WHITE RIVER JUNCTION, VT- Summer is usually filled with graduations, fairs, and other events. Due to the pandemic, most of these events have been canceled. But what is happening to the businesses that make these events possible?
Bloods Catering and Party Rentals in White River Junction along with other catering and rental businesses rely on in person events to keep their business going. Along with catering, Blood’s Catering and Party Rentals provides tents and other rentals for events including graduations, fairs, and weddings across Vermont and New Hampshire. Owner Brendon Blood said May and June is usually the start of their busy season, but this year it’s different.
“We had a lot of cancelations as well, but then all the bookings and the last minute things that we normally get, which for us, it’s the last minute things that we normally get which is about 50% of what we do, said Blood. “We are having cancellations already in October.”
Blood said this is the worst year they have seen in their 73 years in business. The company has been a family owned Vermont business since 1947. So far, Blood said they have lost more than 75% of their revenue this year.
“2011 was when the great recession hit us up here in our line of work and I though oh my gosh how are we going to survive this, and that was a joke compared to this,” said Blood.
Blood said before things were canceled, he had already ordered supplies. He said he had placed one of his biggest orders yet — two tents that cost $180,000.
“Those tents that would go up four times this year aren’t going up at all,” said Blood.
Blood hopes to get help from the federal government, but fears for the future of his industry and the special events that come with it.
“We donate a lot. We do a lot of in-kind donations for tents for fundraisers and such, and we are all worried if we can’t make it then what are those people going to do,” said Blood.