Third Generation SandBag Man
My need for sandbags begin when rainwater was flooding my house. The water was coming, not from the nearby lake, but my neighbors runoff from their pool. I couldn’t tell where the water was coming from, but it was coming fast, into my pool, my backyard and into the house.
THE STRANGEST THING WAS TAKING PLACE. I COULD LOOK AT MY POOL AND SEE WATER STANDING 1” ABOVE THE EDGE. I WAS 40’ AWAY HOLDING THE GATE OPEn TO LET MORE WATER OUT AND TRYING TO KEEP THE DOGS IN AT THE SAME TIME. I THOUGHT TO MYSELF THIS IS AMAZING, “WATER COMING DOWN SO FAST IT IS HOVERING OVER THE POOL TILL IT RUNS OFF! WOW NOT EXACTLY, THE WATER WAS COMING THROUGH THE FENCE AND FILLING MY POOL AND THAT WAS THE ELEVATED WATER LEVEL. AFTER 3 FLOODS IN 2 WEEKS I CALLED A SURVIVING COMPANY TO SEE WHAT THE PROBLEM WAS BUT NOT ANY COMPANY WANTED TO HELP ME. IT TOOK 4 MONTHS FOR ME TO FINALLY UNDERSTAND WHAT WAS HAPPENING.
MY HOUSE SUFFERED $10,000’s IN DAMAGE. No INSURANCE company WOULD HELP. MY COMPANY SAID SURFACE WATER, NOT COVERED, THE NEIGHBOR’S INSURANCE SAID Okay, PROVE WHAT YOUR SAYING.
SO MY SHORT TERM PROBLEM WOULD HAVE TO BE DIVERTED BY THE USE OF SANDBAGS.
My family had been in the bag business from ——2000. I new someone from back then that could get me a 1,000 bags. I also knew someone in the concrete business that brought me 80,000 lbs. of sand. Off to the races, so to speak. My motivation was not making money but protecting my property from what was a disaster in the making. With bags, sand, and shovels we started back braking work to protect my house. We had to get enough bags to barricade the east side of my property before the rainy season came. We did just that. The whole time I was doing this job, my normally unusual way of thinking was at work. I thought with the expansion of our city and the rains flooding more often, that maybe others might be having the same problems I did. Just different situations. So over the next year I researched how to barricade for flooding, the best ways to get sand in bags, and equipment.
The the bank I was with for 30 years thought, “ We don’t see the next need for sandbags in our area.”
This meant no financial assistance.
During the next year I tried to convince myself and others that I believed in what this could be. Ninety-nine point 9 percent of people said, “No, I just see you making any money.“
That turned up the heat on my idea. By the end of 2016 I had purchased a sandbag machine, “This machine was going to create miracles and I had discovered the missing link, so I had thought.”
Up till now our bag filling process was taking about 2 minutes per bag and this machine promised up to 1200 in 1 hour! Well let’s just say that maybe stretch the reality of the situation. However, I did start bagging pea gravel for a local barricade company. Low and behold the company I bought the sandbag machine referred me to a “SANDBAG BROKER.” Who would of thought there would need to be such a thing. Everyone I work in the family business part time from the late 1970’s till I graduated Hi school in 1983. Then it was full time and college for a year and then became work only, no school. At this point is where I started learning more about the company and working side by side and under the old school method of getting things done was hard but I learned that hard work, long hours and low pay was a recipe for failure.
MY GRANDFATHER STARTed Imperial COMPANY Bag IN THE 1930’s.
He BOUGHT USED BURLAP BAGS AND BURLAP MATERIAL. PEOPLE TOLD MY GRANDFATHER that HE HAD LoST HIS MIND. WITH VERY LITTLE MONEY HE KEPT BUYING INVENTORY TILL HE HAD A WAREHOUSE FULL OF BURLAP. NO MONEY BUT LOTS OF USED BURLAP. Suddenly WAR BROKE OUT IN EUROPE AND SOMETHING HAPPENED. WITHIN 6 MONTHS THE ENTIRE INVENTORY MY GRANDFATHER HAD PUT TOGETHER WAS GONE.
ALL PURCHASED BY UNCLE SAM, THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT. THE MATERIAL WAS USED for MUNITIONS PACKAGING FOR THE MILITARY. MY GRANDFATHER WAS WRITtIN UP IN Fortune MAGAZINE, as an unlikely place to make a fortune. HOWEVER HE WOULDN’T SAY MUCH. SO THE STORY HEADING WAS “CLOSED MOUTH SAM” (Tight Lipped?)
YEARs LATER THE BUSINESS EXPANDED FROM DALLAS, TO HOUSTON my father OPENED UP a LOCATION ON BUFFALO Bayou, BUFFALO BAG COMPANY. MY FATHER AND MY UNCLE OPERATED THIS LOCATION FOR DECADES. They BECAME SUPPLIERS OF RAPPING FOR COTTON BALES AFTER THE COTTON HAD BEEN PROCESSED IN THE GIN. IN THE 1960’S THE BUSINESS HAD GROWN to the Rio Grande Valley and OUT TO WEST TEXAS. A LUBBOCK, TEXAS OFFICE AND WAREHOUSE WAS OPENED TO BETTER SERVICE THAT AREA. I DIDN’T KNOW MY GRANDFATHER WELL. HE PASSED AWAY IN 1969, I WAS ONLY 4 years old.
THIS WENT ON TILL THE MID 1970’s. THE INDUSTRY WAS CHANGING AND companies like Exxon were introducing plastics TO THE INDUSTRY.
Link this back to your involvement there and to where you are now.