HOUSTON (KIAH) – A family business in Humble, Texas is hoping to recover inventory after several tornadoes swept across the Greater Houston Area in early January. Many homes and businesses were destroyed in the storm.
A tornado that came through Humble left this building behind me in pieces. Along with several other businesses, suites 311 C and D, two clothing boutiques, were completely wiped out. The owners say they’re hoping to bounce back from this storm.
“I got a phone call at seven o’clock – 7:30 on Sunday morning saying ‘hey, get to the warehouse.’ So, I’m just like um- for what? I don’t work on Sundays. It was the cleaning people who clean the warehouses. They said ‘the warehouse is gone’. I said… Gone?!,” said Martha E. Berry, CEO of I’MarE Boutique.
Less than 24 hours before the tornado blew through the warehouse, Berry says she had a conversation with her daughter, Iceland Robinson, the CEO of Icee Boutique to talk about their goals for expanding in 2022.
Both boutiques sell women’s clothing. Berry’s business, I’MarE Boutique has clothing for plus-size women.
“With everything that’s happening it’s very traumatic and very hard because it’s like I did it you know with nothing. And now I have a lot but it’s like I’m losing a lot,” said Berry.
Robinson is a 4.0 college student at Prairie View A&M University studying kinesiology. She says this is a very hurtful loss. Especially, since her boutique was a birthday gift from her mom.
“When I drove up on scene I think that’s when it hit me. At first it didn’t hit me, but I think just seeing it. Like, this is ours,” said Robinson.
Berry started “I’MarE Boutique” 5 years ago with no job. Two years later, “Icee Boutique” opened. With the rapid growth in sales, Berry bought two suites and turned them into warehouses.
Prior to the storm, the ladies also owned a storefront that closed due to the financial strain of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“At the end of the day, I have to be strong for my staff and my girls. But, at the same time, the strong person breaks too,” said Berry.
Berry and Robinson were hoping to recover most of their inventory. Unfortunately, they received more devastating news.
“The walls were like covering the merchandise, but when they went to actually get the walls today, it crumbled,” said Berry.
For now, the owners are putting their things in storage until they relocate. “I just think this was a minor setback for where God is about to take us,” said Robinson.
Berry also remains hopeful. “It’s always a rainbow at the end of the storm. I know that it’s going to be bigger and it’s going to be greater. And we’re hurting now but I know we will be smiling soon,” said Berry.
In the meantime, there’s a GoFundMe account to help recoup some of the loss and accrued expenses. Berry and Robinson set a goal to raise $100,000. However, they need help from the community. Right now, they’re at about $15,000.