Photo courtesy of Eternal Lighting


Harvey's Hell

Hurricane Harvey has devastated the city of Houston, impacting several MI companies along the way. Music Inc. spoke to several retailers and suppliers for updates on damage and safety.

While Harvey has stopped, its impact continues.

"It's the worst time of year for a school music dealer to have its peak season wiped out," said Bill Everitt of Brook Mays and H&H Music. "It's bad. Capital B-A-D."

Although Brook Mays Music & H&H Music's Pasadena/Ellington location is open and ready to rent instruments, the team spent two days cleaning up three inches of standing water and assessing the damage, according to its Facebook page.

LED lighting manufacturer Eternal Lighting has been "drastically affected" as well, according to Mark Maillet. "We haven't been able to reach our facility since Friday last week," Maillet said. "The roads are underwater."

The store has reopened as of Aug. 31.

The roads surrounding Eternal Lighting's facilities on Aug. 29. As of Sept. 1, the roads are still flooded.

Allparts' Steve and Lollie Wark were in chest deep water when they were rescued by boat from their home.

Several Houston-based Music & Arts stores have been closed due to flooding. Harvey impacted more than 10 Guitar Center locations. Sam Ash's Houston location was unreachable due to Harvey's floodwaters overtaking the freeway in both directions. Promark's team members have experienced serious water damage to their homes and property.

A handful of the retailers Music Inc. reached out to remained unharmed. But with such pervasive, detrimental damage, the distress is felt by the entire city.

"Our city is a mess, and people are hurting and without a home," said Mike Henry, CEO of Percussion Online. Henry's store and home were spared.

In times of crisis, this industry bands together.

Mike Matthews and the Electro-Harmonix team have donated several thousand dollars to various organizations for disaster relief.

Texas-based Warm Audio has teamed with multiple charities to raise funds for residents in need, including Samaritan's Purse, Houston Flood Relief Fund and the senior citizens of La Vita Bella who required relocation.

Guitar Center announced its partnership with charity MusiCares to launch a dedicated initiative to help the music communities of Southeast Texas get back on their feet.

"As the tragic events unfolded as a result of Hurricane Harvey, there was no question that people would need help," said Ron Japinga, CEO of Guitar Center. "Partnering with MusiCares will give everyone an opportunity to come together as one music community to help those in need, and we hope our partnership will provide much-needed aid to those individuals and families that were so dramatically impacted."

For this program, Guitar Center is encouraging customers to donate at any of its locations across the country or online. For every dollar donated, Guitar Center will match the contribution in total, up to $25,000.

The National Educational Music Company has provided a rental amnesty program for storm victims by unilaterally suspending billing to all of its customers in the area and streamlining the process to file Liability Damage Waiver claims to receive replacement instruments for those that may have been lost due to flooding.

"Most of our customers have elected to have their monthly rental automatically debited to their credit card via our Easy Pay program," said CEO Ron Beaudoin. "We have every confidence that music making in the area will resume soon and NEMC will play its part. Right now, we just want to give everyone a little breathing room to sort things out." MI

— By Kasia Fejklowicz & Alex Harrell