BARTLETT, Ill. – Sebert Landscaping didn’t miss a beat after a fire destroyed the building at its Romeoville location earlier this month. While the building, office materials, small equipment and one truck, were lost in the fire, the company’s operations ran as normal, offering an important lesson in preparation.
“We concentrated most importantly (on the fact) that nobody was hurt, and we went right into making sure our clients didn’t feel any of the effect of the misfortune,” said Sebert’s General Manager Steve Pearce.
Emergency responders were called to the fire at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 16, Pearce said. The building wasn’t occupied and no one was injured. The cause of the fire and its estimated damage are still unknown.
The Romeoville branch has about 45 employees, 225 landscape clients, 100-125 snow clients and brought in about $4.5 million of Sebert’s $20 million in 2011 revenue, Pearce said. With no building, the branch was still up and running the next day.
“The next morning we had a winter event that required salting and sidewalk crews to go out,” Pearce said. “We made sure that happened without any hiccups. We got out and serviced our clients right away.”
All business and client files were backed up on computers so, first thing in the morning, the administrative staff called clients to reassure them that while the building was lost, the business wasn’t. Pearce said that voice to voice communication was crucial.
“It was good, we got a lot of support from our clients,” he said. “I also did put an email message out later in the day thanking everybody for their support – just another message to say we’re going to be OK.”
Logistically, the company decided to continue to run its snow operation out of the Romeoville location because there was still room for to park the trucks, Pearce said. Space was made for the Romeoville’s management and support staff in the company’s Naperville branch office until a temporary office could be put on the Romeoville site.
“We are already in the preparation of getting prepared to rebuild,” Pearce said. “We will rebuild on the existing site, and right now our plans are to build our second LEED certified building to further enhance our belief in sustainability and what we believe in, which is being as green as possibly can be.”
Pearce also said Sebert has been overwhelmed by the generosity and support of the community.
“We’ve had a lot of support from our clients, our vendors and our fellow competitors in the Chicago market here,” he said. “We truly appreciate everybody’s effort, concerns and prayers.”