Meagan Priest, 35, wanted a career where she would be helping people, so she initially turned to social work. After she became “burnt out,” she took a break, working in the food and beverage industry for a few years.
“I realized I needed to find a forever career. My aunt had done some work with Chair Rental and knew they were hiring. She convinced me to put in an application for an office assistant. I got the job and I fell in love with the storefront, the people I worked with and the clients. I realized quickly I was helping people, just in a different way than I had planned on,” says Priest, who is now office manager, Chair Rental, Sheridan, Colo.
Priest also had ambitions when she was young, thinking she would be an Olympic swimmer when she was eight years old and aspiring to be President of the United States when she was 10. As a teenager, she wanted to be a forensic profiler and landed on social work while in college only to now find equipment and event rental as the place to be.
“What’s not to love in event rental? Helping people plan their wedding, talking linens and linen colors, different ways of folding napkins or setting a table, it’s all just fun,” she says.
“When I first started, I couldn’t tell the difference between burgundy and royal red, but once I developed that eye for color and having fun with the orders, that was that. I knew I had to learn more. I knew I wanted to advance and start learning more to stay in this field,” Priest says.
Chair Rental provides everything needed for an event. Inventory includes chairs, tables, linens, tents, staging and bleachers. With more than 20,000 chairs, the company also provides its services for graduations at local universities and high schools.
The best part of her job, she says, is “putting fires out. I love that you never know what to expect. The chaos of events is exciting. There never is a dull moment,” she says.
Despite the impact of the pandemic on the event rental industry, Priest remains upbeat. “Event rental in 2020 took a huge hit. Businesses were lost, careers ended and life changed. The fact that Chair Rental survived it just proves we have so much more left. We were geared up to have our most successful season in 2020, and 2021 may not be the 2020 we originally hoped for, but we are optimistic that 2022 will be. Being optimistic is the key,” she says.
Priest initially turned to the American Rental Association (ARA) website as a resource for human resources documents and advice when she started working at Chair Rental, so when she was approached to join the ARA of Colorado board, she accepted and now serves as vice president.
“I have had such a great time getting to know other ARA members and getting to know their businesses. Especially after this last year, it’s so important to know that we are all in this together. Being involved in ARA solidifies that,” she says.
“This is a great business to work in and stay in. Most of my co-workers and friends in the industry are the most loyal folks you can find,” she says.