Grand Rapids-based Iserv has invited businesses in the area displaced by flooding to take advantage of its open workspace until their own offices are back up and running.
Iserv — an Internet, voice and data provider headquartered at 5222 33rd St. SE — was not affected by the flooding, and has enough space to house four to five small businesses or one to two larger companies.
Those companies can set up in unused cubicles and take advantage of all the typical office services: telephone, Internet, copy machines, printers, conference rooms, etc. The company also has warehouse space and a shipping dock available for temporary use.
Richard Koch, director and chairman of Iserv, said that the available space is from the company’s dial-up days, when it required greater support services and training space.
Today, that space remains empty, and the company is glad to provide it free of charge to businesses struggling to keep operations going following the flooding.
Because the customer service center is open 24/7, businesses are welcome to use the space at any hour.
“We are offering it to any local businesses that need a dry place to conduct business,” Koch said.
One business has taken advantage of the Iserv’s data service center, moving its technology into the space on Saturday.
The company is experiencing an increase in clients’ customer service needs, particularly fielding calls from customers worried about losing electricity.
Koch said a lot of time over the last week was spent redirecting communications, so people are prepared and can remain on the job even if they can’t get into their office.
“Really, it is personal support, knowing that you have this option,” Koch said of the need that Iserv is really filling.
Redundant data centers
Koch mentioned that when Hurricane Sandy hit earlier last fall, many of Iserv’s New York clients were flooded, and the company was able to move service to the Grand Rapids office.
Having offices in Grand Rapids, New York, Boston and Florida makes a substantial difference in disaster situations for data communications services.
“Now, we have redundancy,” he said of the company’s operations. “Since Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast, a lot of these clients are looking for places to put their equipment.”
He said that the company has been recommending Grand Rapids, because despite the recent flood, it is a relatively safe area from natural disasters.