Although the business side of the company is run from South Florida, the inventory is stored in a warehouse in Atlanta. “We couldn’t help but notice that we’re in the most hurricane-prone area,” company CEO Sherman said. “That could limit our ability to ship before a hurricane because we’d have to let our people leave to take care of their homes and families.”
The logistics of the company are outsourced to Crane Worldwide, a decision that allows The Hurricane Store to scale up or downquickly depending on a sudden demand or a lull in the slow season, said Sherman.
That flexibility has been critical.
The business that experienced double-digit revenue growth from its 2006 launch through 2009 hit the wall during the economic downturn, when updating the first-aid kit and stocking up on water-purification tablets suddenly seemed less urgent. The Hurricane Store saw a 30 percent drop in revenue in one year.
“Unfortunately, it’s easy to understand. When families are struggling to make ends meet, they have to prioritize their purchases,” Sherman said.
“Emergency preparedness is very important, of course. But it can’t take priority over food, mortgage payments, and gas’’ — at least until a hurricane creeps up the coast.
Sales have been constant since 2010, and this year has started off “on the same track,” according to Sherman.
Last year, they sold about 1,000 Saver kits and 3,000 crank radios, and the two partners are optimistic now at the beginning of this year’s hurricane season.
Still, the bottom line is not the most important part of business for the pair, who believe in “doing business the right way,” said Saver.
The company donated more than 1,000 meals to homeless shelters when they moved their warehouse from Kansas City to Atlanta.
And when Sylvia Wright, a 75-year-old widow from North Carolina tried to buy thousands of dollars of freeze-dried food, Saver talked her down to a reasonable amount and suggested different products that might be more useful.
“You can tell that you’re dealing with honest people,” Wright said when asked about her experience with The Hurricane Store. “They will not sell you things you don’t really need, and they take a personal interest in their customer.”
Though Florida hasn’t been hit by a major hurricane in three years, the 20th anniversary of Hurricane Andrew is a reminder of the destructive power of these storms, said Saver.
“It’s a beautiful day and the sun’s shining in the sky,” he said. “Now is the time to prepare.”
A previous version of this article misspelled Bill Dyess.