Business World

Affects of September 11th...

I wish I was writing my usual message to the tea industry on the occasion of the annual U.S. Tea Convention but I cannot. I am too emotionally and physically affected by the tragic events of September 11.

Our office is within walking distance of the World Trade Center. On that morning, half of us were already in the office, the others enroute. Our c.f.o. was arriving on the PATH trains, which have a station in the underground level of the World Trade Center, when the first plane hit. Several editors who were walking towards the office saw the planes hit, and our show coordinator was caught near the towers and was helping wash out victims’ eyes with bottled water from neighborhood delis. She had to escape from the debris as the building collapsed by running and hiding underneath a table at a nearby restaurant. At that point, our office building was enveloped with smoke. Our staff, trapped in the building, stayed away from the windows, but could not help but look out into the eerie blackness that turned the bright morning into night.

Luckily the staff of Refco; the Coffee, Sugar and Cocoa Exchange and the Green Coffee Association were able to evacuate unharmed from their World Trade Center headquarters. Surrounding buildings which housed the NCA were also evacuated (see p.13 for NCA report). They had the horrific experience of seeing people jump to their death, as did also green coffee importer, Atlantic (USA), Inc. As the firm is located on the 23rd floor of their building, they saw the second plane approach on eye level and quickly evacuated.

The Coffee, Sugar and Cocoa Exchange had an electronic backup system in place at a surrounding suburb, but now the staff must add considerable travel time to reach the facility. Trading time has been shortened and C prices continue to drop. The Green Coffee Association lost all paperwork, including all their archives. Secretary Doreen Madigan is trying to piece things together at her dining room table on Long Island. The Association canceled their bi-annual convention, which was supposed to be held in Cancun, Mexico. The NCA rescheduled their Congressional Coffee Event to 2002. Excelco, whose building on Battery Place shook upon the Tower’s implosion, are dealing with telephone delays three weeks after the event, a minor inconvenience, says Ingrid Devico. While the coffee industry came out basically unharmed, economic repercussions, such as those resulting from lost trading time, will affect our business.

Three of my neighbors were murdered in this heinous attack (one mother, one father, and one daughter). My daughter Katie’s three friends no longer have their fathers. My son Tommy’s fellow kindergarten classmate lost his firefighter father. My husband’s co-worker lost both her brother and brother-in-law. My Welsh cousin’s co-worker’s son was on the first hijacked plane. This has truly affected everyone.

I cannot stop grieving as I realize that this is the most horrible event to ever take place in my lifetime, and I hope this is the last tragedy my children will ever have to experience.

Jane McCabe
Editor & Co-Publisher

Tea & Coffee - October/November 2001

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