Trendy tents, they are just one of Scott Weisberg’s specialties. If you've got a wedding, a graduation party, a movie premiere — he's got a tent for you.
“We’ve had a giant job at Times Square. We’ve had stuff at Rockefeller Center and Radio City Music Hall,” said Weisberg, the owner of Everything Entertainment on Staten Island.
Weisberg's operated Everything Entertainment for more than 30 years, which means he's acquired a lot of tents and a lot of other party equipment in that time.
However, last spring, the events business cratered.
As the pandemic took hold, the state banned large gatherings.
“Typically on a weekend, we’ll see 200 to 300 tables go out and 500 to 1,000 chairs go out. Now we have a couple of dozen,” said Weisberg of the difference between how some inventory was used then and now.
Weisberg found a way to adapt amid the pandemic and while he feels luckier than most, he said that it hasn’t been easy.
As other businesses closed, he found a new way forward to stay afloat and keep as many staff members as he could on the job.
“We called up the hospitals that we dealt with in the past. We went ahead and we called the event people we knew that were in government entities and we said, ‘Hey, if you need anything, don’t forget about us!’ and they didn’t,” said Weisberg.
Turns out, there was still a demand for tents, but it was being used for COVID-19 testing, and now, for vaccinations.
Also, instead of fabricating custom pieces for parties and corporate events, his prop shop began manufacturing more essential items.
“We started making sneeze guards and shields to protect people,” said Weisberg.
While this new side of the business has helped keep their doors open, Weisberg said that their staffing is only one third of what it used to be.
His revenues have also decreased and are down about 60% compared to where they were at this time two years ago.
Now, one year after the pandemic first took hold, New Yorkers are getting vaccinated, infection rates are falling, and the state is allowing large weddings again.
“It’s hard to wrap my head around that we have tenting going out for vaccine centers and so forth and the phone is ringing now like crazy for people having weddings and people trying to plan stuff coming up, but unfortunately nobody is pulling the trigger ‘cause everything is in limbo,” said Weisberg.
Weisberg said he isn’t quite sure what the next year will bring but he's hopeful.
He reasons that big events not only will help the city’s economy to recover but believes and hopes they also could help New Yorkers heal.
“I’m very anxious to have everything going back out for, I’m going to call them normal events, where people are actually able to gather and have a good time together,” said Weisberg.