How to create a consignment store disaster recovery plan

June 20, 2019

This post was updated and reprinted from March 2016

Don’t wait to create a consignment store disaster recovery plan

I’ve never experienced a natural disaster, personally. However, my sweet 96-year-old mother, Ruth, still remembers the St. Louis tornado of 1927. Just 5 days after her 5th birthday, she recalls being firmly placed in the middle of the bed by her grandmother. “Now, don’t move,” her grandma instructed. “No matter what, stay here.”  Her grandma promptly left to retrieve Mom’s older sister, Dorothy, at school. Alone, Mom heard the almost 90 mph wind gusts. Glass popping and breaking. She felt the walls shaking in their little 4-family flat. After more than 90 years, the experience is still as fresh as if it were yesterday. Fortunately, in their case, everyone was safe.

Now is the time to create your consignment store disaster recovery plan.

 Plan today for disaster tomorrow

Mariners have a clever way of remembering hurricane season. Follow along.

June is too soon

Did you know that the most common disaster is a power outage? Your local energy company often has the power up and running within a few hours, but there are times when it can be off for days sometimes even weeks. Be prepared with flashlights, a battery-powered radio and extra batteries. That’s a simple fix if everyone knows where they are kept. Check power strips. Do you have a surge protector? The beauty of web based software, like SimpleConsign, is you can still access your information on your phone if need be. Plus, we’ve backed up your data so nothing is lost!

July stand by

Does your shop have a designated safe area or room? Is there one nearby in your community? Determine an area where you, your staff and customers should go in the event of a hurricane or tornado. If your shop has a basement area, map out the location that is safest. If no basement exists, decide which part of the interior of your shop could be used as a safe area.

August it must

Should you add business interruption insurance to your disaster recovery plan? This form of insurance will compensate you based on your previous financial records for the loss of income you incur in case of a disaster. The amount is determined by the type of business, the building structure of your shop and any other risk factors such as location, etc. Know what disasters aren’t covered. Furthermore, learn how to file your claim quickly.

September to remember

Would you be able to quickly move your merchandise into another location? A complete disaster recovery plan takes into consideration that your fast-acting sales team will be ready to move any salvageable merchandise. They need to know where to take it though. Do you have an alternative location available? Even if it’s in your basement, your team knowing could make all the difference between re-opening or closing your shop for good. Before moving anything, make sure your insurer doesn’t require an on-site visit first.

October it’s over

Your consignor contract should already state that you’re not responsible for items that are lost, stolen or destroyed due to a disaster. With a web based system such as SimpleConsign, you’ll have consignor names and their inventory at your fingertips. Communicate with your consignors/vendors as soon as possible. Use email, social media and if possible, texts to clearly state the extent of damage and how it will affect them and their items.

Get my Free Trial of SimpleConsign

Additional info for your consignment store disaster recovery plan

The Red CrossRed Cross for disaster recovery plan

The Red Cross provides a wealth of disaster-preparedness supplies. Order Emergency Backpacks that can easily be stored in your back office. Also, have at least one member of your team certified in CPR. Check your local Red Cross for class listings. Their site lists a variety of extra supplies they recommend you have such as water, matches, extra clothing, etc.

Government

Be aware of what particular disasters could or have happened in your area. Check out ready.gov for a ton of information on a disaster recovery plan. Their plan prepares you particularly for natural disasters. They offer a wealth of information from planning ahead to coping with the aftermath. The site also offers suggestions for a basic disaster supplies kit.

Communication

A plan is only as good as the paper it’s written on if it isn’t communicated. Create a disaster-preparedness notebook. Keep it in plain sight in your back room and make sure every employee is aware of it. In times of trauma, it’s hard to remember the plan. Brief your staff completely on your disaster recovery plan. They need to know what to do if the disaster occurs while at the shop or if it occurs during off hours. If the disaster affects your entire community make sure you have a way to communicate with your staff members so you’ll know they are safe. Since texting uses less bandwidth than actual phone calls, set up the ability to send a group text. It will be the easiest method of communication. Consider adding the number of their close relative or friend too. List them under ICE (In Case of Emergency). The psychological toll a disaster can take on you and your staff can be overwhelming. Their well being is of course your first concern.

As an example, when Trader Joe’s in New Jersey had their roof collapse under more than 2′ of snow in 2016, they quickly communicated with their 160 employees and loyal customers. They stated they would be rebuilding in a “realistic time frame.” They even attempted to find employment for interested workers at other locations. In less than a year, they re-opened with employee-designed wall art and a stronger commitment to the community. Your consignment store disaster recovery plan needs to take you all the way through the beginning to the end so you meet everyone’s expectations.

Deb McGonagle

I have been a writer for various forms of marketing for over 40 years. I've written my share of radio and TV scripts, magazine and newspaper ads as well as direct mail brochures and newsletters. Currently, as the Marketing Coordinator for Traxia, home of SimpleConsign software, I've moved into blog posts, eBooks and website text. It's been an ever changing and ever challenging journey but I've loved it all along the way.