With this season’s rainfall in Los Angeles threatening to break a 121-year-old record, the party rental industry in the area has managed to stay afloat, despite the challenges brought by soaked sites and snarled traffic.
Because his company looks at events from “the client’s point of view,” explains Michael Miner, vice president of sales and marketing for Culver City, Calif.-based Classic Party Rentals (www.classicpartyrentals.com), “rain is never a positive.” However, the company lost no business due to the storms, “but it certainly made some event installations more difficult,” Miner notes.
The rental companies took L.A.’s traffic congestion—which can be a nightmare in fair weather—in stride. “We had some traffic [delays] in the Hollywood Hills,” notes Jim Sala, vice president with Torrance, Calif.-based Aztec Tents & Events (www.aztectent.com). “But other than that we did not experience much as far as road closures.”
The rental operators also said that their crews stayed safe through the storms.
Proving the rain clouds brought a silver lining, many of the rental operators contacted by Special Events’ Eventline said the rain boosted their tent business.
“We added a lot of additional tents, from the Palm Springs area through Santa Barbara and south to San Diego,” Sala notes. His company also picked up business from the organizers of the Academy Awards, skittish that rain might mar the ceremony on Feb. 27. (It didn’t.)
Randy Berg, one of the owners of Santa Ana, Calif.-based Signature Party Rentals (www.signatureparty.com), agrees. “For every event cancellation, we added a tent,” he notes. “So we probably made out a bit better” than usual this season.
Tougher than dealing with the cloudbursts, the operators say, was meeting customer expectations. Even with rainfall three times normal pelting their parties, “Clients can be unrealistic,” Berg says.
Sala agrees. “Many expect that we have crews just sitting and waiting for their call,” he says. But, “Once you get the customer settled down and determine exactly what they want and when they really need it, we can make it work.”