Peter Coleman thinks he's getting gouged.
"To see a 100% increase in the tent rentals for the Corporate Challenge is just ridiculous,” says Coleman, executive director of the Buffalo Niagara Manufacturing Alliance.
He's talking about the Buffalo version of the global JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge. In 13 cities on four continents, the banking and investment giant is hosting road races and after-parties to raise money for charity.
The Buffalo Corporate Challenge is June 15th and will feature a 3.5 mile race. It's expected better than 10,000 members of the western New York business community will take part.
After the race, runners will descend on a tent-city erected in Delaware Park. The tents are hosted by business who celebrate their employee-particpants and also provide opportunities for networking. It is described as Buffalo's biggest corporate event of Summer.
The tent rentals are what have Coleman unhappy. He says a tent for 80-people last year that cost $900, will cost double this year, $1,800. Coleman's organization represents 195 area firms, many of them small and medium-sized businesses.
Coleman says, "We were hearing some frustrations from our members about the increased costs and whether or not they were even going to participate in the event this year. Some are going to limit their participation or they're going to put more costs on to their employees.”
He notes a big difference in this year's event is the move to a single vendor to provide all the tents. That vendor is All Seasons in East Amherst. (More from them in a bit.)
We did price out the $1,600 tent package offered through the Buffalo Corporate Challenge website. It includes a 20' x 40' tent, 10 tables and 80 chairs. Through ABC Hardware and Rental a single day rental for all of that cost $761.25, less than half the quoted price.
Who's setting the higher prices on tent rentals for the Corporate Challenge? A spokesman at JP Morgan Chase says Alll Seasons is responsible for the pricing.
But All Season owner Bert Berardi says that's not true. He tells 2 On-Your-Side by phone that his company has no contact with companies renting the tents. All arrangements, he says, are through an event planning hired by JP Morgan Chase.
In Coleman's view, having a single vendor should have brought prices down, instead he digging deeper to host his members or the event.