As it swirled in the Gulf of Mexico, Hurricane Harvey was initially classified as tropical storm. But when it was upgraded to a Category 1 and subsequently a Category 2 hurricane, Cody Tuttle and his dad swung into action at Tuttle’s Grocery & Market in Woodsboro, a small town in south Texas.
“We started boarding up the store windows, and then that’s when I started calling around for a generator,” Tuttle said. “We’ve always wanted to buy one but just never did.”
After making an estimated 60 calls, Tuttle was able to secure a 250 kV rental generator set from Holt Cat in San Antonio. With the help of a local electrician, the Tuttles were able to disconnect from the electric power grid and run on generator power through the storm, which began on a Friday night and extended into Saturday morning.
At the peak of the storm, sustained winds were 130 mph, with gusts up to 160.
“We can’t go more than three or four hours without electricity, otherwise the meat and other perishable goods will be ruined,” Tuttle said. “It was hooked up during the storm against the side of our building, and it kept everything running, saving us thousands of dollars in inventory.”
Once the storm quieted down around 6 a.m. the following morning, Cody and his dad, Stanley, went out and surveyed the damage. In effect, everything within the town of 1,150 was either shut down or destroyed. The entire county was without power.
“Saturday afternoon we were able to open up,” he said. “People had already gone without electricity for 18 to 20 hours, and we were able to sell them some lunchmeat, bread, water and other items. We were the only store open in the whole county. It was crazy. We had lines down both aisles.
“The whole town was out,” he continues. “To be able to do what we do, we need to be able to wash our hands and wash the equipment. We were doing what we could for the community to keep it going because people were in need and it was a crazy ordeal.”
The Cat® generator set ran for 12 days straight without a hitch until power was restored.
“Holt Cat kept us running,” Tuttle said. “Without the help of the dealer and the Cat generator, we couldn’t have opened the store. It kept the lights on and kept our coolers going and enabled us to serve the community in a time of dire need.”