LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Many local businesses would normally be swamped right now getting ready for the Kentucky Derby, but thanks to the coronavirus crisis, instead it’s the opposite.
Rent And Rave has been around for 30 years in the Louisville area. It rents out tents, tables, chairs, tables and linens for events like the Barnstable Brown party, Forecastle, weddings and many other occasions.
“(Sunday) we would have been tearing down (after) Thunder (Over Louisville),” Rent and Rave owner Frank Thomason said.
Thomason said he had to lay off 12 of his employees.
“It’s a very strange feeling to not have anything going on,” he said. “I’ve never had an April off. I’m kind of a micromanager. It took me almost five weeks to realize last Thursday I can’t micromanage a pandemic.”
The last major event Rent and Rave did was the Talespin Ale Fest in March.
“We know there is light at the end of the tunnel,” Thomason said. “We just want everyone to know that we are here. When events do go back, we are doing everything we can to keep everyone safe.”
Scott McClinton, with Skycab Balloon Promotions, is in the same situation as Thomason. He’s involved with many of the balloons that you see during the balloon race and glow around Derby time.
“There is nothing more frustrating than a day like today when the weather is absolutely fantastic and here we are,” McClinton said, adding that Skycab’s last event was in Lakeland, Fla. “Feb. 28th was the last paycheck we had. We don’t know when the next one is coming. We’ve canceled all of our events through July. It’s epic. You hear about the depression, the floods, and think, ‘Wow that was a long time ago. I wonder what that was like.’ We are experiencing it today.”
Both of the business owners said they want people to know they are anxiously waiting to get back to work and serving customers.
“We’re trying to keep our head above water,” Thomason said. “Prepare to begin, just don’t know when that will happen.” McClinton said.
Rent and Rave has been doing some social-distancing tents for companies, but it is nowhere close to as busy this time of year as it normally is.
Because Skycab can’t do anything right now, McClinton said he wants to show his appreciation to local medical staff and first responders with a weekly contest offering free balloon rides when things do return to normal. You can find more information on that on Skycab’s Facebook page.