October 9/16, 2017: Volume 32, Issue 9
The following is the 10th installment in a series highlighting the 14 distributors that constitute Bravo Services, a group comprising many of the top flooring wholesalers in the country. Here we focus on Reader’s Wholesale, based in Houston.
Reader’s Wholesale has been a fixture in Houston for eight decades, so when Hurricane Harvey wreaked havoc on southeastern Texas in late August—flooding large swaths of towns and rendering roads impassible—it was only natural for Reader’s and its employees to want to give back.
And it did—in a big way. “Since the beginning of September, Reader’s Wholesale and its top management have made charitable contributions totaling $275,000 and we expect that to rise to $350,000 by the end of the year,” said Lucky Burke, chairman and CEO. “We’ve been in business for 82 years; it is incumbent upon us to support the communities. There are very few companies that will see anything positive coming out of the devastation. However, floor covering will be one of them. We just want to do everything we possibly can to facilitate the recovery.”
In addition to the monetary contributions, Reader’s employees helped their neighbors and fellow Houstonians in a number of ways. One employee, in fact, spent two days on his boat rescuing people from rising floodwaters.
As a company Reader’s was extremely fortunate. Its building remained intact throughout the storm, and only one of its 90 employees suffered property damage. In the immediate aftermath of the storm, Reader’s worked closely with its suppliers and ordered extra inventory. The distributor also added space to an existing warehouse to accommodate the materials. “We are thankful to our suppliers who stepped up and worked with us,” Burke said. (One of them, Armstrong Flooring, donated $250,000 in flooring to the cause.)
Adam Burke, president, said business is back to normal for Reader’s, and revenue is ahead of schedule. “We already have a nice uptick in our volume for September based on what we are seeing. It appears there is a lot of action [out there] but we have not seen a real increase in business yet. We’ve seen some but the real rush of business will start in about a month. Based on the flooding events the increase in business could last one to two years from the end of this year.”