FAIRFIELD, Conn. To say that George Szondy parties for a living might not be entirely accurate, but it could be understandable.
His business, Abbey Tent & Party Rental , is responsible for equipping hundreds of events each year, from small dinner parties to large graduations and presidential visits.
Were party planners, he said, for people who dont have party planners.
Szondy is a lifelong resident of Westport and Fairfield, mirroring the company's locations. It started on the Post Road in Westport in 1958 and moved to Fairfield in 1984. The business was started by Szondy's father, and he went into the family business after graduating from Boston College in 1976. He was joined by his brother Steve six years later.
"When I started we had six employees," Szondy said, "and now we have 40 to 50."
That number fluctuates with the demand of the party rental business, which is highly seasonal. "We're busy right through New Year's, with so many holiday parties," said Szondy as he oversaw preparations for a dozen Christmas parties recently. "But in the winter, it's pretty slow. It picks up as the weather warms up, and May and June are extremely busy, with weddings and graduations."
The traditional vacation month of August gives them a little breather before school resumes in September, and then things build toward a year-end party crescendo.
The company originally rented just tables, chairs, place settings and linens, but the move to Fairfield opened up the tenting segment of the business, which Szondy said has continued to grow, especially for parties people host at their homes.
"It's like having an extra room on your house, but is not as expensive or permanent," he said.
It's not uncommon for a family to rent a tent for a weekend and use it for the rehearsal dinner, the wedding the following day, and a brunch the next morning.
Planning for such multifunction uses is much easier now thanks to CAD design software. "I used to have to sit down with a pencil and ruler and graph paper," Szondy recalled with no trace of regret in his voice. "Now, a few clicks of the mouse is all it takes and another party is ready to rock just add food, drink and celebrants."
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