return to work and continue to provide the excellent service that the Campbell County area has grown to recognize them for. Through this process, the employees gained perspective on a true sense of togetherness, community, and became closer, stronger.
Dewitt adds, “This tragedy really put into perspective what was important. We saw each other as people, and not just roles and responsibilities. We were as stripped down as our showroom was, and it was raw, real and it changed us all. I’ve never experienced anything quite like it, and I don’t believe I ever will.”