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  • Allison Hershberger

Coming Back - Stronger Than Ever!

Parties & Props has been serving the St. Louis Event Community for more than 25 years. We are a proud member of the event community and we are looking forward to emerging from this pandemic stronger than ever.


As I reflect on COVID-19 and the unprecedented times we are faced with, I began to consider what it would take to get back to the business of producing amazing events. In doing this, I began drawing on my history and experience in the event industry and I realized, that this is not the first time that, as a leader, I have had to find a way to rally the troops and come back - Stronger Than Ever.


I have been in this industry since the 90's. Stop trying to count - yes, I am getting OLD! I have seen this industry be forced to "shift" several times. Big, industry-altering shifts. But the one thing that has remained true - we always came back - and we came back STRONGER THAN EVER.


The Recession of the 90's

In late 80's and early 90's everything was in abundance, events were luxurious and over-the-top. Yet, in 1993, we faced a major recession that had everyone tightening their purse strings. Event attendance dropped, events were cancelled and the event industry suffered as a result. At the time I worked for a large event firm in Atlanta. The company employed more than 100 event professionals, planners, production artists, laborers, executives. In a matter of weeks we went from 100 professionals to fewer than 25. We had to do more with less. We worked hard to improve efficiencies and to shift from having huge budgets to having shoestring budgets... and though the budgets changed, the expectations for producing an amazing event did not.


Through all of those tough times, we prevailed and we came back - stronger than ever.


The tragedy of September 11, 2001

Then, the tragedy of 9/11. We were under attack, paralyzed with fear and uncertainty. The travel industry came to a halt. Events cancelled and were not rescheduled. Contracts that were in place were not designed with something like this in mind. The industry had to bend, to adapt and change to accommodate.


Through this tragedy, we prevailed and we came back - stronger than ever.


The Market Crash of 2008

Then, in 2008 the market crashed. The country faced a financial crisis unlike anything we had ever seen. Events, once again, came to a halt. How could we celebrate when so many were losing their jobs, their businesses? And, in this crisis - small businesses took the brunt of the trauma. Many businesses closed, unable to recover. Planners had to once again RESET working with smaller budgets, unchanged expectations and faced with uncertainty.


Through this crisis, we prevailed and we came back - stronger than ever.

As an industry, this is not the first crisis we have faced, and it will likely not be the last. However, I feel confident that we will come back. Stronger than ever. We will be required, once again, to shift. To face uncertainty and to find it necessary to bend, mold and adapt. However, I know that we will do this and I for one have found solace in the fact that giving my history with the changes and shifts in the industry that we have always found a way to prevail and come back - STRONGER THAN EVER.





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