Small business lessons from Hurricane Ian

Locally owned and operated, Harpers 1980 has been providing homeowners along Florida’s Suncoast with hurricane protection and lifestyle options, such as pool cages, custom screen enclosures and garage door screens, for more than 42 years.
When Hurricane Ian struck Southwest Florida, the company, which is based in Port Charlotte and covers Manatee, Sarasota, DeSoto, Charlotte and parts of Lee County, was in high demand.

“Being in the business of pool cage and aluminum repair, screen rooms and hurricane protection, we had to immediately focus on hiring additional staff and responding to the needs of existing and new clients who suffered damage from the storm,” said Lynne Kittredge, co-owner, Harpers 1980. “We had no phone or internet, and we had people showing up in our waiting room like Publix deli to get on our list for services.”

To grow the company and meet demand, they relied heavily on Integrity Employee Leasing, their existing professional employer organization (PEO) for human resource support, in addition to payroll services.

“We shifted into expansion mode immediately following the hurricane, and if we didn’t have Integrity as our partner, it would have been impossible for our staff to keep up with our operations, payroll and onboarding,” said Kittredge. “Their orientation and onboarding during that time for our new employees was incredible. They’ve provided us an HR office off campus and were always accessible for support and advice, allowing us to focus on serving the community during the post-hurricane recovery phase.”

Harpers 1980 was impacted themselves by Hurricane Ian, and the company was without power and phone service for eight weeks.

“Integrity went above and beyond providing on-site support including HR onboarding, website support and coordinating our phone apps. They made sure that our employees were paid on time and when an employee was injured on the job, they managed the workers’ compensation claim and helped us navigate through a variety of post-storm challenges.”

Even before Hurricane Ian, Integrity provided comprehensive administrative solutions for Harpers 1980. These services include payroll, human resources, risk management, workers’ compensation, employee benefits and more.

“Since moving from another vendor to Integrity Employee Leasing, our savings have been considerable,” Kittredge added. “As a small business, that’s a significant savings. More importantly, their communication and counsel are spot on, even during a hurricane.”