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Editor's Note: Lessons amid the rubble
By Fiona Robinson
August 05, 2011
Regular SeaFood Business readers know that I don’t write about my personal life very often. Therefore many do not know that my husband Tom owns and operates a retail and wholesale seafood business, York Lobster & Seafood, and a takeout business, Tom’s Fried Clams, in York, Maine. There’s a lot that goes on in the seafood industry that we can discuss, but for the most part we try to leave work at the door when we return home to our kids. But work was impossible to ignore when the driver of a Ford Explorer crashed through the front of the building and demolished the retail store last month.
It was a miracle that no one was injured in the accident. Tom and his employees had just closed the retail area and left that part of the store seconds before the crash. Contractors were at the store the next day and thankfully the retail store had reopened a week later. Looking back, there are a few lessons from the incident that other businesses can learn from.
First of all, stay current on your insurance. Both parties were insured, and Tom’s insurance agent even showed up at the store (a Saturday night) when a wrecker was hauling the SUV out of the building. She returned the next day to answer any questions and even pitched in with the cleanup. Picture wine, shrimp, oysters and other seafood mixed with wall debris, glass, tables and chairs. It was not a pretty scene.
Secondly, be ready to put a positive spin on any situation you’re handed, no matter how dire it may seem. The accident occurred on a busy weekend at the beginning of Maine’s tourist season, so it was easy to get discouraged about the timing. However, friends and family showed up the next day to lend a hand in the cleanup, loyal customers emailed encouraging notes and business associates called to offer support. When TV news crews appeared midday during cleanup, Tom put on a clean shirt and answered the reporters’ questions with a positive attitude.
Lastly, limit your distractions when you’re behind the wheel. While the ultimate cause of the accident hasn’t been made official, witnesses say the driver may have been preoccupied. An increasing number of accidents happen nationwide each year due to distracted driving. When your attention is taken away from driving for a split second it can ruin lives. This was one of those rare moments when you step back and realize how lucky you are to be alive.