The BP Effect series is brought to you by attorneys Reich & Binstock and Seeger Weiss LLP, which are helping businesses in Panama City Beach recover losses sustained directly and indirectly from the Deep Water Horizon oil spill. They can help your business too,
Through out the course of the our BP Effect series, we’ve visited numerous industries affected by the oil spill. As we wrap up the series, the last place we wanted to check in on is with a few of our retail friends in Pier Park.
There’s been an enormous amount of information circulated regarding the financial losses and fears of business owners county wide during the height of the Spill, however, with this article I was hoping to offer a slightly different view, and with the help of Candy Maker and Trader Tom’s owner, Tom Ehlke, I’ve been able to do just that.
Tom is no stranger to business gains and losses in Panama City Beach. His Business portfolio reads like a real life Monopoly game, starting with the purchase of his first local Motel in the late 1970’s, sadly it was just in time to watch Hurricane Opal work her mighty mojo on it. From there, he began building Townhouses with the opening of a Photo Lab shortly following and eventually opening Candy Maker and Trader Toms.
His business experience in the area is varied but its from that vast experience he gained his seemingly down-to-earth nature regarding losses and economical survival. Tom’s matter-of-fact mindset regarding the spill, is actually what drew me to him. Like any other business in the area, he suffered his fair share of revenue losses, with reported sales down 40% across the board. Yet, as he put it “we get a few weeks of rain or a hurricane or two, or an oil spill. We pick up, brush ourselves off and start over again looking forward to next season.”
This is exactly what Tom has done. Candy Maker and Trader Toms continued to produce quality products, maintaining the same top ingredients and unique items, they’ve used for years. Refusing to resort to gimmicks or coupons, they held their breath and attempted to face each day as if it were a normal one.
Tom did find himself having to file a claim with BP, but unlike many others who faced a mountain of paperwork and long response time, Tom’s financial team was able to submit their claim with relative ease. The response time from BP was roughly within 6 weeks of the claim being filed, and not only did BP make good on the claim, taking care of the losses accrued during the season, as well as projected losses from Panama City Beach’s insanely busy Spring Break season.
In all, it warms my heart to hear a tale like Tom’s. In a small town like ours, every victory is a shared victory. To some business owners, maybe this can encourage you to keep drilling away at those claim forms and to those people who love a happy ending, maybe Tom’s story will give you the same feeling it gave me, an overwhelming urge to Hi-Five him for a long-awaited success story.