With in-person events springing back to life, Party Perfect has added some extra firepower.
The event supply rental company bought local competitor Prop Shop Party Rentals for an undisclosed sum. The deal closed Tuesday.
After a year in which live events were largely out of the question, Party Perfect owner Nelson Parker said the acquisition comes in part as an answer to an employee shortage as business heats up again.
“It has come roaring back in the last six weeks. We have too much business and we can’t handle it,” Parker said. “(The acquisition) was advantageous for us because we were able to get labor included with this deal.”
The acquisition brings at least three more employees, including Prop Shop owner Tom Coover, into the ranks of Party Perfect. The combined company now has 17 employees, up from a pandemic low of seven workers and close to the pre-pandemic headcount of 23.
Party Perfect also added a 16-foot box truck, its second such vehicle, as well as tents, tables and related items to its inventory as part of the deal. Parker described the haul as a small boost to the company’s existing inventory of equipment and supplies that it rents out for events.
Party Perfect’s fleet also includes four 26-foot box trucks and other vehicles.
The company is based in 26,000 square feet of space at 2400 Magnolia Court in the Magnolia Industrial Center near Highland Park. It recently relocated there from Scott’s Addition.
Parker plans to vacate the Prop Shop’s space at 1512 Belleville St. by July to consolidate operations. The Scott’s Addition warehouse is owned by John Freeland and will be razed to make way for a 126-unit apartment complex.
Though Parker floated the idea of buying Prop Shop late last year, initial talks came to a dead end only to pick back up recently as it became more clear Party Perfect needed a few more hands.
Party Perfect and Prop Shop had been working together prior to the acquisition. The Prop Shop officially closed in late May.
In the last year, in-person gatherings ranged from the impossible to the unusually challenging due to pandemic-related restrictions, which dried up revenue for companies in the business of setting up tents and chairs. Parker said that he did $300,000 in business in May 2019, and only about $3,000 in May 2020.
“The pandemic hit and obviously it hurt everybody in our industry because we’re in the people-gathering business and a pandemic doesn’t suit that well. Things really went down the tubes quick,” Parker said.
Party Perfect stayed afloat with federal aid and worked with film crews, restaurants and other users in need of tents.
Other local events companies found similar creative ways to keep the doors open over the last year. RMC Events switched to staffing up virus screening stations and vaccination sites.
And some didn’t make it through the pandemic, such as Henrico-based convention supply company Exhibits Inc., which went into bankruptcy and then had most of its assets acquired by a Connecticut company.
Great article and congratulations to Party Perfect for “staying the course” and persevering during the pandemic! This is how legends are made.