Houston landscapers discuss effects from Hurricane Harvey

Many businesses, including landscapers, remain closed due to flooding.

HOUSTON — Many Houston-based businesses remain closed this week due to high floodwaters from the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, including landscaping contractors.

The Texas Nursery and Landscape Association reported that many of its members have not yet been able to get into their offices and locations to inspect damage yet.

“Everyone is simply shut down,” said Jason Mathers, owner of Houston-based Monarch Landscape Management. “You only need to spend a few minutes watching the local news or Twitter feeds to get a grasp of the severity of Harvey’s might. Right now, Texans and Houstonians are standing tall, helping each other to safety and protecting property.”

Monarch took some precautions with its employees and assets prior to the storm, he says. The week before the storm, the company performed jobs ahead of time, bought additional equipment as a precaution and sent notification to customers. Monarch’s management also hosted several staff meetings before the weekend, and managers have been regularly communicating with team members via email.

“We prepared for what we thought may happen, but this is Texas weather and everyone is awe,” he says. “The timeline [for being closed] is not determinable and may last through the week because of high water and unsafe conditions for my team. At the moment, our people are first, and in the coming days we will finalize how we service our customers moving forward. We are blessed thus far.”

Throughout the Houston area, floodwaters reached roof lines of most single-story homes by Aug. 28 after a weekend of rising water levels from the hurricane and storms, AP News reports. The Category 4 hurricane first hit mainland Texas Friday, Aug. 25, and rain continued to fall through the weekend. As many as 50 counties are affected by the flooding, Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Brock Long told AP News.

Some people have sought to give back to Houston to help flood victims. Pete Rossini, owner of Rossini Landscaping in Ridgefield, Connecticut, partnered with Ezra Zimmerman, owner of EZ Moving, to create a GoFundMe page to raise money for food, water and supplies for flood victims in Houston. So far, the two have raised more than $9,000 in 18 hours.

“We’re really blessed with what we have. We want to give back and help Houston in this time of need with whatever we can,” Rossini said. “I also have wonderful employees whom I trust. My two foremen, Kevin Ferraro and Kirk Andersen, are phenomenal workers who will help my Ridgefield business while I’m gone.”

Rossini and Zimmerman plan to travel to Houston Sept. 1 with supplies from their GoFundMe campaign and to assist in cleanup efforts.

“We’re aiming to give Houston $10,000 worth of food,” Zimmerman said. “Me and Pete are paying $1,500 out of pocket to travel down to a homeless center. I run a junk removal company, and Pete has his landscaping operation. Between the two of us, I’m not sure what will happen, but we have a wide area of expertise and are happy to use our skills to help people whether they are in surviving mode or rebuilding mode when we get down there.”