Mississippi Hail Storm Leads to Boom to Glass Business
March 20, 2013

by Jenna Reed, jreed@glass.com

After softball- and tennis-sized hail wreaked havoc in Pearl, Miss., earlier this week, the auto glass businesses in the area are being swarmed with replacement requests and many technicians are putting in overtime to try to meet demand.

"It's been busy to say the least," says Roger Venable, owner of Venable Glass Services, which services Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas and Florida.

"We had a hail storm come through and it was kind of widespread," he says. "It hit certain parts of town. It caused so much damage and totaled a lot of vehicles. In some cases the hail was softball- and tennis ball-sized. Mississippi Highway patrol had at least 100 cars totaled. We have to replace glass on these vehicles as well as others. Some cars are considered totaled, but we're putting glass in them to get them back out on the roads."

His company is bringing glass inventories and technicians in from other shops in the region in an effort to meet demand.

"The damage has been great for business, but this is a little bit too much. We're exhausting a lot of our glass suppliers. I was just on the phone with one of our other shops, which is sending a truckload of glass for us. There's a point where we just need to send our technicians home to rest," he says.

Though some other shops across the country have been seeing a tight business, Venable describes February as "a great month" for business.

Meanwhile, over at a Glass Doctor franchise in Brookhaven, Miss., the team has been working around the clock trying to meet demand.

"We are overwhelmed," Paula Roberson, the owner's wife, says. "The technicians have been out until 1 a.m. every night trying to do installs. I'm just helping to answer phones since we're so busy."

A spokesperson for an Acme Glass and Mirror Inc. in Bastrop, La., said the Pearl damage hasn't impacted their business. The location is about 100 miles away from the storm swept area.

"We saw some damage in Jones, Louisiana, and a couple people have come in," says a spokesperson who answered the phone for the franchise.

"After the hail storm in the Southeast part of the country, Safelite's contact centers (which include both calls directly to Safelite AutoGlass® and to Safelite® Solutions' claims management teams) were up more than 1,300 percent from last week in Jackson, Miss., and 183 percent in Atlanta," says Melina Metzger, public relations manager for Safelite.

"Safelite AutoGlass® has a skilled 'Catastrophe Response Team,' and we have already sent additional technicians and warehouse support staff to our Jackson market to support customer demand. We also have inventory being sent in from our four closest warehouses on a rotating schedule. Finally, our CAT team also partners with our insurance clients to have technicians on-site at their mobile catastrophe response locations. Similar efforts are being made in other hard-hit markets," she adds.

Safelite® Solutions has experienced additional claim volume from the areas impacted by the storm.

This story is an original story by AGRR™ magazine/glassBYTEs.com™. Subscribe to AGRR™ Magazine.
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