To see a video promoting Atlas Party Rental for the event, go to
and scroll down to Atlas Party Rental, then click “video.”
“This video was a benefit of being a small business partner with Lynn University for the debate,” says Heather Rouffe, director of sales/owner, Atlas Party Rental, Boynton Beach, Fla.
Atlas Party Rental wins bid for final debate
Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla., spent a lot of time laying down miles of cable and filling in one of its lakes to accommodate communication trucks after it was named as the site for the third and final presidential debate a year prior to the event.
When it came time for planning the event itself, the university turned to Atlas Party Rental, Boynton Beach, Fla.
“We saw through our local chamber of commerce that Lynn was chosen to do the debate. We have had a long relationship with Lynn, so we contacted them immediately. We were the first to do so. In early August, we were informed that we got the bid,” says Heather Rouffe, Atlas Party Rental’s director of sales/owner.
“We had one meeting to discuss what rentals Lynn would need. Once our bid was accepted, the rest of the orders and needs were arranged over the phone,” she says.
The debate took the coordination of hundreds of volunteers, security personnel and local businesses to prepare for the arrival of President Barack Obama and challenger Gov. Mitt Romney.
Atlas provided nearly $100,000 in orders for chairs, tables and linens for all aspects of the debate from pre-debate activities to viewing rooms and areas during the debate. The Lynn University event department was in charge of the event, so Atlas worked directly with them.
“We actually had to subrent more than we bought,” Rouffe says. “We subrented from both local vendors and out-of-state vendors. We basically bought standard items that we could incorporate and use in our everyday inventory, such as lounge furniture and dinnerware.”
However, setup was minimal at the site. “We did end up providing and setting up 300 linens in the media room. They needed help to stay on track. It took us three hours to set up, but we were happy to do it,” she says.
Challenges and solutions included working with security before and during the event, which created extra tasks for
“There was actually a great deal of security. We immediately had to submit our employee’s social security numbers, names, dates of birth and photos. Everyone had to have a clean record. It took about three hours to get all of the information that we needed from our employees. Many of our employees were not full time and this took place in the August slow season. It took a bit for us to track them all down,” Rouffe says.
“There was a great deal of time that was devoted to the debate. My assistant and I worked basically full-time on the debate and it did take us away from our other tasks. Most of our rentals were delivered one to three weeks before the debate to cut down on the need for added security. On the actual day of the debate, we had to stop by the security booth to get credentials and clearance,” she says.
“As it is with any event, there were the last-minute things that pop up that have to be dealt with. You had to be ready at any moment to get Lynn exactly what they needed as the event progressed. You can’t plan for everything all the time and little things needed to be taken care of at the last minute,” she says.
In the end, Rouffe says “everything went incredibly well. The debate was a huge success. Some of our linens were a little late, but other than that, everything was on time. We made money, including the subrenting, and it strengthened our relationship with Lynn University. We were proud to be a part of it.”
Rental is important for these events, Rouffe says, because so many elements are needed. “It is impossible for one company to own the amount of rentals needed for an event like this. It was very important that Lynn work with a company that they knew could handle an event like this and had the resources and relationships needed to get everything done,” she says.