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Q&A with Classic's John Campanelli

The event rental industry is abuzz at the news that a former printing executive -- John C. Campanelli -- took over the reins last week as president and CEO of party rental powerhouse Classic Party Rentals. He replaces John Moran, who ran an aggressive acquisition program that saw the company grow from four outlets four years ago to nearly triple that today, with revenues expected to top $85 million this year, highlighted by the acquisition of rival Regal Rents in July. Special Events Magazine spoke with Campanelli last week:

SE: You have spent your career in the printing industry, and event rental is new to you. What attracted you to this industry and to Classic?
Campanelli: It was a number of things. I was looking at different opportunities and the market in event rental, especially in southern California, looks good for a variety of reasons. It's not that seasonal, and seems to be growing year over year. The printing industry is a very service-oriented business, so it meets that qualification of party rental. I was looking for a company that had the brand and a great reputation as the predominant player in its field. I think the Classic acquisition of Regal Rents solidified that position.

SE: Classic has had an aggressive expansion program in last few years -- will that continue?
JC: We will continue to look at opportunities in geographies we serve, and also outside of that. Growth is important, not only to improve our market share in market we already serve, but in new markets as well. [The July acquisition of TriRentals means] getting into Phoenix and Albuquerque, which are exciting new directions.

SE: Do you foresee making any changes in the way Classic operates?
JC: At this point, I want to better understand how the company runs. In the short term, I really think the focus is making sure that in Los Angeles in particular, with Classic and Regal together, we continue to examine the best ways to run these operations. I want to get around to all the sites and understand firsthand how the different companies operate before we change what we are doing. This company is highly successful with a good reputation; I want to meet more people--clients especially--before making a change in what we are doing. One of the reasons the company is the leader in their market is because of the employees. The knowledge and skills of people that we have are a tremendous asset for our company and our clients.

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