Larry Green, head of Rentals Unlimited, knows what his catering clients need. He should. Before he launched his rental company, he was a caterer — for a whopping 32 years.
Green never intended to wind up here. Instead, he was in college studying accounting in 1967 when a local function hall came up for sale.
“My brother was in the deli business, and my dad asked if I was interested in going partners with my brother in the catering business,” Green recalls. “I was just starting my junior year in college, but said ‘sure.’ And there it all began — with Green Manor Catering on Lake Massapoag in Sharon, Mass.”
What was it like to be a budding business mogul? Green was working too hard to recall.
“It was 100-hour weeks while I was still finishing my bachelor of science in accounting,” Green says.
At that time, no one foresaw a business devoted to special events. In 1967, the industry “was really just in its infancy,” Green says. “I'm not even sure if polyester was invented yet!”
How things would change. “Over the next two decades,” Green says, “the industry exploded — and has not stopped.”
During his years with Green Manor, Green kept a watchful eye on the burgeoning world of special events. “I kept catering through the '80s and '90s but always knew that someday I would transition to rentals.”
That day came in 1999. Armed with his arsenal of tables, chairs, place settings and basic linens that his fledgling Rentals Unlimited subsidiary had been providing to clients of parent company Green Manor, Green made the leap. He sold Green Manor and turned his full attention to making Rentals Unlimited “the premier special event rental source in New England,” he says.
A fixture on the Special Events “30 Top Event Rental Companies” list, Rentals Unlimited now employs just over 200 staffers and services more than 2,000 events a year.
Green's catering days taught lessons that have served him well. “Be slow to promise and quick to perform,” he says. “In the event world, it is so easy to say ‘yes’ to everything a client wants. But sometimes we need to think about client requests, evaluate them and decide if they are financially sound decisions,” he advises.
To many in the special event business, Green is known not only for his rental business but also for his philanthropy. He has sat on the board of more than 30 charitable organizations and has served repeatedly as the treasurer of the SEARCH Foundation, the one charity devoted solely to the welfare of special event professionals in need.
“Giving back is important to me,” he says. And while he spreads his largesse around, “SEARCH, there to assist event professionals, has been most near and dear to my heart. I truly hope that by giving back through all these organizations, I can leave this world a little better than when I came into it.”
Rentals Unlimited 31-45 Tosca Dr., Stoughton, MA 02072; 781/341-1600; www.rentals-unlimited.net
WHEN I GROW UP …
“First off, I never want to grow up. I like being a kid! I always had a passion for business. It's a little-known secret, but I considered being a rabbi at one time — in my early high school years. I never had a clue I would wind up in the special events industry.”
IT'S WHO YOU KNOW
When launching Rentals Unlimited, “My 32 years in catering gave me a ton of contacts. We grew tenfold in 10 years.”
THE GOOD, THE BAD
“My expertise is entrepreneurship while my weakness is artistic creativity. So I surround myself with visionaries who understand the creative world. I love the challenges that business brings, but truly cannot put two colors together that will match.”
WORK AND PLAY
“I have met so many wonderful people throughout the years at The Special Event shows. Many have become my best friends.”
“The best thing in the special events industry is that it is boundless and limitless. You can dream it, and we can make it happen!”