My name is Kristen Harris. I'm a small business owner in Austin, Tx and have started fundraising for those small businesses in Rockport that have been hit the hardest by Hurricane Harvey. The amount of hard working grit and the passion it takes to create and run a business, is really unbelievable. And now, many of these local businesses ~ gems to a coastal town we love ~ have suffered extreme damage, several completely leveled, and there are local owners wondering how they'll recover from this extremely catastrophic event.
How can we get the "Rockport" back that we all know and love if these people can't afford to rebuild, sustain their livelihoods in the meantime, or are just too broken spirited to do it in the first place?
My intent is to launch several smaller GoFundMe campaigns with different local business owners as the beneficiaries. I made a point to speak to as many of them as possible when I was there, have continued to keep close contact with them since, and they very much DO need our help! Without an operational business, they are without income to cover just basic daily living expenses, and for many small business owners, it can be difficult to have the amount of savings stashed away needed to support themselves & their families while also trying to rebuild after such a catastrophy. This is an extremely dire situation.
SO, meet our first beneficiaries for our Rockport Relief:
~ Rusty & Diana Pardue ~
Together, they own TWO businesses in Rockport.
Rusty's Tropical Bar & Grill was one of my most favorite places across from the water to grab the BEST fish taco and fried pickles. Bands played at night & the patio was fabulous.
Diana co-owned a clothing store that was part of Rockport's quaint downtown coastal charm and I wandered in there on MANY leisurely Rockport shopping afternoons.
Both businesses were destroyed by Hurricane Harvey They lost their home, as well. They are the epitome of Harvey's destruction. Diana & Rusty lost everything.
They have also received news that they aren't getting as much from insurance or government assistance as they were hoping, and they truly need so very much right now. Diana told me that everything she owns at this point is in her Jeep.
Rusty, Diana, and their businesses truly encompass the SPIRIT and FLAVOR of what makes us love Rockport so very much and Rockport needs them back more than ever!
When I spoke to them, they weren't sure of exactly what they'll do. I know it's all so overwhelming, but I would love to see Rusty just throw out a grill and a cooler and I KNOW people would come TODAY. :) The residents, the emergency crews and anyone else living & working in that relentless heat, filth, and debris, sure could use a fish taco, a cold beer and a smile.
Please help us in this effort to get these special people and this great community back up and running......this is one of our most beloved areas of Texas and they are strong. But we need to come to the aid of our brothers and sisters alike who strive each and every day to make Rockport what we love about "Rockport".
Prayers, love and encouragement to everyone affected by Harvey, and many more to those who have been hit by or in the coming path of Irma. We will help however we can!
Below is more about us and why we are compelled to launch these campaigns. Read on if you like.... :)
We want to raise as much money as possible via "mini-campaigns" designed to benefit as many local business owners as we can hit the hardest by Hurricane Harvey. Please help us to do that ~ even the smallest donation can help them recover, re-open and get by in the meantime.
Why are we initiating these campaigns? Who are "we"? We are small business owners in Austin, Tx who have several family members who live in Rockport. We've spent a lot of time there and have a true love for this coastal city.
Myself, my husband, and two of my brothers each own small businesses here in Austin, and together we wanted to start this fundraiser for our fellow Texas businesses in need. We understand that most people who own a small business, try hard, every. single. day....to keep doors open and the company up and running. One catastrophic event could have the potential to completely put us under, without hope to re-open and without a way to financially support our families. We have personally had many influential and inspirational moments by meeting other small business owners ~ many from the coast of Texas and in Rockport, itself. Those people mean a lot to us and we can not tell you how much appreciation and inspiration we've gathered from talking with and observing these hard working, dedicated people. And now, many of them have nothing left.
"But they (small businesses) have insurance, right??" MAYBE. It's not a guarantee... But even if they do, insurance in a catastrophic event takes TIME to process and for those checks to come through. Also, insurance money doesn't cover lost income to the extent that most small business owners actually need. It can be difficult to have the amount of savings stashed away needed to support yourself and your family while also trying to rebuild after such a catastrophy. This is a very dire situation for these individuals. And, let's not forget about their staff. Paychecks are gone with the loss of the business, and with an entire city devestated, there aren't jobs to get.
We are personally going to visit and put forward our own labor and time to help clean up and rebuild. We'll soon be there to see the destruction first hand are focused on contacting owners directly after we see what they've lost. We want to hear their story and find out what their needs specifically are, and then disturibute what funds this campaign raises directly to those businesses via GoFundMe. We want every donation to be 100% transparent for all of you. It means even more when you can actually see who you are helping! We are committed to rebuilding this community and showing them that we love them and are there for them. THEY ARE NOT ALONE.
- Dale Tuber
- Vanessa Sliva
- Marc Oliveri
Organizer and beneficiary
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