Days before Hurricane Harvey barreled into the Texas coast on Friday, home improvement retailers were preparing truckloads of lumber, shingles and other materials that property owners in the storm-raked communities will need to rebuild.
The deliveries will have to wait, however, as 56 stores between Home Depot and Lowe's in southeast Texas remained closed as of Sunday amid widespread flooding. Once they reopen, the chains could be among the biggest beneficiaries of the post-storm recovery.
Lowe's has sent "500 truckloads" of supplies to the storm zone, said spokeswoman Sarah Lively. "We are reopening those stores as quickly as possible."
For the moment, the biggest storm to hit Texas in 50 years is posing a major disruption to one of the most important economic crossroads in the United States and the heart of its oil industry. Ports, railways and highways are closed or clogged, potentially blocking movement of key parts of the U.S. manufacturing supply chain.
Catastrophic flooding triggered by now Tropical Storm Harvey inundated Houston on Sunday, forcing residents of the fourth most populous U.S. city to flee their homes in anticipation of more days of "unprecedented" rainfall.
The home improvement retailers, well versed in the business of disaster, are likely steps ahead of most companies.