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Rental show debuts in Las Vegas

Rental show debuts in Las Vegas

The leaders of party and event rental companies told Special Events Magazine that they are optimistic about the business they are booking for 2005. The magazine spoke with operators from throughout the world at the American Rental Association’s annual trade show, now in Las Vegas.

Michael Berman, president and CEO of Milpitas, Calif.-based Stuart Rental Co. (, pointed to a brightening business picture. “The second quarter is looking pretty strong,” he noted.

Vilmarie Calderon, vice president of the five-unit Party Line group ( headquartered in Caguas, Puerto Rico, said her business outlook is “fine” for 2005.

Other operators note the emergence of a long-awaited boost in corporate business. It’s “finally coming back,” said J.P. Fritz, owner of Lasting Impressions Event Rentals of Columbus, Ohio, since the slump started in 2000. Thanks to corporate holiday party business, his December revenue was up 40 percent over the year prior, he said.

Will Holditch, operations manger with Austin, Texas-based Austin RentAll Party (, agreed. “Social business kept us alive since 9/11,” he reported. “But the resurgence of the midweek corporate business is all bottom-line money.” He credited the appeal of his company’s broad, high-quality inventory with helping attract clients. “Nothing we have is more than three years old,” he said.

Of course, the event business is still subject to the whims of the local weather. When asked how his 2005 is shaping up, Charlie Feldbaum, head of Apres Party & Tent Rental ( in chilly Minneapolis, said, "Ask me again in May." But he added that he “has a lot on the books” for the warmer months.

ARA’s Rental Show runs through tomorrow at the Mandalay Bay Conference Center in Las Vegas.

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