Tonquin Trading. Our Journey to Disaster Relief Company.
How did we become a disaster relief company? I always say we are not the survival experts, we are a scenario experts.
It all started with a radio advertisement in 2015 on a morning drive to work.
It was September preparedness Month and they were talking about the Cascadia Subduction Zone.
My wife and I just moved over here a year ago. What do you mean Cascadia Subduction Zone?
Luckily we had just moved over here from a pretty tough cold and inhospitable climate. North Dakota. I was conditioned to work 100+ hr weeks under a tremendous amounts of stress in a dangerous environment. My training was in risk mitigation. I was an EO Level 5 Safety Trainer, otherwise known as a "Red Hat". Mitigating risk was in my blood and my wheelhouse.
Step #1 Figure out how bad this truly is?
Turns out it's pretty bad. Producing an 8 or 9+ quake every 250 years followed by a massive tsunami. Uh when was the last one? January 26th 1700. So basically we are 70 years past due the average. Perfect.
Step #2 Exit Strategy and Supplies
When I started looking at completed kits I was noticing the same thing over and over. These emergency kits were setting folks up for failure. I wasn't about to give my wife and kids a false sense of security. I understood there was a market for supplies and if there wasn't, then I was going to create one.
Step #3 Open a Store. Find the innovators in the outdoor industry and bring them to our community. Seaside Oregon one of the worst inundation zones on the Pacific Coast.
We build kits for success, we focus our search on the innovators, the hikers, the survivors, the medical professionals. We approach those difficult conversations with a solution. We were the first to introduce Emergency Kits for Kids in Schools and Hotel Guest Kits for the hospitality industry.
Step #4 Volunteer, Volunteer, Volunteer.
I'm currently a volunteer for SAR, Citizen Corps and CERT and Consulting Cities to grow these organizations. This is important for many reasons. I used to think the most important role involved Emergency Management on a daily bases. I know now the Emergency Management on the disaster scale is just as important or more. Especially when those daily first responders are displaced and will be limited in there ability to help on a scale 100 times that which they are used to.
Step #5 Pick a name and Create a Logo
I loved the idea we followed the Lewis and Clark trail from North Dakota. I wanted to name the store with a piece of History I could tie in to the community. It just so happens that the drive to work was around an hour. Every morning I would listen to my audio book on John Jacob Astor of Astoria. Soon after the discovery of the Lewis and Clark trail to the Pacific, Thomas Jefferson and John Jacob Astor decided to sail a ship to claim this Pacific Coast as the US. That ship was the Tonquin, John Jacob Astor owned a fur trading company. There it was shining like a bright light in my mind "Tonquin Trading Company" the logo was just as simple as the Nike swoosh or UA like Under Armour, TT Tonquin Trading.
We have since closed the hiking outdoor store but still have online. This is to truly focus on Emergency Preparedness Education.
I still remember the first event we hosted. Here is the flyer. It was my attempt to connect everyone who plays a crucial role and get them all in the same room.
If I were to give one piece of advice it would be,"If you see something say something and NEVER GIVE UP, together we can create a better outcome.
Sincerely your Disaster Relief Company (Tonquin Trading)