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November 6, 2019

California Wildfires Strain Promo Products Industry

Submitted by Amy Maciejewski

Massive parts of California are facing danger from ongoing wildfires, which threaten to wipe out homes and businesses alike. ASI’s Counselor Magazine reached out to some of the potentially affected promotional products companies in the fire zones to see how they’re doing. Here’s what they had to say.

Jason Lucash, co-founder of supplier Origaudio, affected by the Kincaid fire: “At my house, we’ve had super heavy winds, lots of downed trees and no internet or cable potentially for upwards of a week. Some of our staff members have no power at their houses, and we’re dealing with closed roads, closed schools and more. A lot of the grocery stores don’t have power, and there are closed gas stations. The biggest problem of all is the smoke. The whole region out here in the East Bay has been blanketed by smoke, and the air quality has deteriorated to unsafe levels in a lot of areas.”

Nickolai Mathison, supplier Sonoma Promo’s general manager and vice president of sales and marketing: “Sonoma County is more than 1,700 square miles, and we’re in the opposite corner from where the fires are going. Although we are stressed, our company is open and doing well. Phones are ringing.”

Craig Nadel, president of distributor Jack Nadel International, affected by the Getty fire: “It’s hard to put a number on it, but many people are out. Some roads are closed, and the power is off for many people. I don’t think it will be a huge hit for us, but it does take some productive people away.”

Josh White, general counsel and senior vice president of strategic partnerships for distributor BAMKO: “We’ve got employees who live in evacuation zones, and have lots of folks working from home because of the impact of the fires. There are big road closures and freeway shutdowns that make the trip into the office exceedingly difficult, so the option to work from home is a good one. Plus, if people are near evacuation zones, they want to be home so that they can get valuables out and evacuate in a timely fashion if their homes get evacuated. Fortunately, the technology that runs our business is set up in a way where people can work anywhere. This allows people to seamlessly work with co-workers across the globe – from Denver to Dehradun. Our operations are moving ahead as usual, with folks pitching in to pick up the slack for teammates who are impacted by the fires. Teamwork and technology seem to be a good one-two punch for keeping the trains running on time.”

Eddie Brascia, owner of distributor Sonoma Design Apparel, affected by the Kincaid fire: “We’re currently evacuated. I will have to get back to you next week.”

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