It certainly took us a while to the factory, and it was a close run thing. We were fortunate to avoid the black days, and got some government assistance for a while, but in the end it was a combination of luck and resourcefulness.
Black July was a hell of a time. All the best places, were all the worst places. Everyone wanted to go to the hospital because of the odd plague, the police department for protection form the psychotic cannibals, or just leave town via the highways. Almost everyone who tried that ended up as the popcorn chicken at a reanimate buffet. Some tried to run to city schools or malls and hold up there. They didn't die as quickly. The wife and I being sick at the time sheltered in place at our home, and tried to wait out some of the panic.
Eventually the word got around that the real evacuation points were small town college campuses. You'd think the government would have planned on it being the hospitals, but in hindsight, this was a great idea. Plenty of space in unused classrooms, extra beds, cafeteria food service for large student bodies, young and able bodied volunteers in rural areas. Not a permanent solution though. After a few weeks of overcrowding and nothing but stale MREs, they tried to create "satellite campuses" to spread us out, and begin some farming to help ease supply concerns. This turned out to be rather hit or miss.
Some didn't like the enforced WPA aspect, others couldn't handle the prolonged stress and farming. Worse yet, the we still didn't know much about reanimates at the time, and how how they are somehow drawn to large populations and movements. Several of the new small settlements were attacked and overrun.
I narrowly escaped one of these fiascoes. Common sense dictated that my fellow survivors and I should make our way back to the main campus. But sense wasn't very common at that time. They couldn't hold the outposts, government personnel had been lost in the failed attempt to save it, and we didn't know if there was another army of the things on its way. Even if the main area held - overcrowded dorms, limited food supply, and rationed water wasn't very attractive. We didn't have a better plan than FEMA, but we were frighted and decided "anywhere but here" was the best place to be.
Apparently, the college did survive, by the way. We even get weekly mail delivery out this way as they re-establish communication and trade.
Well, a small group of us did the nomad thing for a while. Lost a few people, gained some more, not too practical about it at first. Managed to find a a national guard truck and some guns still in good condition - got a lot better after that. This went on for a few months, but was getting cold, and logistics were getting to be a problem. Wandering everywhere ate up gas, clearing buildings to search for supplies used bullets without replacement - sometimes even failed to provide anything useful. Open fires were beacons, and tents not warm enough.
A winter shelter was needed, whether we chose to settle down permanently or just for the season. Several places were surveyed - schools, libraries, old hotels, and the like. We came across this factory quite by accident, really. On a return from a scouting one of our first choice locations.
As you can tell from the fact we're still here and expanding - it was a great choice. Already had a sturdy security fence, brick walls, and high glass block windows out of reanimate reach. Doors and partitions let us securely sweep it bit by bit, and would help contain invaders. There was room for our stuff, loading docks to make transferring supplies safe, and small offices that could be easily heated. The indoor hydroponics system came much later. But for the dark winter, it was a true fortress, and that is what mattered.