Kristee Heim, owner, Your Party Solutions, Corona, Calif., had been watching her damaged linens pile up. She wasn’t sure what to do with them.
“We don’t manufacture or launder here. We send out our linens to be washed and we also purchase them. We have been using a laundry facility for years with no problem. We never had issues with them regarding damaged linens until COVID-19 and then employee shortages hit. I think they are struggling like the rest of us. I feel terrible about the damaged linen. I had been using the ones that weren’t too damaged in our showroom. Because we don’t have a processing center, we can’t make chair covers out of them. I wish we could, but we just don’t have the means to do that here,” she says.
To help find a solution, she posted a question about it on the American Rental Association’s (ARA) Event Rental Facebook page. She received lots of responses.
“We sell them as damaged or stained. We have tons, unfortunately. We sell them for $10-15. Caterers and neighbors buy them up! Caterers use them as fluff and who knows what the neighbors use them for,” posted Meagan Priest, manager with Chair Rental in Englewood, Colo.
Ron Holbert, recently retired owner of JoRonCo Rentals, Bakersfield, Calif., suggested cutting “the big ones into smaller ones all the way down to napkins. Make slipcovers for bars, chairs, etc. You would still have extra to give to the local SPCA for dog and cat beds. The SPCA loved us.”
Laura Jutzi, CERP, manager with NJS Design Event & Party Rentals, Clinton, Ontario, Canada, added that her operation donates their damaged linen “to our local daycare. They put them on fences for the kids to paint. They lay them down in other areas so kids can do big crafts.”
“I’ve used mine on displays as a dual purpose — a reminder to don’t do this to the linens, but they can be a decent visual without using new,” says Kim Hubbard, CERP, owner, Unforgettable Event Planning and Party Rental, Blair, Okla.
Other suggestions ranged from donating them to the theater departments of local schools to use in costume creation, covering plants in the garden to taking them to a recycling center. All in all, Heim received 23 suggestions.
She was thrilled with the outpouring of advice. “I really appreciated all the responses. I did end up calling a few local animal shelters, but I didn’t get a huge response. When graduation season started, we weren’t able to pursue any of the other ideas,” she says, adding that she plans to look into it again once business slows down.
A faithful reader of the ARA Facebook page, Heim says she “loves the forum. People are so helpful.”