Midwest distributors were kept busy helping customers recover from the extensive damage caused by the flooding in mid-June. Iowa’s second-largest city, Cedar Rapids, was among the hardest hit. About 1,300 city blocks flooded and 24,000 people fled their homes, according to the Associated Press. The following is fromModern Distribution Management's(www.mdm.com) coverage of local distributor response in its June 19 newsletter.

A Ferguson employee made a late-night run in heavy rain to the HVAC/plumbing distributor’s Waterloo, IA, distribution center - 50 miles each way - to get mechanical plugs for contractors working to prevent floodwaters from seeping into the local hospital. The distributor worked with contractors throughout the night; unfortunately, the floodwaters won out.

Sump pumps, water heaters and water softeners were in high demand to help the flood victims. Distributors added generators, extension cords, tarps, batteries and other products to their offerings, MDM reported.

Terry Whitney, president of Cedar Rapids WinPump Co., said his company - a part of WinWholesale, Dayton, OH - sold 400 pumps in one week, and was facing a strong demand for water heaters. He sold about 50 water heaters on Tuesday, June 17, and said he expected the demand would increase as residents return and start the cleanup. Cedar Rapids WinPump sells throughout eastern Iowa, so WinPump has been able to help customers in other flooded areas, including parts of Des Moines.

Suppliers kept WinPump in stock, with same-day or next-day special deliveries. A Win company in Omaha also helped with supply. "We were only out of sump pumps for a total of three hours," Whitney said. "We made sure we had 80-100 pumps come in each day and things fell into place for us."

The closing of highways in and out of the city constrained supply for a couple of days. "As of Tuesday morning (June 17), we are seeing a return to normalization in Waterloo," said Ferguson's facility manager there, Shawn Donahue.

 "All carriers servicing the distribution center are fully operational and all main roads have reopened. At this point, we are prepared to fully resume all operations."