Editorial: March 2014
It is party time again here at Canadian Rental Service. No, that does not mean you are all invited to hang out in my hotel room until five in the morning (I’m looking at you, Colin Wilson).
By Patrick Flannery
It is party time again here at Canadian Rental Service. No, that does not mean you are all invited to hang out in my hotel room until five in the morning (I’m looking at you, Colin Wilson). It means this is our annual party and event issue celebrating everyone in our industry who rents tents, popcorn makers, tables, chairs, linens and all the incredible myriad of things people need to put on weddings, conferences and other special events. It is a great field for rental, and I think we have assembled some excellent content to serve this group. On page 20 Chad Struthers of Warner Shelter Systems gives us his guidelines for safe tent erection. Erik Gerlof of Rogers Rental chimes in with a ringing call to action for event rental operators on page 16. Of course, there is our roundup of the latest and greatest party rental products on page 32. And our cover profile on Bel-Ayre Rentals takes us inside the operation of a Brazilian-born rental store owner who brought a Hollywood feel to Winnipeg and has become a pillar of that city’s festival season.
If you want to talk about innovation and creative new business approaches, there is a lot more going on in the party and event sector these days than there is on the equipment rental side. Stores across the country are finding that just serving as a warehouse for tables and chairs doesn’t cut it any more and they are scrambling to update their offerings with ever-more sophisticated event planning services. Designing centrepieces and room decor is just the beginning. Event rental stores are being called on to come up with exotic lighting, custom-built tents, exciting video displays and unusual cooking options. Everyone seems to be experimenting with different ways to serve event sites better, from careful logistics in deliveries to 101 ways to put a portable toilet on a trailer. And the operations are getting bigger, especially in the West. It is a great time to be doing corporate events in Alberta, and the party rental houses there are buying each other and jumping into vacant niches seemingly daily. There are so many new products for event rental entering the market at all times, frankly, I wonder how store owners ever decide what to stock.
The Canadian Rental Mart has seen a nice uptick in event product exhibitors for the 2014 edition, which is a trend we hope continues and strengthens. Party store owners are disproportionately involved with the Canadian Rental Association and seem eager to come together to work as an industry. They are very social and love events – go figure. But participation by event product suppliers at trade shows has sometimes been disappointing. I see no reason why, someday, the Rental Mart would not boast a large section set aside exclusively for party rentals the way the ARA’s Rental Show does.
Speaking of the Rental Mart, CRA Ontario has come up with a terrific way for event rental stores to participate in its banquet. The CRA Ontario banquet will feature a table decorating contest, with each entrant challenged to come up with the most creative design for a table at the evening dinner. Banquet attendees will vote for the winner. What a great way for party stores to show off what they can do, have some fun doing it and help make the CRA Ontario banquet a feast for the eyes as well as the palate. Kudos to the board for this fresh idea.