BROOMFIELD, Colo. — A cramped hotel room now serves as a home office for Melodie Reagan and her partner.
“We’re still in a hotel,” said Reagan. “And with both of us working from home, it’s created complexities.”
Before the Marshall Fire, Reagan operated her marketing and HR businesses out of her home in Superior.
“My house, sadly, burned down. It was also my home office,” she said. “It’s kind of like a double whammy. We lost our home. And we lost all of the support for our business.”
Reagan said she lost expensive electronics, including video and drone equipment, but most concerning to her was the 20 years of files and documents that went up in flames.
“So, I didn’t have everything in the cloud, and shame on me,” she said.
Rick Tillery, with the U.S. Small Business Administration, has talked to several home-based business owners at the Disaster Recovery Center and said many may qualify for low-interest loans.
“It’s heartbreaking hearing those stories of all of their hard work is gone now,” said Tillery, who pointed out that many victims have lost expensive equipment and supplies. “This is a taxpayer-funded program to help people recover from a disaster.”
“I have a law practice. So I had 18 years worth of legal files.”
However, for some who lost everything, such as Gudrun Emrich, taking on debt to re-build a business while also rebuilding a home may not be worth the pain.
“It’s been very difficult to focus on work because there’s so much to do,” said Emrich, who is considering retirement. “We’ll have to see. It’s a daunting endeavor to try to rebuild everything now.”
Last week, the Community Foundation Boulder County announced it earmarked $1.5 million for wildfire victims who have missed work or lost equipment.
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“Thank you for that information,” said Reagan, who explained that she had been busy before the fire, and trying to get her life back on track has been a struggle. “My team counts on me. My customers count on me. And my delivery is suffering in this process.”
The community, she said, has been her support, and she plans to keep working hard wherever she can work to stay afloat.
“I’m a fighter,” said Reagan. “So what’s next for me? I’m staying in it.”
With more people than ever before working from home during the pandemic, Reagan wanted to share lessons she has learned.
- Put together an emergency pack of critical documents, such as passports.
- Back up your documents on the cloud.
- Have a detailed inventory of your home office
- Insure your home office separately from your home