Citing a “litany” of economic setbacks, the founder of Atlanta’s event production company Aspen Productions and DMC Absolutely Atlanta announced Oct. 1 that the sister companies would close their doors. Phelps R. Hope, CMP, DMCP, founded Aspen Productions in 1993 and Absolutely Atlanta three years later. The operations comprise some 20 employees.
Hope told Special Events Magazine that the slowdown in corporate business after 9/11 followed by the Enron and WorldCom debacles, the run-up to the war in Iraq, and SARS outbreaks proved to be more than his companies could weather.
“Our decision at Aspen after 9/11 was to keep our team intact and not lay people off,” Hope said. However, company resources dwindled as the anticipated bounce in business never came, he noted.
Hope said he is not planning to file for bankruptcy and is instead liquidating assets. He is turning active accounts over to those of his team who have decided to start freelancing, and in some cases is referring clients directly to his vendors. “My priorities are my employees first, then clients and then our vendor partners,” he said. A Gala Award nominee, Aspen has been honored by the state of Georgia for its outstanding business ethics.
Hope said he is considering a move to the client side: “I love the business, and I may take a break from running a business.” He believes that changes in the event industry signal that “the big one-stop shop is no longer what’s needed. Everyone is so proficient on the Internet and has the ability to pull in freelance teams, so a small, three-man shop is the future of the industry.”
Hope can be reached at 678/428-7600.