CORONAVIRUS

Spielman's Event Services closes after 30 years due to pandemic's economic impact

Spielman's Event Services of Cedar Rapids closed Friday. Above, an employee prepares background curtains ready for a 200
Spielman’s Event Services of Cedar Rapids closed Friday. Above, an employee prepares background curtains ready for a 2000 town hall meeting with then-Vice President Al Gore. (The Gazette)
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CEDAR RAPIDS — A 30-year-old Cedar Rapids business has closed as the economic impact of the pandemic continues to be felt.

Spielman’s Event Services shut down Friday in the wake of the state banning large gatherings such as weddings, graduation ceremonies and parties and corporate events. “We were excited for the spring and all the events at colleges and universities where we rented chairs and tents like graduations and parties.” said Jan Spielman, president of Spielman’s Event Services.

“We had long-standing corporate customers who were looking forward to their summer events.

“When COVID-19 hit, it took away all the events that were planned for March until 2021. It was a huge impact on our company because that’s what we do for a living.”

Spielman’s husband, Mark, launched the company in 1990.

He started his career at Buresh Rental in Cedar Rapids when he was 13, eventually becoming manager and vice president before leaving after 25 years to start his own company.

Jan became president of Spielman’s after Mark’s death in March 2019.

Spielman’s employed 14 people, including three event designers.

“We have had inquiries from people who wanted to buy the business, but they can’t get a loan from a bank with the future so uncertain due to COVID-19,” she said.

“We have been referring people to Big Ten Rentals in Iowa City.”

Spielman said five large auctions are planned, beginning May 28, to liquidate the company’s inventory of chairs — more than 8,000 — tables, staging, decorations, linens — more than 10,000 — dryers, washers, steamers and other items.

The auctions will be held each week until June 18. Backes Auctioneers and Realty of Raymond will handle the sales, which are posted on its website at backes-auction.com.

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