Jesus Gomez, 32, started working in the event rental industry when he was a kid growing up in Colombia. His parents had a catering company and Gomez would take care of the lighting and set up the sound system. If the disc jockey was late, he would even serve as the event’s DJ.
The family moved from Colombia to the United States 20 years ago, settling in Florida and starting their own business, which has grown to become Fiesta Solutions Party Rentals, Tampa, Fla., with Gomez as the owner and CEO.
“My mother and I started the business here. She did the catering, and I would DJ weddings. We rented chairs, tables, linens, microphones and speakers,” Gomez says, adding that they also rented inflatables.
It was The ARA Show™ 2010 in Orlando that showed him the possibilities of how big an event rental operation could be.
“The warehouse tours opened my eyes, and I could see the event rental industry as a career,” Gomez says. Today, he says Fiesta Solutions Party Rentals has everything from audio visual equipment, bars, tables and chairs to décor, tabletop items, concessions, games, furniture, lighting, tents, pool covers, stages and more.
“We have special inventory most people don’t have. We cater to people who want quality and want to set themselves apart with their event, including corporate work and high-end weddings. If there is a challenge, that’s what people hire us for. If you have a tent on a hill and you want the floor to be level, we can do that,” he says.
The best part of his job, he says, is creating new experiences for clients every time. “We use our inventory to make that ‘wow’ factor, meet the client’s needs and pull it all together,” he says.
Prior to the pandemic, the company had 19 employees and Gomez has been rebuilding his teams to now have 13 employees.
As a kid, Gomez thought about becoming a pilot or a racecar driver. “I was obsessed with things that fly or go fast. Now, I drive big trucks,” he says.
He sees surviving the pandemic as a great accomplishment. “A pandemic is something I never took into consideration, and it caught me off-guard. Luckily, we were financially steady and we could make it,” Gomez says, adding that diversification of inventory helped.
“I learned you should not have all of your eggs in one basket. Diversification is key, especially in event rental. We rent generators, trailers, tents and other things that people needed. Those things made my business stay afloat,” he says.
Gomez also credits being involved in the American Rental Association (ARA) and the ARA of Florida with helping him to succeed.
“We always looked at our ARA membership fees and registration for the show as an investment and something we have to do. My mentors with the ARA of Florida have helped me a lot,” he says.