IT'S ALWAYS FUN to work on this annual issue. Top party rental operators give us insiders' insights into the sleekest shapes and coolest colors for 2001. For a preview of the products that will make brides beam and CEOs smile, turn to our cover story on page 37.
While I enjoyed hearing about the sake sets and square plates that will grace trendy tabletops, I was struck by a recurring theme: the push from party rental operators to build effective, efficient systems for delivering products to the client.
New warehouse/showroom facilities should begin operations this month for Unique Tabletop Rentals of Bellflower, Calif., and Event Source of Cleveland, and March 1 for the newly formed Tri Serv Party Rentals of New York. Mark Clawson, president and chairman of Salt Lake City-based Diamond Party Special Event Rentals, praises his company's new 30,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility, set up by the firm's former owners: "We have enough room to be really efficient; we're poised for growth. In the old, cramped facility, that would have been really difficult."
Being fashionable is fine, but a special event business succeeds only when it has systems in place to get the job done. David S. Painter of Chantilly Event Rentals, Chantilly, Va., explains, "Most of our growth [in 2000] came not from a growing market but from increased efficiencies in our operations department, which allowed us to do more jobs." As Clawson says, "It's execution of what we promise our customers."
At Special Events Magazine, it's our job to keep you abreast of innovative products. But it's just as much our job to help you use them properly. That's why we include in this issue an article less glamorous but just as important - our food safety feature.
I worked for a major restaurant association for many years and saw firsthand how devastating food-borne illness can be. Simple ignorance is almost always the culprit. And despite good intentions, prompt action and lots of money spent on medical care and PR, the fallout can be a failed business.
Food is almost always part of special events, and special events are serious fun. Turn to page 32 for details and a food safety checklist to keep your guests' spirits high and their health safe.