Suppress Wildfire Areas With Caution

The wildfires have slowed down in Southern California, but do you want to mail catalogs there? One list firm tells us no, while another says it’s up to the mailer to decide.

John Papalia, president/CEO of Danbury, CT-based Statlistics, says his company is bringing the option to suppress to its clients, But he says many Statlistic clients are willing to mail into Southern California zips that may be affected.

“It’s kind of sporadic,” Papalia says of the areas affected by the wildfires. “The people who work in our Ventura office tell us they have ash on their cars every day, but that they are functioning.”

But Joy Contreras, president of Suffren, NY-based Boutique List Services, is preparing to tell her clients to suppress mailings to the area.

“Nothing has come up yet, but that is usually what I recommend for areas affected by a natural disaster,” Contreras says. “Who knows how long it’s going to be for sure, but based on news accounts I’ve been hearing, I’d suppress those zips for a month.”

Unlike the uninsured areas affected by Hurricane Katrina in September 2005, Contreras thinks homeowners whose homes were destroyed by the wildfires will look to rebuild immediately, and may be living on trailers on their properties before Dec. 1.

But with that in mind, she says catalogers selling more upscale or frivolous items may want to wait a while to start mailing there.

“These people are going to be in need of basic essentials first,” Contreras says. “So if you sell clothing, home furnishings, and housewares, you may be able to start mailing there soon.”

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