In Disaster’s Aftermath, Small Businesses Lend a Helping Hand

by Brenna Lemieux16. April 2013 17:01

small business natural disaster

During yesterday’s Boston Marathon, explosive devices detonated, killing at least three people and injuring dozens more, some critically. As details about the tragedy come to light, they paint an ever more horrific picture.

And yet, even as the latest news reports remind us of what the darkest side of human nature can cause, stories about the small-business owners in and around the race’s route remind us just how wonderful people can be.

Take, for example, Sweet, a cupcake shop located on Massachusetts Avenue, close enough to the marathon route that the shop’s employees heard the race-day bombs explode. After closing early yesterday, Sweet announced today that it would give away free cupcakes as part of an effort to help the Boston community rebuild and recharge.

Other area restaurants have opened their doors and their kitchens, offering free meals for first responders, firefighters, and cops, and serving pay-what-you-can dishes to hungry people in the area. Various small businesses have offered their electrical outlets and Internet connections to help people recharge their electronics and connect with loved ones.

And some stores are helping out simply by keeping their doors open, despite the chaos around them, so that people can get the food and other supplies they need.

Small Businesses Shine Post-Tragedy

Recent tragedies that rocked the U.S. show us that small businesses have a history of stepping up to help out when times are tough. After Hurricane Sandy hit the Northeast last fall, shops that had electricity opened their doors to folks who needed to charge their communication devices.

Other businesses offered equipment (including generators and lighting gear) that would keep their neighbors going.

And following the massive snowstorm that shuttered much of Chicago in 2011, small businesses such as hardware stores, coffee shops, and tanning salons stayed open even when McDonald’s locations were closed. Business owners reported surprisingly brisk traffic given the weather, from patrons who were grateful to be able to get the supplies they needed.

Disasters & Risk Management for Small Businesses

It’s always encouraging and inspiring to see small businesses look out for their communities during tough times. Disasters also serve as a reminder that small businesses need someone to look out for them, too.

When an event beyond your control prevents you from opening your doors (whether that includes a hurricane shutting down your supplier or a bomb destroying your storefront), you could stand to lose significant revenue. Luckily, you can protect your business from such losses with Business Interruption Insurance, which is available in many Business Owner’s Policies (BOPs). Your insurance agent can help you add Business Interruption coverage to your existing policy if you don’t already have it.

Writtten by  - check her out at or Twitter

protect your assets