Special Events

THE VIEW FROM THE TOP

Although some markets have slowed, the party goes on for most full-line party rental operations.

Taken as a whole, the 25 companies profiled here should show an 11 percent increase in rental revenue over 2000. All told, they expect to bring in nearly $295 million in rental business this year.

In the face of drastic staffing cutbacks in some industries, the top party rental operators report a net gain of 4.5 percent in staff levels.

Not all operations are reeling in business. Outlets in regions battered by the high-tech slump are hurting. But dedication to stocking cutting-edge inventory and a renewed commitment to customer service mean that party rental has plenty to celebrate.

ABBEY EVENT SERVICES

ABBEY PARTY RENTS

BROADWAY FAMOUS PARTY RENTALS

COMPANY

HEADQUARTERS

ESTIMATED 2001 RENTAL VOLUME (in millions)

CHANGE FROM 2000

RANKING IN 2000

Classic Party Rentals

Culver City, Calif.

$31

19%

1

Regal Rents El Segundo, Calif. $25 plus n/a 4

Party Rental Ltd.

Teterboro, N.J.

$25 Special Events Magazine estimate*

n/a

2

Broadway Famous Party Rentals Brooklyn, N.Y. $19 plus -5% 3

Kirby Rental Service

Orlando, Fla.

$14.75

5%

6

Abbey Event Services** Rancho Dominguez, Calif. $14.5 10% 8

Stamford Tent and Party Rental

Stamford, Conn.

$14.5

7%

7

Ducky-Bob's Party & Tent Rentals** Carrollton, Texas $13 no change 9

Hall's Rental Service

Niles, Ill.

$12.5 plus

4%

10

HSS RentX Special Events Denver $12-13 Special Events Magazine estimate* n/a 5

Raphael's Party Rentals

San Diego

$11 Special Events Magazine estimate*

n/a

11

TriServe — The Party Rental Co. New York $10 plus n/a n/a

Chicago Party Rental

Countryside, Ill.

$8.75

9%

13

Party Time Rental Denver $8.5 Special Events Magazine estimate* n/a 12

Rent-Rite West

Denver

$8

1%

15

Panache Party Rentals Pompano Beach, Fla. $7-8 Special Events Magazine estimate* n/a 18

Tri-Rentals

Phoenix

$7-8 Special Events Magazine estimate*

n/a

14

Karl's Party Rental Oak Creek, Wis. $7.1 18% 20

DC Rental

Arlington, Va.

$6.5

8%

19

L.A. Party Rents Van Nuys, Calif. $6.5 -7% 16

Abbey Party Rents

Dallas

$6.2

-4.5%

17

Butler Rents Denver $6 20% 23

Chair-Man Mills

Toronto

$6

9%

n/a

Select Event Rentals Beltsville, Md. $6 20% 21

M&M The Special Events Co.

Carol Stream, Ill.

$5.5

10%

24

NOTES:

* All statistics are supplied by the companies interviewed unless otherwise noted. Special Events Magazine figures are estimates based on interviews by staff, industry experts and economic research. While every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and thoroughness, omissions and errors sometimes occur. All figures are in U.S. dollars.

** These operations are owned by Stellar Event & Presentation Resources, Houston; when its five party rental operations are taken together, Stellar's estimated 2001 party rental revenue should total roughly $39.5 million.



parent company: Stellar Event & Presentation Resources

Rancho Dominguez, Calif.

TOP OFFICER: Martin Hubbard

PHONE: 310/900-0099

BUTLER RENTS

WEB SITE: www.abbeyrents.com

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 250

NUMBER OF LOCATIONS: 3

COMPANY BASICS: Locations in Burbank, Rancho Dominguez and Orange County, Calif.

CURRENT EVENTS: Upcoming projects include festivals for UCLA and UC Irvine, parties for Sony Pictures Studio and Universal Studios, and the Susan G. Komen Orange County (Calif.) Race for the Cure.

POPULAR ITEMS: A 140-by-300-foot truss structure is a big hit with renters.

TRENDS, FORECASTS, PREDICTIONS: “Consolidation, cost-cutting, the economic slowdown and pricing pressure” will keep the heat on the business, company officials say.

Dallas

TOP OFFICER: John Jakob

PHONE: 214/350-5373

CHAIR-MAN MILLS

WEB SITE: www.abbeyparty.com

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 60

NUMBER OF LOCATIONS: 3

COMPANY BASICS: Locations in Dallas and Arlington, Texas; also owns Props of Texas, Dallas, an 80,000-square-foot prop house. At press time, plans are in the works for the debut of Abbey's Attic in Dallas, which will offer surplus antiques from party rental for sale to the public.

CURRENT EVENTS: Cattle Baron's Ball, benefiting the American Cancer Society.

POPULAR ITEMS: “Global items with an Asian accent,” Jakob says, along with plays on the “Survivor” theme and stretch spandex.

TRENDS, FORECASTS, PREDICTIONS: Business in 2000 was “so phenomenal” that a falloff was to be expected, company officials note. Events this year show smaller attendance and fewer corporate sponsors, so flexibility is key. “The business has changed,” they add.

Brooklyn, N.Y.

TOP OFFICER: Stan Skriloff

PHONE: 718/821-4000

CHICAGO PARTY RENTAL

WEB SITE: www.broadwayfamous.com

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 135-150 (seasonal)

NUMBER OF LOCATIONS: 1

COMPANY BASICS: Imports bulk of its inventory of high-end items. Company recently spent $500,000 for a commercial laundry and a computer system.

CURRENT EVENTS: Serving events from 1,200 to 3,000 guests “all the time,” management says, in the New York/New Jersey/Connecticut area.

POPULAR ITEMS: Clients demand geometric shapes in plates and glassware, and high-end stainless steel rather than silver plate. “People want something different and plainer,” company officials say.

TRENDS, FORECASTS, PREDICTIONS: Although many professionals in the market complain about business doldrums, “We've increased our market share by doing a better job than the competition; this is a service business,” management says.

Denver

TOP OFFICER: Barry Reynolds

CLASSIC PARTY RENTALS

PHONE: 303/388-5971

WEB SITE: www.butlerrents.com

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 75-125 (seasonal)

NUMBER OF LOCATIONS: 2

COMPANY BASICS: Locations in Denver and Glenwood Springs, Colo. Company officials point with pride to more than 80,000 square feet of storage and warehouse space, tent planning and design services, and 24-hour emergency service.

CURRENT EVENTS: Jazz Fest, Winter X-Games and 2002 Aspen Food & Wine Classic.

POPULAR ITEMS: Event carpeting and custom floors.

TRENDS, FORECASTS, PREDICTIONS: Both corporate and private events are becoming more “budget conscious,” company officials say.

Toronto

DC RENTAL

TOP OFFICER: Mary Crothers

PHONE: 416/391-0400

WEB SITE: www.chairmanmills.com

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 60-100 (seasonal)

NUMBER OF LOCATIONS: 1

COMPANY BASICS: A Toronto fixture since 1911.

CURRENT EVENTS: Rogers AT&T Cup, Toronto International Film Festival, World Leaders Conference and Sunnybrook Hospital Rose Ball.

POPULAR ITEMS: Square shapes with clean lines and “slick” tabletops. In linen, Chair-man Mills is starting to feel the influence of the movie “Moulin Rouge.”

TRENDS, FORECASTS, PREDICTIONS: Management singles out the importance of venues, the emergence of large sporting events, and the trend toward the “client [becoming] more involved with the rental company, influencing purchasing more and more.”

Countryside, Ill.

DUCKY-BOB'S PARTY & TENT RENTALS

TOP OFFICER: Ben Shipper III

PHONE: 800/322-5868

WEB SITE: www.chicagopartyrental.com

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 110

NUMBER OF LOCATIONS: 1

COMPANY BASICS: CPR will celebrate its 35th anniversary in 2002.

POPULAR ITEMS: Unique serving pieces for creative food displays. “We also see a return to simple luxury using basic white rim china with crystal,” company officials say.

TRENDS, FORECASTS, PREDICTIONS: “With the slowing economy, rental companies who offer competitive pricing while maintaining quality will continue to be successful.”

Culver City, Calif.

HALL'S RENTAL SERVICE

TOP OFFICER: John Moran

PHONE: 310/202-0011

WEB SITE: www.classicpartyrentals.com

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 450

NUMBER OF LOCATIONS: 5

COMPANY BASICS: Five locations in California: Los Angeles, San Diego, Palm Desert, Encinitas and the newly acquired Ascot Party Rentals in the San Francisco Bay area. Ascot, which inventories more than 300 specialty linen patterns, will change its name to Classic this month.

POPULAR ITEMS: “Anything square” is hot, management says.

TRENDS, FORECASTS, PREDICTIONS: “Somehow, some day, the ROI for corporate events will be properly quantified and qualified,” Moran says. “This will be awesome for the special events industry.”

Arlington, Va.

HSS RENTX SPECIAL EVENTS

TOP OFFICER: Joe Valente

PHONE: 703/671-7300

WEB SITE: www.dcrental.com

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 130

NUMBER OF LOCATIONS: 1

COMPANY BASICS: A standout in the Washington metro area since 1986.

CURRENT EVENTS: Kennedy Center Honors Gala.

POPULAR ITEMS: Square and uniquely shaped plates, Murano glass, silk linens and fabrics with exotic textures.

TRENDS, FORECASTS, PREDICTIONS: “Our clients are on top of new trends and want to see the latest styles and ideas,” Valente notes. “It's all about having up-dated inventories with unique equipment to keep both clients and rental companies excited.”

parent company: Stellar Event & Presentation Resources

KARL'S PARTY RENTAL

Carrollton, Texas

TOP OFFICER: Bick Jones

PHONE: 972/381-8000

WEB SITE: www.duckybobs.com

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 140

NUMBER OF LOCATIONS: 2

COMPANY BASICS: Operations in Fort Worth and Carrollton, Texas. The company's new name (formerly Ducky-Bob's Cannonball Party Rentals) highlights its tent offerings.

POPULAR ITEMS: Upscale items such as white chiavari chairs and the Elegance china pattern, with a gold and platinum etched border.

Niles, Ill.

KIRBY RENTAL SERVICE

TOP OFFICERS: Jack and Tom Luft

PHONE: 847/929-2222

WEB SITE: www.hallsrental.com

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 150

NUMBER OF LOCATIONS: 1

CURRENT EVENTS: Chicago Symphony Orchestra opening night gala, Nordstrom opening in Columbus, Ohio.

POPULAR ITEMS: Contemporary, sleek stainless steel flatware plus frosted plates “in all shapes and sizes,” management says.

TRENDS, FORECASTS, PREDICTIONS: “After a relatively quiet first half of the year, we see corporate and social business very strong from August through December,” Hall's says.

Denver

TOP OFFICERS: Lister Fielding, president; Carlo Cavecchi, CEO

L.A. PARTY RENTS

PHONE: 303/512-2000

WEB SITE: www.rentx.com

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 120-150 (seasonal)

NUMBER OF LOCATIONS: 7

COMPANY BASICS: British-based HSS, with more than 500 rental locations in seven countries, has purchased the American RentX chain from Saint-Gobain SA of France. RentX comprises 74 equipment and special event rental operations in 13 states. The special event outlets operate in Georgia, Michigan, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

CURRENT EVENTS: Colonial Cup Steeplechase, Camden, S.C.; South Carolina Foothills Fall Festival.

POPULAR ITEMS: European styles and brands are popular, company officials say, along with contemporary chrome furniture and “fully integrated” themed events, down to the statuary and plants.

TRENDS, FORECASTS, PREDICTIONS: “We see a growing demand for large, catered events across the spectrum, both formal and casual in nature, and an increased interest in unique and creative themes,” company representatives say. “The professional special event rental company is now viewed as an important partner in the overall success of the event, from initial consultation, planning and design to product and service fulfillment. Consequently, overall product range and employee training have skyrocketed in significance.”

Oak Creek, Wis.

M&M THE SPECIAL EVENTS CO.

TOP OFFICER: Karl J. Schlueter

PHONE: 414/831-7000

WEB SITE: www.karls.com

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 135

NUMBER OF LOCATIONS: 1

COMPANY BASICS: Locally owned since 1969, offering more than 15,000 chairs, 3,000 tables and 160,000 square feet of tenting.

CURRENT EVENTS: 2002 Major League Baseball All-Star Game plus plenty of holiday events.

POPULAR ITEMS: Genesis tents to 100-by-400 feet and linens — “especially creative overlays and chair covers, and all quality, upper-end items.”

Orlando, Fla.

TOP OFFICERS: Paul Weidner, vice president; Jim “Smitty” Smith, general manager

PANACHE PARTY RENTALS

PHONE: 407/422-1001

WEB SITE: www.kirbytent.com

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 185

NUMBER OF LOCATIONS: 3

COMPANY BASICS: Locations in Jacksonville, Orlando and Ormond Beach, Fla.

CURRENT EVENTS: Local business is “great,” company officials say, with events for Walt Disney World, SeaWorld, Universal Studios and NASCAR.

POPULAR ITEMS: Specialty linen coordinated with swagging in tents.

TRENDS, FORECASTS, PREDICTIONS: Kirby management predicts that small, marginal companies will disappear, the big buyouts will be reconsidered and “hardworking, honest, diligent players are emerging.”

Van Nuys, Calif.

PARTY RENTAL LTD.

TOP OFFICER: Jerry Nehus

PHONE: 310/785-0000, 818/989-4300

WEB SITE: www.lapartyrents.com

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 125

NUMBER OF LOCATIONS: 1

COMPANY BASICS: Company just won the Zagat Survey Award of Distinction.

CURRENT EVENTS: Breeders' Cup, Fire & Ice Ball, Golden Globe Awards.

POPULAR ITEMS: Square china and tables, brocade linens and “anything copper.”

Carol Stream, Ill.

PARTY TIME RENTAL

TOP OFFICER: Mike Berk

PHONE: 630/871-9999

WEB SITE: www.mmspecialevents.com

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 70

NUMBER OF LOCATIONS: 4

COMPANY BASICS: M&M bears a new name, changed from “M&M Party Planning.”

CURRENT EVENTS: Management is looking forward to Chicago's fund-raising season and accompanying galas.

POPULAR ITEMS: Designer table linens and European 18/10 flatware.

RAPHAEL'S PARTY RENTALS

TRENDS, FORECASTS, PREDICTIONS: Sluggish corporate business may not recover until the fourth quarter of this year or first quarter of 2002, company officials predict. But social events stay strong as do fund-raisers, which must compete aggressively for shrinking donations.

Pompano Beach, Fla.

TOP OFFICERS: Kelly Murphy and Bob DeFriest

PHONE: 954/781-5335

WEB SITE: www.linenswithpanache.com

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 115

NUMBER OF LOCATIONS: 3

COMPANY BASICS: Offices in Pompano Beach, Naples and Orlando, Fla.

POPULAR ITEMS: Charger plates, sheers, silks and hand-painted linens.

REGAL RENTS

TRENDS, FORECASTS, PREDICTIONS: “Extreme themes are fading,” company officials say. What's next: “Eclectic looks” and “sensory themes.”

Teterboro, N.J.

TOP OFFICERS: Mike and Sunny Halperin

PHONE: 888/774-4776

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 150-300 (seasonal, estimated)

NUMBER OF LOCATIONS: 5

COMPANY BASICS: Locations in New York (Manhattan and the Hamptons), New Jersey, Washington and Philadelphia.

CURRENT EVENTS: U.S. Open tennis championship, Bloomberg company picnic.

POPULAR ITEMS: Bringing fresh looks in linen to the market is key; “They have the biggest effect on the look of the event,” according to executive director of sales Jim McManus.

TRENDS, FORECASTS, PREDICTIONS: The company's diversified base has sheltered it from the corporate doldrums of New York City. The upcoming holiday season “will be telling” in regard to what the economy holds for special events in 2002, McManus says.

RENT-RITE WEST

Denver

TOP OFFICER: John Taitt

PHONE: 303/935-4545

WEB SITE: www.partytimerental.com

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 100 (estimated)

NUMBER OF LOCATIONS: 3

COMPANY BASICS: Locations in Denver, Colorado Springs, Colo., and Las Vegas.

POPULAR ITEMS: Company stresses variety in linen, china, and table and chair styles.

San Diego

SELECT EVENT RENTALS

TOP OFFICER: Raphael Silverman

PHONE: 858/689-7368

WEB SITE: www.raphaelspartyrentals.com

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 150

NUMBER OF LOCATIONS: 2

COMPANY BASICS: Locations in San Diego and La Costa, Calif. Services include tenting, sound and lighting, power distribution, linens, table settings and specialty items.

POPULAR ITEMS: Floor-length and patterned linen, themed events and high-end chairs are making news, company officials say.

TRENDS, FORECASTS, PREDICTIONS: “Texture” and natural colors are the next big trends, Raphael's predicts.

El Segundo, Calif.

TOP OFFICER: Michael Stern

STAMFORD TENT AND PARTY RENTAL

PHONE: 310/535-3660

WEB SITE: www.regalrents.com

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 400 plus

NUMBER OF LOCATIONS: 3

COMPANY BASICS: Locations in Los Angeles, Santa Ana and Santa Barbara, Calif.

CURRENT EVENTS: High-profile projects include the Emmy Awards, and Macy's Passport and Wolfgang Puck's Meals on Wheels fund-raisers.

POPULAR ITEMS: Century steel chairs, Tuscan chiavaris, Delano contemporary glassware, sisal floor covering and square tables.

TRENDS, FORECASTS, PREDICTIONS: Clean, contemporary lines and muted colors will define the look of special events, Regal management says.

Denver

TOP OFFICER: Tom Wright

TRI-RENTALS

PHONE: 303/399-9947

WEB SITE: www.thewrightgroupnow.com

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 60

NUMBER OF LOCATIONS: 5

COMPANY BASICS: Locations in Denver, Tucson, Ariz., Las Vegas, Fort Pierce, Fla., and Regina, Saskatchewan.

CURRENT EVENTS: Now at work on the Superstore in Park City, Utah, for the 2002 Olympics — a 100-by-255-foot tent with custom flooring, roll-up doors and a custom tension-wing portico.

TRENDS, FORECASTS, PREDICTIONS: Company is at work marketing its own line of fabric structures.

Beltsville, Md.

TRISERVE — THE PARTY RENTAL CO.

TOP OFFICER: Martin J. Ortenzio

PHONE: 301/937-7600

WEB SITE: www.weparty.com

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 95

NUMBER OF LOCATIONS: 2

COMPANY BASICS: New owner Select Rental Corp. has taken over the former Wheaton Party Rentals, and company management promises more acquisitions to build its brand. Now with operations in two locations, serving Washington and Baltimore.

CURRENT EVENTS: A celebrity gala at the Russian embassy.

POPULAR ITEMS: Company officials point to unusual, signature items such as large, square tables, colored glassware and metallic, sheer tablecloths.

TRENDS, FORECASTS, PREDICTIONS: “Increasing demands for quality, service and selection,” management says.

Stamford, Conn.

TOP OFFICER: Stephen Frost

PHONE: 203/324-6222

WEB SITE: www.stamfordtent.com

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 250

NUMBER OF LOCATIONS: 1

COMPANY BASICS: A fixture in the industry since 1953.

CURRENT EVENTS: “Lots of private social events” keep the Stamford crew busy. At press time, the company is busy prepping the New Jersey Governor's Ball, a seated dinner for 4,000.

POPULAR ITEMS: Custom projects, clear-span tents.

TRENDS, FORECASTS, PREDICTIONS: A better educated consumer is making the business more competitive, management notes, and predicts flat growth for the next 18 to 24 months.

Phoenix

TOP OFFICER: Ralph Stern

PHONE: 602/232-9900

WEB SITE: www.trirentals.com

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 150-200 (seasonal)

NUMBER OF LOCATIONS: 2

COMPANY BASICS: Locations in Phoenix and Albuquerque, N.M.

POPULAR ITEMS: Company stresses its commitment to quality control and on-site event professionals.

New York

TOP OFFICERS: John Dawson, Raymond Duffy, Lance York

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