Surviving Frances

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Only now is SLPowers, a $3.5 million solution provider in West Palm Beach, Fla., getting its facility up to snuff after getting walloped by Hurricane Frances over the Labor Day weekend.

The storm ripped the outer roof off SLPowers' headquarters, downed its phone and electrical lines, and caused major water damage. What's more, the company's electricity didn't get turned back on until last Wednesday--11 days later.

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But through it all, SLPowers rallied around its clients, preventing potential disaster with backup and recovery plans that were well in place. To get several customers back up and running, the solution provider plugged them into other clients' networks. Some customers, who had been working closely with SLPowers technicians in the aftermath of the hurricane, were stunned to find out how badly the company itself was hit.

Rory Sanchez, president of SLPowers, said that going the extra mile to keep clients in operation is one of the key benefits of the 19-year-old company's outsourced remote managed service, Guaranteed Networks ( Before the storm, SLPowers worked on backup plans with clients of the managed service. And after the hurricane passed, the company remained in touch with them without skipping a beat. SLPowers was able to keep them running even when its own facility was literally in shambles. Those 30 managed service clients, which pay $795 to $4,600 a month, depending on the size of their networks, account for about 25 percent of SLPowers' annual sales.

"There are always a couple of executives who maybe don't see the value in writing that check every month," Sanchez said. "Today, every one of them sees the value."

Ironically, one of SLPowers' customers came to the solution provider's rescue in the wake of the storm.
Law firm Ackerman, Link and Sartory provided SLPowers with office space that it had just wired up for data access. Sanchez said he and his team of 20 employees have been working 16-hour days, and this weekend they were expected to move their servers back to their own facility.

It will feel good to have power and air conditioning once again, Sanchez added. "That's something we are going to be appreciating a lot more than we used to for a lot of days to come," he said.

What are you doing to survive in this business? Let me know at (781) 839-1221 or via e-mail at

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