West Seneca company rebounds from 'Snowvember' collapse

Nov 18, 2015

For Trace George, a Facebook moment provided a lasting memory of the massive snowstorm that crippled much of the region last November. The CEO of VSP Graphic Group learned through social media that the roof had collapsed at his West Seneca facility.

 

CEO Trace George says an "army" of volunteers helped VSP Graphic Group after their facility collapsed during last November's snowstorm.
Credit photo from Jay Moran

"I logged on and I saw a picture of our main facility totally collapsed," George recalled. Like many, he was unable to make his way into West Seneca, one of the area's hardest hit during "Snowvember." However, a cameraman from NBC News was able to record the collapse. National attention soon followed.

With only a guess at the level of damage, George says he went to work quickly in making his business whole again. He committed hundreds of thousands of dollars in ordering new equipment to replace the machines he believed had been destroyed in the collapse.

What happened in the ensuing days was "amazing," he said.

"The building fell down on Tuesday. On the following Monday, I pulled into the driveway here in West Seneca. There had to be fifty cars in the road. It was a path. They were all over the place."

He described an "army" of staff members, vendors and volunteers at work inside one remaining building.

"Building new walls, installing new lines and new plumbing and new heating. And I had these companies that I had never even called with truckloads of office furniture. I had a boiler delivered to me at no charge by a client of ours. I had office equipment. It was crazy."

Insurance companies helped as the recovery progressed. George also gives credit to the town of West Seneca for providing assistance in dealing with a potentially devastating situation.

"The loss, the figure right now, we're shy of $1.5 million."

A pile of rubble sits where VSP's former production facility once stood in West Seneca.
Credit photo from Jay Moran

The company quickly returned to production. George says his company is moving forward at a startling pace.

"I would never have imagined that this would have happened in one year's time, let alone the week the building fell down," George said.

"We have a new location downtown. We serve the Bills and Sabres with graphical support. So we have an office there. We have an office here in West Seneca. We have an office in West Palm Beach now. And, one soon to be in L.A."

"The reason is folks on a national level found out about our company and actually made us sustainable somewhere else other than Buffalo."