Cincinnati companies impacted by Hurricane Harvey

Posted at 10:35 AM, Aug 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-29 15:19:49-04

UPDATE: The Kroger Co. expects to have 78 stores operating in Greater Houston by day's end Tuesday, as it announced a donation of up to $100,000 to the Houston Food Bank, or $5 for every social-media share of this #KrogerCares post. Also on Tuesday, Cincinnati Financial Corp. said it will incur losses from Hurricane Harvey. "We're in the process of gathering information on preliminary damage estimates and that generally requires several days or weeks to conclude, but history shows that when large catastrophe events occur in any state where we operate, we generally have some share of insurance industry losses," said Cincinnati Financial spokesperson Betsy Ertel.

CINCINNATI - The Kroger Co. is trying to re-open several stores in Greater Houston Monday after Hurricane Harvey forced more than 100 Kroger stores to close over the weekend.

"What we communicated to our associates is, if you can safely get to work please do so," said Kroger spokesperson Kristal Howard. "But we're flexible and the safety of our customers and associates is our first concern. If we don't feel it's safe to open a store, we won't."

Kroger has 115 stores in Greater Houston and 17,000 employees. Howard said all but a handful of stores closed Sunday and several were expecting to re-open Monday. Kroger has a "significant distribution facility" on Houston's east side that is now hampered by high water.

RELATED: In Houston, "The water is swallowing us up"

"It'll take a while to get our logistics back where it needs to be," Howard said.

Kroger isn't the only Cincinnati-based company affected. The Category 4 hurricane spawned tornados and caused catastrophic flooding as it slowly made its way inland, turning streets into raging rivers in the nation's fourth-largest city.

Macy's Inc. has 11 Houston stores now closed for a second day, along with a distribution center and the Macy's La Palmera store in Corpus Christi, Texas.

"We do not have a damage assessment at this time nor do we have any news of injuries to associates," said Macy's spokesperson Andrea Schwartz. "It is impossible to estimate lost sales or business impact until we know the timing of the re-openings."

In the meantime, Macy's has donated $50,000 to the American Red Cross and is launching a matching-gift program to benefit its employees, some of whom are using their down time to volunteer at local food banks.

Procter & Gamble Co. has no major facilities in the path of the storm, but it is preparing to send P&G products and the Tide Loads of Hope team to Texas. The mobile laundry unit does free loads of laundry for victims of natural disaster, as P&G distributes free cleaning supplies, diapers and personal hygiene products.

“We are closely monitoring the situation with our local and national partner organizations,” said P&G spokesperson Tressie Rose.  “We will be in Southeast Texas to help people affected by the catastrophic flooding as soon as possible.”