Cape business community learning to be QuakeSmart

Monday, October 27, 2008

Last week I attended an earthquake preparedness forum at the Show Me Center in Cape Girardeau. Aimed at business leaders, QuakeSmart is an intiative to encourage companies to take actions that will reduce damage to their buildings, provide greater safety for employees and customers and speed recovery in the event of an earthquake. This is done through educational campaigns geared toward small and emerging businesses in the area.

Cape Girar­deau is one of four communities to be selected by the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the program. QuakeSmart leaders believe Cape Girardeau is the most challenging of the four — Monterey, Calif., Reno, Nev., and Evansville, Ind., are the others selected — because of the lack of a recent destructive earthquake.

"No one can fully recover until a business recovers," Michael Buckley, acting assistant administrator of the Mitigation Directorate for FEMA, told a crowd of about 130 Oct. 22. "Your ability to reopen your business after an earthquake is about restarting a community and restoring hope."

Among the suggestions offered were strapping a water heater to a wall using flexible lines, moving cabinets from the path of an employee's desk and bracing sprinkler lines. There were many other given, but that's a general idea of suggestions given by presenters.

During a question and answer period, the audience was asked how many are now going to prepare for earthquakes after attending the presentation. About half of the business leaders raised their hands.

At the presentation, T. Robin Cole of Cape Area Habitat for Humanity announced all the program's houses will now be compliant with the international residential code, ensuring greater resistance in the event of an earthquake.

Though I've never experienced an earthquake, the reality is, we live in an quake-prone area. I realize not all businesses will choose to participate in this effort, but if at least some do, I hope we'll be one step closer to recovery if an earthquake does occur.

To learn more about this program, go to www.quakesmart.org.

* Comic store changes ownership: Marvels & Legends, 1030 Broadway in Cape Girardeau, has been sold by owner Ken Murphy after 12 years in business. He sold the store to Jack and Jennifer Huskey, who will continue with the name of Marvels & Legends.

"I felt like after 12 years, I had done all I could do," Murphy said. "It was time for me and my family to move onto the next step. We're looking forward to what we'll do with the rest of our life."

But those of you who have enjoyed the Cape Girardeau Comic Con since its inception in 2006, rest assured. Murphy will continue to head up the event, which has featured vendors selling merchandise ranging from figurines to artwork, games and rare comics, and panel discussions between comic book creators. The event drew about 900 comic-book enthusiasts over two days in April, when the convention is held.

Jennifer Huskey said she and her husband want to offer older comics such as those from the Silver Age and stock some anime trade paperbacks.

"This has been a dream of my husband's for years," she said. "He has collected comic books since he was 12. We're looking forward to the future."

The store is open from noon to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. Hours could be expanded in the future.

* Cape Regional Credit Union hoping to open third location in January: One of my favorite activities is driving around Southeast Missouri to hunt down business news. Earlier in the week I saw a sign advertising Cape Regional Credit Union's planned opening at the corner of Highway 177 and U.S. 61 in Fruitland.

President Jim Cauble told me Monday afternoon that the credit union hopes to open at its third branch in January so it can better serve customers in the Jackson-Fruitland area. Its other locations are inside the Procter & Gamble plant and at 2427 Cape Centre Drive in Cape Girardeau. "Since a third of our members live in this area, it only made sense to pursue this location," Cauble said. "We're excited about the possibilities once this branch opens."

* Thrift store story feedback: Since my Oct. 20 article about the rise of business at area and national thrift and consignment stores was published, I've received some feedback from readers sharing their two cents about other shops I failed to mention in the article. I didn't intentionally leave out any particular store. My aim was to just to include two stores from both the thrift and consignment categories. I'm sure there are many more I could have included, but the ones featured in the article were chosen at random. Feel free to post any future comments on my blog about stores I didn't mention in this column.

Among the stores not included in the article was Habitat for Humanity's ReStore, 117 N. Middle St. in Cape Girardeau. Since it opened in November 2007, ReStore has received and sold more than $47,000 worth of used building materials, appliances and furniture. In the past couple of months the management began a pick-up service for those wanting to donate to the store.

"As of May this year we started showing a profit," Habitat for Humanity executive director Walter Wildman said. "We are well on our way of having the ReStore fund the cost of one house."

Another reader told me her favorites in Cape Girardeau were the Teen Challenge Mid-America thrift store, 61 N. Clark St., and Annie Kate's, 709 Broadway.

* Pacific Rim Market opens: In mid-September I reported that a new international grocery store was planning to open at 1537 Independence St. in Cape Girardeau. Owner Robert Wade e-mailed our office last week announcing Pacific Rim Market had officially opened for business. Open seven days a week, the store's hours are 12:30 to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday. Pacific Rim Market specializes in Indian, Asian and Hispanic foods and has frozen foods and fresh produce as well.

* Crown Hospice plans Nov. 5 ribbon cutting: To accommodate future growth, Crown Hospice has moved to 2858 Professional Court in Cape Girardeau from 1353 N. Mount Auburn Road.

A medically directed program, Crown Hospice's staff of physicians, nurses, chaplains, social workers and volunteers strive to design the patients' quality of life to alleviate emotional, spiritual, social and economic stress associated with end of life. Its staff of 20 employees serve 11 counties in Missouri.

To commemorate the move, Crown Hospice is holding an 11:30 a.m. ribbon cutting Nov. 5, with an open house to immediately follow.

* BP Financial Services moves into new building: BP Financial Services has moved to 720 Caruthers Ave. The new facility includes a state-of-the-art conference room, expanded office space and increased security of financial records by converting them to an off-site paperless document storage system.

"Enhancing our ability to serve clients was our primary goal when we expanded our facilities and services" said Kevin Govero, owner, president and investment advisor for BP Financial Services. "Relocating our office one door north of our former location enabled us to enlarge both our physical facility as well as supplement the services we are able to offer our clients."

Business reporter Brian Blackwell can be reached at 388-3628 or bblackwell@semissourian.com.

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