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While Badcock Home Furniture &more has recently celebrated grand openings of brand new stores in Savannah, Georgia, Clarkesville, Tennessee, and Apopka and Kissimmee, Florida, the opening of a particular temporary Florida location has restored great hope to the store owner and the community she serves. Sonja Rhinehardt has proudly been the Dealer-owner of two Badcock stores in the Panama City area for 20 years. After Hurricane Michael struck the Florida Panhandle as a devastating Category 4 storm on October 10th of last year, Rhinehardt returned to her beloved stores to assess the damage and was heartbroken to realize that the damage was catastrophic, neither store was operational and both would have to be completely leveled.
Within days, the Badcock Retail Operations team was in the area to assess damage and help Rhinehardt formulate a plan to get a temporary location up and running while she rebuilt to prevent permanently losing her livelihood. Amid the incredible devastation of the area with many homes demolished and continuous widespread power outages, the team was able to get the first temporary location up and running within three weeks after the storm. The temporary location consisted of storage sheds that were carefully set up in a parking lot of the destroyed Lynn Haven location. For over five months, the store operated in this humble structure, until a space was secured to set up an interim store at 103 W. 23rd Street in Panama City.
A celebratory event was held on April 6, 2019, to announce to the community the Badcock Home Furniture &more was back open and guests were given $50 Badcock merchandise cards. The response from the local residents who suffered major losses of their own was very positive. Crowds of customers came to give their support and kept Rhinehardt and her staff busy helping to replace some of their lost furniture and appliances. By the response, it was clear that Rhinehardt has made a positive impact on the community and it is supporting her journey to rebuild her two stores at their permanent locations.
CEO and President, Rob Burnette comments, “I’m inspired by Dealers like Sonja, and our Operations staff who have such a commitment to our customers, our community and our brand. We hope that our actions help inspire healing and rapid rebuilding in Panama City and the adjacent towns.”
Badcock is also thankful for the support of the community that has seen so much suffering since the storm and hopes that its renewed presence there will aid residents through their own journeys to restore their lives while providing quality home furnishings to replace what was lost to Hurricane Michael's fury.