The most violent storms on earth, tornadoes inflict damage that seems entirely random. An intact house stands unscathed amid the destruction of an entire neighborhood. An open soda weathers the tempest without losing a drop – though the can has been whisked into the front yard. Clothing inside a retail store hangs clean and neat under a gaping roof.

Paul Davis teams encountered this type of random devastation when they responded after a tornado ripped through Richmond, Indiana, in June, damaging the community’s mall while leaving much of the town untouched. “You have to be ready for the completely unpredictable effects these storms inflict,” comments Chad Holland, Paul Davis General Manager. “If a pipe breaks in a commercial building, we easily anticipate where we’re likely to find damage. After a tornado? We implement a detailed system for closely inspecting the entire structure to ensure we identify even small problems.” 

On site prepared to begin work within hours of the property manager’s call, Paul Davis got the mall’s stores back in business in less than two weeks. The project highlighted the capabilities and qualities that make Paul Davis the first-choice mitigation and restoration company for commercial properties: responsiveness, systematic and thorough approach, speed, exceptional collaboration and good core values.

The call for help came in on a Friday evening, Holland recalls. The property management group – which manages 1.4 million square-meters of retail space across the United States – had no relationships with contractors in the area. A partner referred Paul Davis when two other companies hadn’t responded to urgent requests for assistance. Paul Davis answered immediately and, though it was a distant worksite from the company’s southeast Wisconsin main office, arrived in under six hours prepared and staffed to begin mitigation. As the project rapidly moved forward across multiple stores, a big box anchor store, observing nearby mitigation moving ahead quickly, fired its original contractor for slow performance and retained Paul Davis instead.

Paul Davis deployed a system to comprehensively identify all the damage, much of it caused when multi-ton air handlers broke their moorings and rolled across the roof, puncturing multiple layers of the roofing system. After inspecting every square meter of the building, the team identified areas of moisture damage and created a large map with a legend denoting type of damage, extent of damage and moisture readings. The mapping directed efforts – removing ceiling tiles and carpet, drying, sanitizing, relaying materials – for quickest response. Within 10 days, technicians had completely mitigated the structure, readying it for the property manager’s contracted reconstruction partner and gaining occupancy permits that allowed stores to open their doors. 

Holland points to his company’s mission and values as strong foundations for the Richmond work, indeed for everything they do.  “We bring skilled people to do high-quality, honest work,” he says. “Insurance carriers, property managers and partners see transparency and trustworthiness, that we’re doing what is right quickly, completely and correctly on a reasonable budget while keeping them very well-informed.”

That comprehensive approach returned an important resource to the area quickly, saving residents long trips to distant alternative shopping venues. Getting mall stores back in business also helped maintain the local economy, restore revenue streams for retailers and protect vital employment in the compact community of just 35,000 people. For Paul Davis, it was another opportunity to do what the company does best: help people during the worst times in their lives.