Louisiana floods present unique situation for crew at Love's 362
The recent rains in southwestern Louisiana were relatively light, but the flooding there has been significant -- and all the while, the focus of our team at Love's 362 in Vinton was steady on taking care of Customers and each other.
Mid-March flooding even prompted the closure of Interstate 10 connecting Texas and Louisiana last week for several days, a situation that happened after water was released from the Toledo Bend Reservoir some 145 miles north of Love's 362. That water flowed down the Sabine River and caused flooding throughout far southeastern Texas and southwestern Louisiana.
There wasn't even that much rain in the Vinton area, said Love's District Manager Jeff Linville.
"The rain here was minuscule," he said. "Nobody anticipated flooding getting to the level it did."
And by nobody, Linville meant nobody.
"I don't even think the officials anticipated it getting that high," Linville said.
So it was the job of brand-new General Manager Brandon Fontenot to keep the team rallied. Linville said Fontenot's team did a great job serving Customers with a smile, noting that he "kept his chin up and kept the team going."
Fontenot said it helped that he and his team had lots of support.
"I want to make sure and thank my district manager, Jeff, and the Love family for taking care of the employees who were stranded here because of the floods," Fontenot said. "They got us hotel rooms and made sure we had fresh clothing."
No doubt, the closure of I-10 slowed down business for a bit.
"The flooding killed our business for a few days, but we had some really key employees, including some who drove to work and ended up stranded on the Louisiana side of the river," Linville said.
For any of you who haven't been to the store in Vinton, it sits on high ground. The flooding, however, was just miles away at Exit 4, minutes from Love's 362, which is at Exit 7. Linville said his team had three or four days notice about potential flooding, which gave his crew enough time to point drivers back to Love's 209 in Greenwood, 16 miles from Shreveport, an area that had been inundated by rains only days earlier.
"We got the flood waters, and now (Love's 209) is having a flood of Customers," Linville said.
Two keys to serving Customers in a situation like this are getting as much notice as possible and clear communication, he said. However, it also helps to know the area well, and Linville does. He was general manager at Love's 362 back when Hurricane Ike swept through southwestern Louisiana in 2008, and yet he hadn't ever seen anything quite like the flooding situation there this past week.
"Not in my time," Linville said.