Cullman-based McGriff Industries Inc. has a commercial tire outlet and a retread plant in damaged Mobile, Ala., that were spared by monster Hurricane Katrina.
The facilities were without power until four days after the storm hit, and employees had trouble finding fuel to power their service trucks. But they escaped the destruction that hit warehouses situated just west of the retread plant. ``We withstood it,'' said Jeff McGriff, adding all of the employees in the area are safe.
``Right now it should be an increase in business of all these FEMA people,'' he said of personnel with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. ``They gotta have support because they'll have a lot of flats and tear up a lot of tires in all that debris.''
Luke McCraney, manager of the company's service center, said Sept. 6 that the service calls had been brisk though his trucks are able to get around.
``We're doing fine,'' Mr. McCraney said. ``We lost power and we're way behind, but hey, there's some folks in a lot worse situation than we are, so we're doing fairly well. We just got to get caught up.''
Mr. McGriff said about 250 evacuees from battered areas wound up at Cullman. Soon after the hurricane, McGriff Industries organized a cookout for the evacuees.``They were very appreciative and couldn't thank us enough,'' he said.
Among the evacuees he met, a pregnant woman had been with three families that packed their things and headed north on Aug. 28 as the storm approached. She ended up in Cullman because it's where she started going into labor.
``So they had to pull off, and she had the baby born here in Cullman,'' Mr. McGriff said.