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Press Releases

    Hurricane Katrina Strikes New Orleans

    Announcements concerning Pikes Peak of New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina:

      December 27, 2005

      The last of the Katrina Relief Funds were distributed in the early part of Decenber. I'd like to share a few written responses that we received for a couple of our employees.

                I would like to express my most heartfelt thanks to Pikes Peak wholesale florist and all the individuals and companies who contributed to its Hurricane Katrina Assistance Fund. Unfortunately, Iike many others, I have been displaced from my home, still unable to return. I have been told that my apartment did not flood, however, it did recieve significant water due to the heavy rains leaking in through the damaged roof. The mold has now taken over the walls.

                I am so fortunate, however, to be employed by Pikes Peak and to have received help from the Assistance Fund. I have been unable to get through to the Red Cross, and still have not received any assistance from FEMA to date. My Pikes Peak family has been my saving grace, and for that I am forever grateful.

      Robert Lewis
      Pikes Peak New Orleans

      and, another . . .

                Thank you for helping me to get my life started all over again. I had a few losses and the money from Red Cross was not enough to help cover my expenses and I had no flood insurance but with your help I am truely blessed and it's still good to know there are good people around.

      Thank You Very Much,
      May God Bless
      Brian Williams

      There were many other heart-warming gestures of appreciation from our employees, but these came to us in writing, making them easier to share. But yuou can rest assured that all of us at Pikes Peak appreciate the amazing effort made by so many of our friends to help us through the devastating Katrina crises.

      We enjoyed a particularly notable gift from one our vendors. Over and beyond a very generous contribution to the Pikes Peak Employee Katrina Assistance Fund, Pierson Fern & Greens sent $2,000 for our store manager, Von Ginn, to "use in any manner he sees fit to rebuild the business there." In addition to doing a few repairs around the building that weren't covered by insurance, Von elected to resurrect the plans for their traditional Annual Awards Banquet and Christmas party, which had initially been cancelled following the Katrina disaster. As one might imagine, it made for a very special Christmas for everyone Pikes Peak. Thank you, Pierson Fern & Greens!

      And, thanks again and Merry Christmas to everyone in this amazing industry of ours!

      Jim Haley, President

      October 31, 2005

      We distributed another $5,360 to needy employees last week. The distributions were concentrated on employees who have been facing particularly difficult situations, including one who is still trying to get FEMA housing so he can return to work, another who is still without electricity, and yet another who has finally found an apartment for his family, but needs first and last months rent.

      With last Saturday's receipts, we now have another $2,856 to distribute to our needy employees. Contributions continue to come in, and all of us at Pikes Peak are so grateful. The generosity of our friends is having an amazing positive effect on Pikes Peak and our employees. The list of contributors in the September 30 memo has been updated to include contributions received through Saturday, October 29, 2005.

      Jim Haley, President

      September 30, 2005
      (Includes notations made after September 30, 3005 to acknowledge contributions received after September 30, 2005)

      This week, we distributed nearly all of the money that was contributed to the Pikes Peak Employee Katrina Assistance Fund. The Distribution Committee asked that equal amounts be distributed to those employees who lost so much work time as a direct result of the hurricane.

      A small amount was held back to help a few of our employees who have suffered extraordinary losses. It pleases me to report that another very generous contribution just came in from California Pajarosa Floral, which will really help. The Distribution Committee expects to have a recommendation for making additional payments from the fund next week, which we expect will entirely exhaust the fund.

      It is appropriate to acknowledge the organizations that have made extraordinary contributions to our Assistance Fund. These are:

      Up to$1,000
      Piedmont Floral Supply
      Priority One Flower Shippers, plus Dominos Pizza Discount Cards
      San Diego Wholesale Florists

      Between $1,000 and $1,500
      Allied Florists of Houston , plus Christmas Toy Drive at November's Meeting!
      Tradewinds International & growers, including:
          Montecarlo Gardens,
          Agrocoex and Agrogana,
          Flower Village,
          Excellence Roses

      Over $2,000
      California Pajarosa Floral
      Continental Floral Greens
      DWF Wholesale Florists
      Pierson Fern & Greens

      Each of these organizations has gone way over and beyond the call, and we will never forget them.

      Everyone at Pikes Peak, and especially our New Orleans employees who were so dramatically affected, are extremely grateful and touched by the generosity of this amazing industry we call the flower business. Thanks to each and every one of you!

      Jim Haley, President

      September 29, 2005

      Hurricane Rita introduced herself to New Orleans last week, and interrupted our return to normal wholesale activity. The heavy rains ultimately caused one of the just-repaired levees to fail, and parts of the city were flooded once again. We barely did any business on Thursday, and we did no business on Friday. The city has since been re-opened with the exception of the Ninth Ward, but it appears that it will be a long time before the city's population returns to pre-Katrina conditions. In the meantime, we have been forced to simply down-size our operation and focus on serving customers who are able to do business at this time.

      Jim Haley, President

      September 19, 2005

      All of our employees are now accounted for, and we are happy to learn that no injuries or illness resulting from Hurricane Katrina have been reported. Relief from this knowledge is overwhelming. Thank you, Lord.

      Over the weekend, the staff worked on preparing for our first day back to work.Cooler walls and floors were scrubbed and disinfected as were the working areas, the offices, and the bathrooms. Finally, the trash man came and hauled off all the debris. Our building was starting to look like a wholesale florists, again.

      Monday is finally here. and it's a Landmark Day for us. We actually delivered flowers for the first time since the hurricane. We sent out three different routes! You wouldn't think that something we've been doing every Monday for years on end could be so exhilarating. But it was an amazing experience for all of us.

      Money from the generous pledges we've received is starting to come in, which is also a rewarding experience. The Relief Fund Distribution Committee will be meeting today and tomorrow to make plans for the first round of distributions to our employees. We hope to distribute about $4,500 this week, which is so desparately needed by some of our employees. Thanks again to everyone who has helped to make this day possible.

      Jim Haley, President

      September 15, 2005)

      There are still three part-time employees who have yet to contact us after the storm. But, we believe these people are ok considering where there homes are. We are starting to breathe a little easier.

      At their monthly meeting on September 13, Allied Florists of Houston pledged $500 to the Pikes Peak Employee Katrina Assistance Fund and another $500 to Greenleaf's relief fund for their New Orleans employees. In addition, Allied engaged in additional fund-raising activities throughout the evening and raised an additional $1,832, which was split between Greenleaf and Pikes Peak. The gesture was so heart-warming and is so very much appreciated by these people who have been struck so brutally. In addition to suffering great personal losses and horribly uncomfortable living conditions. While there is some social relief available to them, it is hardly enough to get them back to a normal life. Thank you, Allied Florists of Houston! You really are the best!

      We also want to extend a special thank you to the growers and wholesalers belonging to Tradewinds International who pledged over $1,100 to our relief fund this past weekend. Tradewinds held their extravagant Tradewinds International Flower Exhibit at our facility in Houston on September 8-10, 2005. There were 47 growers exhibiting a spectacular collection of flowers to the delight of the member wholesalers.

      Other organizations which have made generous pledges to our New Orleans employees include DWF Wholesale Florists California Pajarosa San Diego Wholesale What an amazing industry this is! Thanks to each and every one of you.

      Barring any unanticipated event(s), we expect to begin operations during the first part of next week. It will probably take a few days to build our inventories back to normal levels, but our primary efforts will be to re-establish contact with our customers. We are beginning to see some of them return and all are anxious to return some form of normalcy to their lives, as do all of us.

      For those who may wish to make a contribution to our employee relief fund, they should make their checks payable to:

      The Pikes Peak Employee Katrina Assistance Fund
      % Lynne Haley, Katrina Assistance Fund Administrator
      Pike Peak of Texas, Inc.
      4340 Directors Row
      Houston, Texas 77092

      Jim Haley, President

      September 8, 2005

      Still no bad news from or about any of our employees being physically hurt or ill from Hurricane Katrina. And for this we are so thankful! But, we are still holding our breath. Here's what we do know — We know of two employees who have lost their home and all of their personal belongings. There are six that still don't know about their homes or belongings. The ones that we have heard from have either returned to their homes, or are staying with friends or families. We have yet to hear from five of our employees. We pray for their safety and well-being.

      While there have been no injuries or illnesses reported, the experience has been very trying for every single one of them. Some of the stories that are beginning to surface are really quite harrowing. I hope to chronicle some of them at a later date. In the meantime, the focus for everyone is to put a short-term survival plan together. And, that is proving to be quite a challenge. We believe that a prognosis for the coming three or four months will begin to clarify itself soon, which will allow us to do the more long-range planning that we are so anxious to do.

      Our hearts bleed for these people as they navigate these unthinkable circumstances. The relief that is coming in from all over the world to the victims of Hurricane Katrina is well-chronicled, and it is so heartwarming to see how generously people will reach out to help in times of crises. And there are a number of people who want to reach out directly to help those who work in this amazing industry of ours and who have been victiimized by Katrina.

      For those inclined to do so, we have established The Pikes Peak Employee Katrina Assistance Fund where you can make donations that will be used exclusively to help Pikes Peak employees who have been hurt by this catastrophic event. Checks can be sent to:

      The Pikes Peak Employee Katrina Assistance Fund
      % Lynne Haley, Katrina Assistance Fund Administrator
      Pike Peak of Texas, Inc.
      4340 Directors Row
      Houston, Texas 77092

      Similar funds can be found at Society of American Florists and at Allied Florists of Houston

      A commitment for Pikes Peak to remain in New Orleans remains strong, but there are circumstances that remain beyond our control. Pikes Peak has been building relationships in the New Orleans market for nearly 24 years, and we don't want to walk away from them casually. These people are not only our partners in business, they are our friends. We trust that many of you join us in our prayers for each of them as they navigate these difficult waters.

      Jim Haley, President

      September 5, 2005

      Very relieving news!

      I spoke with Von on the phone on Saturday evening. The power at his home is back on, he has phones, gas, running water, and no damage to his home.

      Von went to the Pikes Peak facility and learned that we have sustained virtually no damage other than a broken gutter or drain pipe. Aside from the perishible inventory, everything else appears to be in remarkably good order. Even our delivery equipment appears to be un-scathed. He grabbed some paper work for us and will mail that back to Houston so we can keep our books in good order.

      The big problem now is the broken infrastructure in New Orleans, and the fact our customer base has been decimated. We'll get together next week and explore our options.

      Still no bad news from any of our staff!

      Jim Haley, President

      September 3, 2005

      As of this morning, we have heard from less than half of our New Orleans employees, which leaves us very concerned. But, with communications as they are, it's not surprising that so many have been unable to communicate with us. We are so grateful that no injuries have been reported. We continue to wait for more news. Lynne and I will both be checking our voice mails throughout this Labor Day weekend.

      About the store itself, we have been told that the earliest we can to get in to see the condition of our facility will be on Monday sometime. Once we see that, we will be able to start making re-construction plans. Of course, so much remains beyond our control — namely, the status of the community's infrastructure. Will we be able to operate on a minimal basis during the reconstruction period, or will we need to re-locate to a neighboring city so that we can continue to service our friends in the Louisiana and Mississippi markets?

      We continue to rely on your prayers, and appreciate everyone's concerns so much. It gives all of us strength we need to move forward.

      Jim Haley, President

      August 31, 2005

      The phone calls and expressions of concern about our operation in New Orleans are heart-warming, and certainly appreciated. We are frustrated with the fact that we don't have good information for those inquiring. The lack of knowledge and uncertainty that surrounds this situation leaves us in a difficult state where planning has become virtually impossible.

      Von Ginn, Pikes Peak of New Orleans store manager, evacuated to Houston with his wife Rita and their 10-year-old son Kelsey, and their two dogs. Von spoke with his next-door neighbor yesterday, and learned that his home on the West Bank (about 20 miles from Pikes Peak) is not flooded, and that only a couple of fence sections have been blown down. That information offers tremendous relief to the Ginn family, but there is still no electricity, clean water, phone services, etc. Their personal battle is far from over. They are most anxious to return to their home so they can start re-building their lives. Officials are discouraging people from returning home at this stage.

      Shannon McNeese, sales manager for Pikes Peak of New Orleans, is reportedly in Memphis with his family, but we have not yet spoken with him. We trust that he is ok and anticipate speaking with him soon.

      Although we have not heard from the other employees, we trust and pray all are ok, although their lives have been turned upside down by this catastrophe. We anticipate phone calls to start coming in from them today or tomorrow.

      Conditions at our building remain unknown . we can only speculate at this stage. We are in a dock-high facility on the west side of town, and we remain somewhat hopeful that building is not flooded. But, we just don't know yet. Our fleet of trucks are parked behind our building in a fenced yard. We are hopeful that they are not under water.

      It was in November of 1980 that Pikes Peak of New Orleans first opened on Jefferson Highway not far from our current location. That's twenty-four years of building relationships with the retail florist industry in the New Orleans metropolitan area. On the strength of these relationships, Pikes Peak has committed itself to finding a way to rebuild the business they have enjoyed there for the past twenty four years. With your prayers and the grace of God, we will succeed.

      Jim Haley, President

Corporate Office: 4340 Directors Row   Houston, TX 77092  713-686-4500  Fax 713-686-4136