The Disaster Help Desk in Action

Featured Story

Fish Camp Restaurant Survives Tennessee’s 1,000-Year Flood

In the spring of 2010, a 1,000-year flood afflicted much of Tennessee, as well as parts of Kentucky and Mississippi. While relief assistance and media attention became steadily focused on areas with large swaths of flooding and massive business disruption, Hickman County, TN, saw only two significant business disruptions. 

Fish Camp Restaurant was one -- and significant disruption is an understatement for what this locally beloved small business endured. 

At 9:00pm on a night shortly after the flood waters started to recede, the owner of Fish Camp Restaurant called the Disaster Help Desk for Business, having heard about the assistance hotline through the U.S. Chamber’s network of state and local chambers. 

She was overwhelmed by the magnitude of the flood damage in the restaurant and felt at a loss for what to do to save her business. 

The Disaster Help Desk manager, Inés Pearce, first and foremost listened closely to her situation. The owner had spent all day trying to shovel mud out of her restaurant, which had flooded to the roofline. She began by simply saying she felt hopeless.

Inés proceeded to share with her the type of aid and funding resources that are available to her as a small-business disaster victim. Inés also shared creative ideas that would help the restaurant raise further funds and engage the community in re-opening efforts. 

The conversation with the Disaster Help Desk helped the owner map out her immediate and her long-term steps to re-opening. It took a year for the restaurant to re-open, and it was a tough year for Fish Camp. But by implementing numerous steps outlined during the Disaster Help Desk conversation, a positive end was in sight.

The sense of hopelessness dissolved as progress toward re-opening was made. The recovery plan helped the Fish Camp owner, staff, and patrons stay future-focused and motivated. 

At the end of the phone call with the Disaster Help Desk, the owner stated that she had hope for the future and she knew what she was going to do next. Step by step and day by day, the restaurant dug out of the muck and worked toward their big re-opening celebration. 

Fish Camp Restaurant is still serving its seafood and comfort food. And, this is the type of small-business success story the Disaster Help Desk was made to support.