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Santa Cruz, BTI, Polar support hurricane rebuild efforts in Houston

Published September 1, 2017
Photo provided by Dale Mikulan of Sun & Ski.
Crowdfunding campaign established to help retailer's employees.

HOUSTON (BRAIN) — Several bike industry suppliers are pitching in to help the hurricane recovery in Houston, including efforts to help bike shop employees whose homes were damaged or destroyed.

Several bike retailers had stores damaged in the storm, while others lost personal homes and possessions. All will face business challenges as the region rebuilds. 

Santa Cruz Bicycles has donated $10,000 to a crowdfunding campaign that has been set up to help employees of one of the brand's largest dealers, Sun & Ski. Owned by Houston-based Retail Concepts Inc., Sun & Ski has 30 locations nationally, including four in the Houston area. Santa Cruz is also matching any additional donations to the fund made by its employees.

One Sun & Ski location was heavily damaged and likely will not open for several months. Another location will be closed for at least two weeks, while the remaining stores planned to reopen Friday.

Several Sun & Ski employees lost their houses, apartments, cars and personal belongings in the storm.

"The magnitude of destruction is hard to even comprehend," said Santa Cruz's founder, Rob Roskopp. "Sun & Ski is a great partner of ours, and we hope this donation can help their employees get back on their feet."

Some of the funds will come from the fees Santa Cruz collects from its Factory Demo program, which normally go to trail advocacy.

"We usually donate the $20 we charge for demos to the local trails," Roskopp said. "But helping these people out is a higher priority right now."

Santa Fe, New Mexico-based distributor BTI is setting aside 5 percent of all orders placed on Friday, Sept. 1, for donation to Hands.org, a volunteer-powered disaster relief organization. Over the past 12 years, Hands.org has enabled more than 39,000 volunteers to donate 200,000 days affecting 500,000 people worldwide.

BTI also pledged to match donations made by its staff to various recovery organizations.

Preston Martin, BTI's president, said, "The millions of people affected by Hurricane Harvey need help. Witnessing the transformative work being done by Hands.org's heroic volunteers has inspired us to take action. Even if shops don't order from us today, we hope they can get involved in their own way."

Boulder, Colorado-based water bottle manufacturer Polar Bottle is donating all profits from online sales of a special Texas flag bottle to Hands.org.

Houston retailer Ham Cycles is raffling a State Bicycle frameset to benefit a hurricane relief fund. Raffle tickets are $10.

Craft brewery Oskar Blues, which produces Reeb bicycles and operates a bike store in Colorado and a "bike ranch" in North Carolina, also is getting involved. The company was sending about 220,000 cans of fresh drinking water to Houston this week.  

More information: GoFundMe page for Sun & Ski employees | BTI homepage | Polar Bottle Texas flag bottle page | Hands.org | Ham Cycles raffle

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