MESSAGE FROM GENERAL MANAGER DARREN SCHAUER
Hurricane Harvey was the largest natural disaster GVEC has faced in its 79-year history. While we’ve had some close calls, nothing has impacted our members and employees more in my experience. August 25–30, 2017, will forever be a historical time for this Cooperative.
For years, we’ve been prepared with an emergency operations plan for facing catastrophic conditions. Drills have been run, meetings have taken place and procedures documented. I was confident we were as prepared as we could be for an event of this magnitude, but what amazed me even more than the storm was the teamwork and support that transpired throughout those five days.
I cannot say enough good things about the members and employees of GVEC. Our dedicated people were ready to step up and work all hours of the day and night despite extensive wind and rain, line and road damage as well as flooding. Some even worked regardless of severe damage to their own homes, which says a lot about the character of our good people. I am more than proud of the fact we were able to restore power to 17,000 members after five total days of restoration efforts, three of which occurred as Harvey actively swept through the entire service area. That takes guts and determination and there was certainly no lack of it everywhere you turned inside or outside of our offices.
Likewise, our members and employees’ families were remarkably supportive during the entire process. Our sincere gratitude is extended to them for their patience and understanding. We know it’s not easy to be out of power or watch your family walk out the door in the conditions we were facing. Careful planning and decisions led to safety for every member of the team, which by far was our first priority. The old saying “stronger together” was never more evident than during this event.
Moving Forward with Changes in GVEC Home
Switching from one milestone of our business to another, we will soon be making a change in the products and services offered by GVEC Home. As of December 2017, the appliance sales and service portion of our business will be discontinued. From now until the end of the year, we will be liquidating our appliance inventory and preparing to use the showroom spaces for other needs.
While the primary purpose of GVEC Home has never been to earn large profits, it must earn enough to sustain itself financially in all areas of the business. This has not been the case for appliance sales and service in recent years. Even with increased marketing efforts and more competitive prices, it has become nearly impossible to compete with the large “big box” store offerings and online sales in the current marketplace. Though we’ve always had good people, products, and service—low price is the number one purchasing factor by the majority of today’s consumers. We simply cannot match the competitors’ pricing and earn a reasonable return in this area. This is a decision we have struggled with for a while, but one that will make room for other valuable home services we are looking forward to implementing in the near future.
While the appliances and storefronts will be phased out, rest assured you can continue to turn to GVEC Home for AC/Heating installation, maintenance, 24/7 repair service, and solar panel systems. GVEC Home as a whole is a solid company moving closer to our goal of providing premiere home services to the great people and communities of our South Texas region. Should you have questions regarding any of our home services, you can continue to call 800.328.0630 for assistance.
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