March 29, 2024

BayCoast Insurance Helps a Local Family Business Rise from the Ashes

“Four Generations, Up In Flames”

Four generations. That’s a long time to be in business. Burns Power Tools has been proudly serving our community since 1934. Initially founded as a saw shop in Fall River, Massachusetts, the company has grown to become a major supplier to the construction and woodworking industries, specializing in industrial power tools, heavy-duty machinery, and full-service sharpening and repairs.

Burns Power Tools recently relocated to Tiverton, Rhode Island, after being forced to leave its long- time location on Mariano Bishop Boulevard in  Fall River, where the Burns family rented space for their business. The reason for the move? The company, which has survived major global events, including the Great Depression, World War II,  and a worldwide health crisis, fell victim to a devastating five-alarm fire in November of 2022, right before the start of the holiday season.

Zach Burns, President of Burns Power Tools and great-grandson of the company’s founder, John J. Burns, recalls the night he got a phone call from his security company, notifying him that his family business was on fire.

Burns Saw Blade (Grandfather)

“I lived about 15 minutes away. I jumped in my car, and I remember coming off the exit of the highway and I could smell it. You could see the smoke and flames. Immediately, our employees started to show up. We all were standing in the parking lot next door, watching it all go.”

“The fire was just devastating,” adds Burns. “We were at rock bottom with the uncertainty of the situation. We were scared.” Burns says the fire couldn’t have happened at a worse time. “We were having our best year ever in 88 years and were excited to go into the holiday season…and then all of a sudden, we were all left in disbelief saying, what’s next?”

Burns, along with his company’s bookkeeper, Stacie Barbosa, recall a critical decision made a few years earlier that may have saved the business. “When I started at Burns Power Tools in 2020, we made a list of things to review to improve the company,” said Barbosa. Burns’ insurance policy was one of the items on that list.

It’s important to remember that this is not just an insurance policy. You’re understanding the people and the business behind the policy.
Bernard J. McDonald
VP, Commercial Lines
BayCoast Insurance

“We were up for renewal, and it had been a while since we had reviewed our coverage,” adds Burns. “We met with insurance agents, including (Bernard) B.J. McDonald from BayCoast Insurance,” continues Barbosa. “B.J. came in and really got to know who Burns Power Tools (was) and came back with a policy that fit. It just fit every area.”

Burns says that McDonald, a Vice President of Commercial Lines for BayCoast Insurance, was on vacation at the time of the fire, and contacted him right away. “B.J. reached out to explain our coverage again. He put my mind at ease a bit, so I could start putting the pieces together.”

Adds McDonald, “In order to protect them and provide the insurance solutions that they needed, we first had to understand the business, and what’s important to them…all of those things, if you don’t understand those, it’s difficult to match them up with an insurance product that best suits their needs.”

“I think in Zach’s situation,” continues McDonald, “they were looking for more personalized service. We meet annually, and being a local community insurance agency, we are constantly in contact. It’s important to remember that this is not just an insurance policy. You’re understanding the people and the business behind the policy.”

“Building a strong relationship with the customer is important. Earning their trust is important,” adds McDonald. “I am fortunate that Zach trusted me with protecting his business.”

“I have B.J.’s cell phone number and can call him anytime with questions. It’s just so nice to have that relationship at a commercial level,” adds Barbosa. “B.J. was there for us, and even came in to help us scan receipts for the insurance company…hundreds of receipts.”

Both Burns and Barbosa say BayCoast Insurance had their backs, especially as the holiday season approached. Thanks to the insurance coverage in place, the company’s employees could still collect their regular paychecks.

“Zach was able to keep the employees on payroll, which was huge because not only are you worried about inventory and rebuilding, but this was Zach’s family and his employees’ families,” said McDonald.

We are extremely grateful to BayCoast Insurance for allowing us to keep doing what we love.
Zach Burns
Burns Power Tools

Adds Barbosa, “It was nice to know that we were protected on the employee level with the insurance policy that BayCoast Insurance provided. I couldn’t imagine going through this journey without BayCoast Insurance. They helped us tremendously.”

Burns agrees and says he is thankful to have rebuilt his business with the help of BayCoast Insurance.

“We are extremely grateful to BayCoast Insurance for allowing us to keep doing what we love.”

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