Business helps its flood-affected competitor

- One Kingwood business owner is setting competition aside to help another business that was impacted by Harvey flooding.

“We got about 4.5 feet of water in the store,” said Wallace Bennett, owner of Va Va Bloom Flowers in Kingwood. That business is in the rebuilding process following devastating flooding in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

“We lost all of our inventory," said Bennett. "When we came in, everything was literally just kind of swimming around.”

The flooding forced Bennett to close the doors on his Kingwood business. Then, an unlikely offer was extended his way. Kingwood Garden Center, which competes with Va Va Bloom in the sale of garden gifts and decor, opened its doors to share its storefront with the competition.

“He expressed the importance of having a storefront for the holidays coming up, and I was like, that’s a golden idea," said Robby Bezner, owner of Kingwood Garden Center. "And so we immediately moved Wallace in here.”

Bezner says he got the idea to help in whatever way he could from another Houston-area business owner.

“Basically just seeing what 'Mattress Mack' had done, and I was like, 'You know what? I can do that too,' but not on the same scale,” said Bezner.

The pop-up space that Bezner made at Kingwood Garden Center helped Va Va Bloom get back on its feet.

“They were just kind of our saving grace, just to allow us to come in and help us and do whatever we needed to do to keep ourselves up and running here in Kingwood,” said Bennett.

The Va Va Bloom pop-up shop will remain at Kingwood Garden Center through the end of the year, giving Bennett enough time to reopen at a new larger location of his own.

“Our tagline is ‘Live, love, bloom,’ and we’ve added ‘live, love, bloom again’ to the tag line now,” said Bennett.

Both business owners say combining forces has actually helped cross promote to more customers.

“From adversity grows opportunity, and so we really feel like this was actually a blessing in disguise,” said Bennett.

Bezner has since extended the invitation to more businesses who might need of a temporary store front at Kingwood Garden Center as the holidays approach.

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