Page 10 - BusinessWest July 6, 2020
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Jerome’s Party Plus
Growing Need for Tents Is Helping Company Through a Trying Year
reg Jerome didn’t want to get into any many other items that have specific revenue numbers, but he made all been collecting dust for it clear that the COVID-19 pandemic three months now,” said
has made this a year to forget for his business, Jerome, adding that, while
 Westfield-based Jerome’s Party Plus.
But he also made it clear that, if not for certain
aspects of the pandemic, the numbers would be even worse.
there is hope that some of these items may soon get back into circulation, the pic- ture was further clouded by the cancelation of the Big E for 2020.
“The Big E cancella-
tion will be our greatest
loss of revenue this year,” said Jerome, noting that the Eastern States Exposition
is his biggest customer and the fair is by far his biggest single event. “The cancella- tion of the fair certainly took the wind out of our sails; we always get excited during the push to install 150 tents and 3,500 chairs.”
For now, Jerome said his
company is trying to make
the most of the sudden, and
still-surging, need for tents
as businesses and institu-
tions search for ways to carry on during the pan- demic — often by moving activities and services outdoors. And his large inventory, especially when it comes to the bigger models, has certainly helped in this regard.
New and certainly non-traditional tent clients include several restaurants, including Shortstop Bar & Grill in Westfield, Tucker’s in Southwick, Captain Jimmy’s in Agawam, and Masse’s in Chi- copee, among many others, as well as Blessed Sacrament Church in Westfield, which held ser- vices outdoors for several weeks and still uses a tent for those uncomfortable with going inside. The company has already supplied tents for several nonprofits with summer day programs, including the Greater Westfield YMCA and a few Boys and Girls Clubs, as well as the West Spring- field Parks & Recreation Department.
It has also provided tents and other items for a number of drive-in COVID-testing sites oper- ated by Baystate Health, including facilities in Westfield, Ware, Greenfield, and three locations in Springfield. This work goes back to mid-March
Indeed, for this venture, and others like it, tent rentals are a big part of the port- folio. And while
“We have more than 8,000 chairs, 800 tables, stages, dishware, glassware, flatware, linen, and many other items that have all been collecting dust for three months now.
the pandemic has wiped all kinds of tent- worthy events off the calendar — from wed- dings to gradu- ation parties to town gatherings like ‘taste of’ events — it has also driven con- siderable need for this item, especially over the past several weeks as sectors of the economy
Greg Jerome stands by one of the tents his company supplied to the High Street Clinic in Springfield, an example of how the pandemic has created some opportunities while robbing the company of many others.
when the company was hired by Baystate Health to create what Jerome called “cubicles” inside the new triage facility erected just outside the emer- gency room.
Elaborating, he said the company provided the piping, and another vendor supplied cor- rugated boards that were attached to the frame- work to create 33 private spaces.
For the drive-in sites, the company created
a model that was eventually used at all six loca- tions, facilities that also included a greeters’ tent and a heated tent-within-a-tent with clear sides that served as a type of nurses’ station.
These intriguing projects have certainly helped, but those thousands of items gathering dust and not seeing the light of day are the big- ger story.
And they explain why this is certainly a differ- ent kind of year, when the pandemic has gener- ated some business, but taken away so much more. u
—George O’Brien
   and specific types of businesses began to reopen. That list includes restaurants, summer camps,
and even churches, said Jerome, president of
this family-run business that has 200 tents in its inventory, noting that his crews have been kept busy putting up tents in recent weeks, and not so much taking them down, because this year, when a tent goes up, it stays up for a while —perhaps the whole summer and beyond.
“And that’s just one of the things that makes this year very different,” he told BusinessWest, noting that going back to March, when he first installed a tent for Baystate Health for COVID- 19 testing, the company has been involved with some unique undertakings.
However, he made it clear that, while he’s renting out tents, there is still a good supply available in the warehouse. Meanwhile, he’s not renting out much of anything else.
“We have more than 8,000 chairs, 800 tables, stages, dishware, glassware, flatware, linen, and
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