Two businesses thrive thanks to quick action

Despite the damage done by the tornado in May of 2011, Joplin wasn’t held down. While it has taken years for some businesses to make their way back into the community, others were up and running in the immediate wake of the tragedy.

One such business was Kraft Insurance Services. The company was directly in the path of the tornado, located on Bird Avenue.

Owner Randal Kraft recalled a conversation he had with his wife before heading into town to check the state of their building. They described they would retire if the building was gone. After having to park two miles away from their location, Kraft remembers having his doubts.

“Lines were down, trees were down even coming in on the fringe,” said Kraft. “If the building was still salvageable we were going to keep the business, and when we got to the top of the hill and I saw it standing I said, ‘It’s time to get back to work.’”

Nearly everything around them might have been destroyed, but there the building stood, not without damage, but it was standing. In the front of the building parts of the roof and ceiling were completely missing.

Though they were personally affected by the storm, Kraft knew he had to start making plans to set up shop in a new location to serve his 8,000 customers.

For 30 days, Kraft and his employees worked out of a 20 by 20 conference room at the Holiday Inn. With over 2,000 claims filed after the storm, Kraft and his employees worked nonstop. Twenty-five percent of Kraft’s customers had been affected by the storm.

“It was at least three weeks before we were getting more than four hours of sleep a night. It would be 1 a.m. and we were on the phone making calls,” said Kraft. “We wanted to get people information as soon as possible.”

Another business that was up and running almost immediately was SNC Squared. SNC Squared is an IT firm that backs up files and other data for businesses throughout the four-state area. Located on 26th Street, the same area of town as Kraft, SNC Squared suffered 100 percent loss in the storm.

“The tornado completely wiped out our building. Nearly everything we had in it was gone. We actually had to cut our servers out of the server racks,” said owner John Motazedi.

Motazedi didn’t waste time getting his company back up and running, despite losses totaling around a quarter of a million dollars.

While insurance covered the costs of all the lost tangible items such as computers, printers and desks, it couldn’t make up for lost revenue. SNC Squared lost nearly 50 percent of its clients at the time.

“Literally the second it happened we knew we were going to come back up,” said Motazedi. “We were up and functioning from my basement in just five hours and all of our customers were back up and running within 72 hours.”

The short recovery time, partnered with the fact that not a single file or piece of data had been lost, proved to boost the reputation of the company, and SNC Squared has increased from five employees at the time of the tornado to 16 currently. The company has even posted record years every year since the tragic event.

Motazedi said, “We were the most devastated IT company and we had the largest number of clients lost and the people we were marketing to said, ‘Oh my goodness, they took a hit like that and still had everybody up and running within 72 hours, I wonder if our people can do that?’”