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Ready For Hurricane Season In South Florida? There's A Store For That

Karen Burkett

Whether or not a hurricane hits South Florida, residents pay a price. Insurance is the biggie for most people.

On the flipside, however, there are companies here that exist and even thrive specifically because of hurricane season.

Steve Sherman is CEO of the Hurricane Store,  an online business based in Davie that sells emergency supplies and kits. He loves his product.

“Our kits include three cyalume light sticks," Sherman said. "We include three because we found out that in 72 hours, there’s actually three nights.” Most people he said often miscount and think there are only two.

Sherman has a Ph.D in computer science. So truthfully, he’s a bit of a safety geek.

The company's best-selling emergency preparedness kit comes complete with a flashlight, 72-hour supply of food and water, ponchos, toilet paper and one of his most popular items, a radio.

Eight years after Hurricane Wilma, Sherman said so far it has been difficult to get people focused on hurricane season even though South Florida has already had one storm blow through in the first week.

"I think we probably are as aware as any place in the country," Sherman said. "Forecasts are suggesting that it's going to be a very active hurricane season. I don’t know if our level of preparation is up to that kind of a hurricane season though.”

Interestingly enough though, after Hurricane Sandy, plenty of customers from the Northeast started calling.

Other disasters are good for business too of course.

“Tornado territory is one of our biggest selling areas because just having a NOAA weather radio that could give you an extra five or ten minutes when a tornado is coming is the difference between life and death. Of course, earthquake country is also a big seller for us,” he said.

Sherman’s good friend and business partner, Bruce Saver, is president of the company. Saver also works as a professional pilot instructor. While the company makes good money, it’s still a growing family business and that forces both men to hold more than one job.

“We witnessed a horrific car accident, which ejected children and got us immediately stopped on the road where we were giving first aid,” said Saver, explaining how the company got started.

As it turned out, Saver was a former emergency medical technician.  It was then that he realized the need for emergency supplies.  And that was the same year four hurricanes hit the state o f Florida.

Sherman and Saver agree that if they hadn’t lived through hurricanes themselves, they wouldn’t know how unprepared most people are.

A business born from two locals who lived through the reality of South Florida’s harsh weather.

Karen Rundlet worked as television news producer for a long, long time in cities like Atlanta, New York, and Miami. Not once during that period did she ever say words like "action" or "cut." Seven years ago, she joined The Miami Herald's newsroom as a Multimedia Manager. She built the company a Video Studio, where sports segments, celebrity reports, and interviews with heads of state have been shot and produced. In 2010, she also began producing a business segment for WLRN/Miami Herald News radio and writing business articles for www.MiamiHerald.com. Karen calls herself "a Miami girl with Jamaican roots," (practically a native) having lived in the city long enough to remember when no one went to South Beach. She spends her weekends with an Arsenal Football loving husband and a young daughter who avoids skirts that aren't "twirly enough."