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Disastrous Effects

How does a business survive when it's too close to a national crisis for comfort?

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This story appears in the January 2002 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

One of the 115 employees of New York City architectural firm Gruzen Samton were injured in the attacks on the World Trade Center. But the company's offices, located in a building practically across the street from the doomed south tower, didn't fare so well.

"When the tower collapsed, it destroyed the facade of our building, and the offices were a total loss," says company principal Mike Kazan, 54, who was working in the company's Washington, DC, satellite office the morning of the attacks. In addition to millions of dollars in burned and broken furnishings and equipment, Gruzen Samton's losses included paper records, computer data, and thousands of irreplaceable photographic slides documenting the company's many projects.

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