Cabela’s recovers quickly from tornado strike with Hughes Access Continuity Solution.
When a tornado ripped apart St. Louis’ Lambert International Airport and neighboring Hazelwood, Missouri, Cabela’s was the only store in the storm’s wake able to stay open and help residents throughout the ordeal, thanks largely to the Access Continuity solution from Hughes Network Systems which provides a backup broadband satellite network to Cabela’s locations.
Cabela’s, the World’s Foremost Outfitter, relies on Hughes to protect all 34 of its retail stores throughout the U.S. that are on their MPLS network from network outages caused by natural disasters and man-made mishaps.
The April 2011 “Good Friday Tornado” cut a 22-mile track across the St. Louis metropolitan area, damaging hundreds of homes and businesses with winds exceeding 165 miles per hour. The extensive damage to property was compounded by the storm knocking out power and communications across the region. Displaced residents had few local commercial establishments to turn to for supplies to start the clean-up effort.
Cabela’s, however, was able to start its back-up generators and keep its doors open immediately after the storm when the network automatically switched over to the Hughes satellite backup network utilizing the Hughes Access Continuity service. In less than three hours, Hughes technical support guided the IT staff at the Hazelwood store to recover and test all essential store systems.
“Having Hughes support on the phone was amazing,” said Jennifer Anderson, the store’s customer service manager. “It was a huge relief to have one-on-one support throughout the entire process of bringing our store back online and to recover from the wreckage so quickly.”
Hughes technicians first made sure that all point-of-sale terminals were working correctly and able to process credit card and check transactions over the broadband network. The inventory system was next. It was essential that this be operating properly in order to provide quantities, descriptions, and locations of products in storage that people would need following the storm.
Cabela’s club card application was also a priority to get up and running. Club card members are Cabela’s best customers, and there were many in the Hazelwood area. Club card functionality enabled cash-strapped customers to utilize their points and gift cards to procure the items they needed.
“It was important that we were able to stay open for business not only for our own sake, but for the community as well,” said Anderson. “As the only business that was up and running, Cabela’s became the go-to resource for local residents as well as people who came rushing in from other towns to help in the clean-up efforts. We were able to supply them with essentials such as boots, rain gear, generators and the other things they needed to recover from the enormous disruption to their lives.”
Hughes was able to quickly restore Cabela’s operations using its Access Continuity solution—an always available, high-performance satellite broadband managed services offering. When it detects a primary network connection outage, the Access Continuity solution is automatically engaged. Policy-based routing automatically switches data traffic to the satellite network to keep the store up and running. As a managed service, the store is backed by an expert support team located remotely at Hughes’ network operations center to test applications and ensure that all essentials are working properly after a fail-over event.
“Cabela’s prides itself on delivering exceptional customer service. Hughes helped us keep that promise at a time when our customers needed us most,” Andersen said.