American Rental Association (ARA) officers participated on a call with the Senate Small Business Committee on May 12 to communicate the challenges currently facing equipment and event rental businesses.
Committee Chair Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) responded to the ARA’s request for a call and was able to have one of his professional staff members participate. Joining Beth Hoff Blackmer, ARA president; John Bibbo, CERP, ARA chair; and Dan Hooks, CERP, ARA president-elect, were ARA board member Jeff Crotto, CERP, a constituent of Sen. Rubio’s and whose business, All About Events – Jacksonville, is located in Jacksonville, Florida, and Tony Conant, ARA CEO.
“We continue to reach out to members of Congress so that we can share with them what the equipment and event rental industry is facing as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic,” said Hoff Blackmer. “Talking with Sen. Rubio’s staff and letting them ask us questions about the difficulties we are facing as an industry was very important, and I know by the questions they were asking us that Sen. Rubio really wants to know what is happening to small businesses in Florida and around the country."
Much of the call focused on issues facing the event rental industry, which has been decimated by the pandemic.
“I wanted them to know how a local company in Florida was coping with the new reality of the coronavirus,” said Crotto. “Every event rental business I have talked to in Florida is down +90% over the last two months, and I don’t think we are going to recover in eight weeks, which is when our Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) money runs out. We need access to more capital and that was the message we wanted to communicate to Sen. Rubio.”
“ARA is going to continue reaching out to Capitol Hill as we move forward,” said Conant. “We need to tell our story to the people who are making the decisions in Washington, D.C. Making this kind of outreach can only be helpful because it lets policy makers know what it happening to real businesses and the people who own them and work for them.”