Gulf Coast dealers managing damage from Hurricane Isaac

Publish Date: 
Sep 4, 2012
By Holly J. Wagner

SLIDELL, La. – Gulf Coast powersports dealers went largely unscathed from Hurricane Isaac’s pass through the area, with most reporting no more than power outages, shallow water encroachments and downed tree limbs nearby.

(Meanwhile, Louisiana ATV dealers are also concerned about the possibility the storm will hurt traffic over the upcoming weekend, which brings a sales tax holiday on hunting gear that applies to ATVs as well.)

“In regards to Hurricane Isaac, he was a gentleman, at least to us,” said Loreen Ewing, office manager at Mississippi Coast Harley-Davidson in Biloxi.

“The media has blown it up worse than it was. We’ve had pop-up thunderstorms that did worse,” said A.J. Hebert, marketing manager at Cajun Harley-Davidson in Scott, La.  “We were lucky. It was west of us. I can’t believe we shut down the business.”

The worst damage dealers reported was a couple of inches of water that leaked into some stores. “We had a little water come in but we were able to push it right back out,” said Mark Bould, general manager at Friendly Powersports stores in Slidell and Baton Rouge.

Just blocks from the Slidell store, streets were flooded to a depth of four or five feet after the storm, Bould said.

“We see a lot of businesses locally that are struggling to get back into the swing just because the employees suffered greater power outages and problems than we did,” Bould said. “We’re selling generators and again, we were fortunate. People were back at work and we didn’t see too many operational issues. Banks were closed for a couple of days, but there was not so much impact on the business. But the community, three blocks from here had three, four, five feet of water.”

The water didn’t get that deep but spoiled carpets in a couple of offices at Performance Powersports of Houma, which is sporting some new ceramic tile flooring.

“We had water in a couple of the offices and we replaced a couple of floors. We’re usually open Mondays but with Labor Day, we were able to get somebody in Saturday and it was done this morning,” said service manager Felton Broussard. A tree on a neighboring property fell over and damaged a fence, but that was also repaired in time to open Tuesday, he noted. (continues)