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All Occasions Party Rentals marks 20 years in business

By Brock Huffstutler

November 7, 2023

Photos courtesy of All Occasions Party Rentals

“It Happened at the World’s Fair.” That’s not just the title of an old Elvis Presley movie. It’s also a phrase that — like the King himself — has a strong Tennessee connection. In fact, it’s part of the story behind the creation of Knoxville, Tenn.-based All Occasions Party Rentals.

“The impetus behind the beginnings of the company was that Knoxville hosted the World’s Fair in 1982,” says Terry Turner, CERP, president of All Occasions Party Rentals. “Chuck Rothstein, who owned Redi Rental during the World’s Fair that year, saw an increase in tables and chairs that he was renting out of his tool and equipment rental store. He recognized the growing event rental industry in its infancy around ’82-’83. And in 1983 he pulled his party rental business out of his tool and equipment rental business.”

The event rental business Rothstein established was named, simply, Party Rentals. Turner went to work for the business in 1991 and learned all about event rental operations over the next few years. Then things changed as consolidations hit the industry.

Chuck Rothstein (center) with Terry Turner (right) and other team members in the 1990s

Chuck Rothstein (center) with Terry Turner (right) and other team members in the 1990s

In 1998, Rothstein sold his rental businesses to RentX, a large, multi-location equipment rental organization that was active at the time. But for the big rental consolidators of the 1990s, “party and event really wasn’t, back then, part of their plan,” Turner says. “They were more interested in rolling up the equipment rental companies.”

As the general manager of the larger organization’s event rental division over the next five years, “I just kept seeing the handwriting on the wall that it wasn’t in their long-term future to do anything on the event rental side,” Turner says.

By 2003, Turner was ready to strike out on his own to fill the area’s event rental void.

“I just saw the niche and the need in Knoxville, which is where I was based, so I started All Occasions Party Rentals in March 2003. Now it’s our 20-year anniversary,” he says.

Today, All Occasions employs a staff of approximately 75 and has become a key partner to many in the Knoxville region. “I think anytime you have longevity, there are definitive reasons for it. For us, it’s our people, our customers and the community that we share. We are a big part of the Knoxville community; they support us, and we support them,” Turner says.

Joint commitments to its team members and its customers are the two main factors that Turner says has helped All Occasions Party Rentals thrive and survive for 20 years and counting:

  • Investment in the team. “We try to try to always bring team members to [trade] shows, educate them and get them certified. That’s high on the list,” Turner says.
  • Attentiveness to customers’ evolving needs. “The industry has changed a lot in 20 years. Inventories have changed, where you buy equipment has changed, how you buy equipment has changed — and how our customers get their ideas and how fast that information travels to social media,” Turner says. “Our commitment to the customer is to be willing to change with trends and styles, and to stay educated in the industry too.
A birds-eye view of an event featuring All Occasions Party Rentals equipment

A birds-eye view of an event featuring All Occasions Party Rentals equipment

Turner served as American Rental Association (ARA) president in 2015-2016 and the endurance of companies run by some of his peers who have served the industry in the same role helps him put All Occasions Party Rental’s milestone anniversary in perspective.

“I just read where Beth Hoff Blackmer’s company [Aspen Rent-All, Basalt, Colo.] just celebrated 55 years. Those types of things are amazing, when you really look at the size of our companies and how they were born,” Turner says. “Beth’s dad [Dave Hoff], my mentor, Chuck [Rothstein], and the parents of John Bibbo [CERP, president, Event Source, based in Cleveland, and Panache Events, based in Pompano Beach, Fla., and So Cool Events, also based in Pompano Beach] and Dan Hooks [CERP, president, Party Reflections, Charlotte, N.C.] — where these companies have come from and where they are now is a real testimony to our industry, to be honest.”