Business & Real Estate

Sacramento businesses prepare for major storm

The Sacramento Kings have re-checked the roof and emergency generators at Sleep Train Arena. Downey Brand law firm has its offsite telecommunications and computer center ready.

Across the region, businesses large and small were making plans Wednesday in anticipation of the storm expected to bring high winds and rain to Sacramento over the next two days.

“We have our operations team if there’s a leak,” said Jamie McDaniels, senior marketing manager at Arden Fair mall. Merchants are being updated on the mall’s emergency plans, such as “who to call if the power goes out,” she said.

Scott Shapiro, managing partner at Downey Brand, said the firm has its offsite, backup tech system geared up so client files are safeguarded and attorneys can work remotely.

“It’s a complete, fail-safe backup system,” said Shapiro, who happens to specialize in flood-related legal issues and water law. Depending on the severity of the weather, he said, the firm will send employees home.

Downey Brand put its backup plan to work during a lengthy power outage last week on Capitol Mall. Employees were sent home and the firm’s office ran on battery power. The power kicked back on just as the firm was about to activate the offsite location but it was still “a nice little test of the system,” Shapiro said.

At the very least, the looming storm was becoming an inconvenience. The Manatt law firm’s Sacramento office postponed its holiday party, scheduled for Thursday, to next month.

The Edelman public relations firm told its Sacramento employees they could work from home Thursday. The Sacramento Bee told employees to consider taking one or two unscheduled vacation days if possible.

Aon Risk Insurance Services’ Sacramento office canceled a half-dozen meetings and conferences with clients set for Thursday. “We don’t want people traveling, and neither do the clients,” said Alex Michon, senior vice president.

Michon said clients were peppering Aon with calls Wednesday to make sure their coverage was in order. Some of them went shopping, too.

“Clients are out buying tarps, sandbags,” Michon said. “Everybody’s kind of locking down.”

The daunting forecast already took a toll on some outdoor businesses. The Scrub Boys carwash on Broadway closed Wednesday, but the Folsom Boulevard location was open. The outlook for Thursday was uncertain.

Raley’s had its emergency plans in place, ranging from backup generators to snow-removal crews standing ready for stores at the higher elevations. “Each store evaluates the situation on a case-by-case basis, but we’re hoping to stay open and serve our customers,” said spokeswoman Kat Maudru.

Meanwhile, hundreds of farmers from around California are due to wrap up a three-day convention Thursday at the Sacramento Convention Center.

“The majority of our attendees are staying here in town for the entire three days and are located in hotels close to the convention center. We don’t anticipate any problems,” said Mark Looker, a spokesman for the convention’s sponsor, the Almond Board of California. “There may be an impact with some local folks who decide not to drive into Sacramento for Thursday’s final session.”

Call The Bee’s Dale Kasler, (916) 321-1066. Follow him on Twitter @dakasler.

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