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USGNN Original StoryHouston Glass Companies Struggle to Re-Coup From Ike's Impact

Just as homeowners in Houston are struggling to recover from Hurricane Ike, so too, are area businesses.

At Vitro America's Houston branch Terri Gilmore, sales manager, says the company is working by way of a generator; only three computers and one printer are working. Gilmore says the company sold stock sheets yesterday and will be making deliveries today, though they may take a little longer than usual because of the gasoline shortage.

A building maintenance worker walks over shattered glass from windows blown out by Hurricane Ike on the JPMorgan Chase tower Saturday, Sept. 13, 2008 in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

"Some fuel lines have a two- to three-hour wait and then they may run out before you get gas," Gilmore said. "We do not know when we will have power or phone service. No one can tell us."

Columbia Commercial Building Products, which is headquartered in Rockwall, Texas, has a facility in Houston. The branch did not undergo a great amount of damage, but has no power or phone service. Kelly Townsend, national sales director, says all calls and faxes to the Houston location have been forwarded to Rockwall where they are able to monitor inventory control.

"We then call the Houston branch via cell phone to have them pull the order. Customers have to pick up the orders," says Townsend, who explains they foresaw this might be a concern.

"We sent the stocking truck there last Wednesday that would normally have gone [later] so we could make sure that facility had all the supplies it needed," says Townsend. "We're getting a lot of glass companies calling in to place orders today." He adds that they'll be running another stocking truck to Houston either Friday or Monday.

Likewise, the Houston operations of Hollander Glass are also struggling to operate without power. Pierre Portman, president, says since Monday they've been coming in to answer phones and faxes, but have to leave early each day because they are running off of a small generator.

"We have other locations [throughout the country] and when we can we're shipping small orders from those branches," says Portman, who adds he's been given no indication as to when power might be restored.

"They [the power company] won't tell us anything but that they are working on it," says Portman. "It could be any time now."

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