Bob Page is someone who knows just how much good can come from an ill wind. Also from tornados, floods, and earthquakes. His company, Replacements Ltd., in Greensboro, N.C., is probably the world's largest supplier of discontinued china and crystal, and he's found that disasters are very, very good for business. "A couple of weeks after a major earthquake, we start to get lots of calls from California," says Page.

He stresses, however, that disaster-induced sales are not a major contributor to revenues. Nor does Replacements need them to survive. Still, you never know. "From time to time, we buy lists of people in earthquake zones," says Page. "The response rate makes it worthwhile."

-- Paul B. Brown

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