Dealer’s vacation turns into binge-watching of news

on Aug29

Brasher: Harvey tops Carla.

Texas dealer Tommy Brasher had the good fortune to schedule a vacation to Cancun, Mexico, this past week. But instead of enjoying fun in the sun, he and his wife have spent the last three days holed up in their hotel room watching nonstop TV coverage of Hurricane Harvey.

His store, Brasher Motor Co. of Weimar, is in Weimar, Texas, about 90 miles west of Houston.

“A lot of our customers in Houston have been impacted and their cars have been flooded and they can’t get out of their streets,” Brasher said. “The devastation has been terrible.”

He added, joking, “I have a good friend in Houston who said he’s lost two of his cars. The worst thing is he got a foot of water in his wine cellar.”

Brasher’s son has been running the store for his father.

“Scott sent emails out to all our employees yesterday that we’d be closed today. We told them on Friday that we’d be closed on Saturday, but we thought we’d be open today,” Brasher said Monday. “But we wouldn’t have had any customers and we didn’t want to put our employees in the face of danger trying to come to work.”

Brasher’s Chevrolet dealership sells about 550 new and used vehicles a year. The city of Weimar — population 2,151 as of the 2010 census — is on high ground, so none of his inventory has been damaged, he said. But he can’t return to assess the situation until at least Friday, he said.

“George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston is closed until they get the freeways open,” Brasher said. “Right now the freeways are 5 to 10 feet under water.”

Brasher said his employees have been largely unaffected by the storm and he suspects his business will be hurt “a little” by it.

“In small towns, they’re going to buy cars when they feel like they want to buy cars. I don’t think it’ll impact our sales at all — from a monthly standpoint,” Brasher said.

In the meantime, Brasher can’t look away from the hotel TV.

“I’ve been through a lot of storms but nothing ever like this. I lived through Carla [in 1961]. We were too stupid to understand there was a lot of rain going on and so we went out and got hamburgers,” Brasher said, laughing. “But that was the first major hurricane. This one far surpasses it.”

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