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updated: 5/21/2020 5:31 PM

Tent rental business waiting for parties to start as restictions ease

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  • Tracey and Michael Armenakis are the owners of Party Plus Events in Palatine, a tent rental and party supply store that is waiting to reopen after being closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Tracey and Michael Armenakis are the owners of Party Plus Events in Palatine, a tent rental and party supply store that is waiting to reopen after being closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
    Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

 
 

Summer is the busiest time of year for party supply rentals, but as June approaches Party Plus Events in Palatine is closed and waiting for COVID-19 restrictions to ease.

Graduations, weddings, baptisms and corporate parties are normally core events for a business that rents big tents, tables and chairs, place settings, moon walks and karaoke machines. But those events have been canceled or postponed because of the pandemic and restrictions on large gatherings.

Michael and Tracey Armenakis are the owners of Party Plus Events, which started in 1980 as a Taylor Rental franchise run by Michael and his late father, Thomas. Originally in Wheeling, it rented tools and equipment, as well as party supplies.

Two moves and 40 years later, Party Plus Events now rents party supplies exclusively. The business stopped renting tools and equipment nearly two decades ago and amicably ended its franchise with Taylor Rental, which is part of True Value Hardware, in 2018.

Business had been good until recently, Michael said, and rentals have been mostly limited to tents for COVID-19 testing sites.

Tracey said recent financial concerns are troubling.

"How are we going to cover the bills and the real estate taxes and all the things that are coming up without the cash flow that we need," she said. "I mean, we're fine for now. We have the PPP loan, which is helping, but it has to be paid back in a short time and it's only for eight weeks. That's difficult."

In addition to the owners, Party Plus Events has 10 year-round workers, and employs 40 people during the busy summer months. The company received the PPP loan in late April and the couple hopes to get employees back to work soon to fulfill the loan requirements.

They are looking forward to restrictions easing May 29 with the phased reopening under the Restore Illinois plan.

Michael said they are working with customers who are postponing events until later in the summer and fall in hope restrictions will ease even more so they can host 50 people, and possibly more, if the guest list is split or a party can be held over two days.

• Do you know of a suburban small business with a compelling story to tell about working through the pandemic? Send photo director Jeff Knox a detailed email with LIFE'S WORK in the subject line at jknox@dailyherald.com, and we'll consider it.