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On tour in Ontario

By Brock Huffstutler

May 16, 2023

James Auerbach, second from left, with Bobby Sadozai, second from right, and members of the AS Special Events, Party & Tent Rentals team

James Auerbach, second from left, with Bobby Sadozai, second from right, and members of the AS Special Events, Party & Tent Rentals team

On May 3, American Rental Association (ARA) members from across the greater Toronto area received the opportunity to meet and mingle with top association leaders over appetizers and drinks while getting a glimpse of a fellow rental operator’s facility.

The ARA Social at AS Special Events, Party & Tent Rentals in Toronto brought approximately 30 members of the ARA of Canada community together for an afternoon with Tony Conant, ARA CEO; James Auerbach, ARA vice president, event segment and rental industry workforce development; and Josh Nickell, ECP-SM, ARA vice president, equipment segment.

The informal gathering enabled rental operators to hear from Conant, Auerbach and Nickell on the latest ARA initiatives, including new equipment and event-specific certifications, training and education resources, workforce development programs and more, as well as current trends and other industry updates.

“My good friend Mike Carleton [president, Happenings Party Rentals, Collingwood, Ontario, Canada], who is a member of the ARA of Canada Task Force, called me to ask if I would host the ARA meet-and-greet. I told him absolutely, I would be delighted,” says Bobby Sadozai, AS Special Events, Party & Tent Rentals owner. “It was a very enjoyable experience, not just for me, but for all the members who attended. We were able to Canadian ARA memberscommunicate and get to know each other a little bit.”

For the ARA representatives, the meet-and-greet was part of a weeklong tour that included visits with manufacturers, the two largest independent rental operations in Canada and many smaller, single-location operators. “It was a productive week,” Conant says, adding that while each company has a unique story behind their success, “at the end of the day it comes down to understanding and serving your customer. They are all doing that really well.”

Auerbach and Nickell say they were encouraged to see both the equipment and event rental segments thriving during their Canadian visit.

“ARA members we visited in the Toronto area in May reported high numbers of inquiries and reservations in Q1 and near-full capacity levels in the months ahead,” Auerbach says of his event segment observations. “I was also honored to attend the Canadian Special Events Live Conference & Show on May 2. One thing that really stood out was how committed the entire live events industry in Canada is to producing Canadian ARA membersspectacular and memorable events that exceed their clients’ expectations. The talent, dedication and creativity of all in attendance was spectacular.”

“The energy in Canada was amazing,” Nickell says. “Everywhere we looked we saw cranes and construction in Toronto. When chatting with our members everyone was enthusiastic about 2023. Members were excited to be getting back together in person more often at ARA of Canada events, but we also heard that ARA’s Canadian newsletter and webinars are having a positive impact. We are excited to see the hard work of the ARA of Canada member task force paying off with tangible benefits to members and their businesses.”