For all the storm’s vestiges — its barriers to transportation, power outages and water damages — distributors consistently found ways to adapt to the conditions to service their customers.  At Spruce Industries customers worked by window light in a darkened warehouse to locate requested products; some distributors loaded up personal vehicles to make supply deliveries; and still others found ways to go above and beyond to assist accounts hit especially hard by the hurricane.  
Distributors from all over the region donated their cleaning supplies and time to relief shelters, schools, neighbors and fellow businesses. 
When Suffolk County Cleaning in Greenlawn, N.Y., began to run out of supplies, president Michael Ofrias drove to a local drugstore to stock up on soaps, instant coffee, napkins, .plates and food to donate to a local church. The company also donated several cases of cleaning supplies to a local agency that was distributing items to hurricane victims in Long Island. 
“I personally delivered many cases of janitorial supplies to my customers’ homes, as well as [their] facilities,” says Ofrias. “Many were out of basic things like bottled water and toilet paper.” 
NJSSA dedicated their annual Operation Clean Sweep fundraiser to collecting donations for Hurricane Sandy victims. More than 14 truckloads of supplies, such as bleach and disinfectants, paper towels and baby wipes, were collected and donated to disaster relief efforts across the region. 
“I am extremely proud of my fellow board members and our membership for stepping up in a time of need,” says Peter Davidson,  an NJSSA trustee and a manufacturers representative at Leading Edge Associates, Old Bethpage, N.Y. 
After the storm the ISSA Foundation partnered with the American Red Cross to collect monetary donations to help hurricane victims, as well. 
And distributors didn’t forget about their employees. Even in bleak conditions distributors did their best to boost employee morale. Besides footing the bill for work lunches and late dinners, for example, distributors also welcomed employees into their homes so they could take hot showers or share meals.  And despite the financial losses stemming from the stymied business, many distributors made sure their employees were paid, even if that meant going further in the red. 
“It was the right thing to do,” says Hank Josephs, owner of Spruce Industries in Rahway, N.J. “We consider [our employees] family.”

previous page of this article:
After Hurricane Sandy East Coast Cleaning Professionals Get Back to Business