2005 ASIS Expo Special Report: CCTV Imports Makes It to Expo Despite Getting Ravaged by Hurricane Ka

ORLANDO — One of the biggest surprises at the ASIS Expo didn’t come from a new product or an exciting display. It was from the fact that CCTV Imports showed up at all.

The seller of CCTV products from the New Orleans suburb of Covington, La., managed to still set up its booth and take in expo attendees despite half of its employees still missing and the company running without phones in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

At first glance, there seemed nothing out of the ordinary about CCTV Imports’ booth. Owner Kevin Lazaroe still had an inviting smile on his face, demonstrating lenses and cameras to visitors. The signs of a heavy heart were subtle — the glaring lack of company representatives at the booth and the collection bin at the front of the booth, trying to raise funds for temporary housing for CCTV Imports employees left homeless.

“It was important for us to be here for our customers,” Lazaroe said. “We had to displace rumors that we had been wiped out.”

In fact, with Covington lying across Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans, it wasn’t subject to the levee-breaking floods and CCTV Imports’ main office and warehouse remained in operation with no damage to product inventory.

Still, dozens of homes were flattened in Covington and employees who lived across the lake fared even worse. Despite that, , CCTV Imports still managed to conduct much of its business in the week following Katrina. Without phones, the firm managed to still make 75 percent of its usual business off E-mails alone and still made all of its shipments on time.

“You have to do the best you can,” Lazaroe says. “This makes you appreciate what you had.”

For information on aiding CCTV Imports’ effort to fund temporary housing for its employees, E-mail [email protected].


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