By Blake Herzog
At 33, Katie Moore has a lot on her plate, including tracking the whereabouts of hundreds of other plates. She co-owns Moore Party Rentals alongside her husband Morey, which is one of Greater Prescott’s largest suppliers of dishes, flatware, glassware, linens, chairs, tables, catering equipment, dance floors, decor and virtually anything else you could need to hold any gathering of any size.
Her mother launched her own party rental firm in Southern California around the time Katie was born and growing up around it, she found her calling. Now a mother of two, she supplies some 200 events a year. Family is at the heart of her life.
Prescott LIVING: Can we start out with a little bit about where and when you were born and raised, and how it may have set you up for your career in party rentals?
Katie Moore: I was born and raised in a small town, La Crescenta, north of Pasadena and Los Angeles. I was raised by my mother and father in a very busy, fun-loving home along with my two brothers. My brothers and I attended a private school. and when we were not playing sports we were at our family-owned business. My mother and father owned a heavy equipment company in 1987. In 1990 my mother started a party rental company. Growing up around two very hard-working parents, seeing the life they built for themselves is when I knew I would want to do the same.
When I was in high school, I started working for the family business. In 2013 I met my husband through mutual friends, and we came out to Prescott in 2015 to visit close family friends. And when we did, we just fell in love with it and said that this is where we wanted to raise children.
Morey and I got married in 2016. We bought our first home in Prescott. We were nervous about leaving our families behind and moving to another state but we both knew this is where we wanted to raise our children. In 2018 I became pregnant with our first daughter Sayler. It was then I knew it was time to start my own business so I could work and raise my child. After long days and nights of starting a new business in a new town where we did not know very many people, on April 1, 2019, Moore Party Rentals had its grand opening. It has been a long but rewarding journey. We have met so many amazing people along the way.
My parents have both retired and moved to Prescott along with my oldest brother, my youngest brother, his wife and soon-to-be daughter due this coming August, as well as my brother-in-law, sister-in-law and their 1-year-old son. Family has always been a huge part of my life and I am so happy we can all be together again and call this amazing town home.
Prescott LIVING: Wow, you were onto something then for everybody. Was that what you were expecting when you guys first decided on Prescott?
Katie Moore: My brother-in-law and sister in law came out right away after we purchased our home. I had a feeling my parents might come but was not sure when, as for my brothers I never thought they would move. But our family is so important to us all being in different states was difficult.
Prescott LIVING: What made everybody fall in love with it?
Katie Moore: Honestly, everything this town is, It has such a charm with the community events for families and the beautiful places to get outdoors. We were raised near a big city but none of us truly loved the big city life.
Prescott LIVING: Can you tell us a little bit about your husband Morey and how he ended up getting into the business?
Katie Moore: I reeled him in (laughs). So my husband by trade is a finish carpenter. Back in California he was the head foreman for a very large construction company and it was hard for him to leave all his hard work behind, but we knew having a family somewhere outside of California is what we wanted. He did some construction work when we first moved here. He definitely got roped into something he has never done before, going from finish carpentry in high-end homes to now working construction on the side and operating a party rental business.
But he knew I had a vision, he trusted me and worked so hard to help me get it up and going. I could not have done this without him. I know his true passion is to get back into his woodworking so we are currently working on getting that up and going for him. Our end goal is to have both of us working in the industry we both love.
Prescott LIVING: How did you grow your business?
Katie Moore: I started doing a lot of mixers and signed up with the Chamber of Commerce. We do some wedding professional meetups once a month. And just getting out there and just meeting other vendors and hosting events. Working with other businesses and other vendors has truly helped, and just making sure we are there to help anyone and everyone with their rental needs.
Prescott LIVING: What are all the services your business offers today?
Katie Moore: We carry pretty much any equipment you need to host an event, anywhere from tables, chairs, dishes, glassware, tents, lighting, pipe and drape, stages and so much more.
We have a special farmhouse collection my husband built, so rustic equipment as well as concession machines, we have it all. And we travel out of our area, we offer delivery and setup service. We can do anything from backyard barbecues to weddings, showers, community and business events. We can supply multiple events in one day and we also offer VIP restroom trailer rentals.
Prescott LIVING: What would you say is the most unusual event you ever had to put on?
Katie Moore: I don’t think we’ve done a really unusual event. But we have had many different events from themed weddings to four-person weddings. We have had some very memorable events such as supplying items for the 10-year anniversary memorial for the Granite Mountain Hotshots as well as sponsoring and supplying items for the World’s Oldest Rodeo®. We’ve co-hosted the Prescott bridal expo, as well as the Christmas Village and Christkindl market. Those are just a few of some of the great events we get to be a part of.
Prescott LIVING: Do you do more weddings than anything else or more community events?
Katie Moore: They’re kind of neck and neck. When we first started it was more weddings, but we’re getting into a lot of community events now.
Prescott LIVING: What are the steps to putting together a wedding versus a local or community event?
Katie Moore: It’s definitely very different. Just the style and the items that they need. The first step is just getting layouts and the client’s idea of what they’re looking for and then moving on with that and figuring out exactly what will work in that space.
There’s different size tables and how many people can fit comfortably. There’s a lot of footwork leading up to those events, just making sure that there’s enough space for everybody and what the client is needing.
Prescott LIVING: Right. And when you’re doing a community event, the appeal has to be more general while with the weddings and others it’s more about keeping it personal for the people who are hosting it.
Katie Moore: Yes. Definitely. We’re by appointment only because I want to sit down and have that one-on-one with them and really get down what they need, and I want the experience to be fun for them, I want them involved in the planning just as much as I am. So I think that that’s a big part of it too, customer service and making sure that our clients feel like they were taken care of and weren’t just told, “Oh, here’s some tables and chairs.” Really customizing a package for them.
Prescott LIVING: Do you plan events, too?
Katie Moore: I do not do the wedding planning. I leave that to the wedding planners. I do offer maps and my opinion on how to set up as well as layouts. We do offer to come out for a free onsite tour of the property to take measurements and make sure day of set up there are no surprises.
Prescott LIVING: When you’re advising or helping people choose colors and equipment and so forth for a wedding or something more personal like a bridal shower or a graduation party, how do you find the line between offering your professional opinion and letting the client express their preference or their individuality with the events?
Katie Moore: Always when they first come in, I ask them what is the style they’re going for, and what are their colors they’re going to use? And I always give a few different ideas, and they can pull from there. I lay out different options and show lots of photos of past events from other clients, and it helps them visualize what they’re going for. For a lot of the weddings, it’s their first time doing an event, so they have no idea where to start or what to do. However, it is their event and I love seeing everyone’s ideas and their vision for their event.
I just give them a drawing board; we start from scratch and show pictures and ideas for what type of space they’re in and what might work. And then that’s how we start it. But definitely I try to let the client choose. I don’t get too involved with some of the decision-making because I definitely want it to be their style on what they like.
Prescott LIVING: It must be hard to keep up enough inventory to be able to have enough at your disposal to match different kinds of tastes and preferences and everything like that. Or are you always shopping for stuff to bring in and add your warehouse?
Katie Moore: Yes, we are always adding. We definitely are always getting new inventory. The trends I would say change every two to three years. There’s always a new trend and then it will go back to a trend from six years ago.
Now there are a lot of DIY weddings. A lot of brides get the equipment from us and then they do their decor themselves. But we definitely have all different types of clients, and we have so many venues in Prescott, as well, that I think are just so different. It’s really fun to work with all the local venues and just the different styles and see what the clients come up with.
Prescott LIVING: Where do you think your experience is most useful or makes a difference for clients they might not be able to get from other party rental firms?
Katie Moore: I definitely just think staying involved with my clients. The customer service is huge. I try to go above and beyond and make every client feel special, not just for brides. I think just the one-on-one interactions and always checking in and just being involved sets me apart from a lot of other companies.
I am the only one that books clients and does the walkthroughs. I think that definitely helps as well. It’s not going through too many hands. The clients work with the same person throughout the entire planning process. We also have a private planning portal for each client so that help with communications and notes for any and all changes.
Prescott LIVING: And so how many events do you do a year, approximately?
Katie Moore: I would say anywhere from 175 to 200.
Prescott LIVING: Wow. That sounds like a lot to me.
Katie Moore: Some seasons are more than others but it does keep us on our toes.
Prescott LIVING: So how do you prioritize and manage to keep everything straight in your mind and on the books?
Katie Moore: It’s definitely a process when you’re a full-time mom as well as running a business. Schedules are very important. Being able to work off my schedule and my husband’s definitely helps, being able to switch off with the kids and able to get into the office.
On his delivery days, I’m typically balancing the home life with the kids, and then midweek when it’s busier for me as far as planning and meeting with these clients and phone calls that’s when we switch off.
Managing our time really helps, and being able to have his help with the kids when I need to be in the office is a huge help.
Prescott LIVING: And are the kids usually with you in the office when you go in?
Katie Moore: It depends. I try to do a few days during the week for a few hours without them. Now that my youngest is getting a little bit older, I try to go in without, but there are times where they do need to be with us and go into the office and sometimes on events. My oldest thinks she works for the company with her imaginary phone taking orders for tables and chairs.
Prescott LIVING: Do you have little tricks to try and keep them entertained, or do they just become part of the show?
Katie Moore: Lots of snacks and activity books. Sometimes they just become a part of it, and my older daughter loves to pretend like she’s running the show, so yeah, there’s definitely times where they’re with us. It has its ups and downs, but we wouldn’t trade it for the world. Being able to have breakfast as a family and dinner as a family is what we moved here for and the reasons why we started a business. So being able to have that time as a family is huge.
Prescott LIVING: What’s the most satisfying part for you about putting together an event and watching the results?
Katie Moore: I think just the overall finish. Events don’t come together in two days. Sometimes it’s months and months of planning. I love to see the finished touches to everything and just seeing your client completely satisfied is very satisfying. And just a great feeling when the event’s over, they’re just so thankful and they’re just so happy that everything came together.
I think just being able to take care of our clients and bringing their dream event to reality is huge for us.
Prescott LIVING: Where do you want to take your business from here? What do you think the future is? What do you see it holding for you guys?
Katie Moore: We would definitely love to grow. I’d like to grow it a little bit bigger. I don’t want to get too big to where we lose that personal relationship with our clients. I think that’s huge to people. They love seeing that the owners are actually involved and it’s not just somebody that doesn’t care about the equipment. We are still doing everything that our employees do. We are involved in every single event that we do.
We want to definitely grow more. We would love to get our name out more just to the people we haven’t worked with yet, and would definitely love to gain more clients and relationships with other people.
Prescott LIVING: What advice do you have for other women who want to start or grow their own businesses?
Katie Moore: I am still learning and have plenty more to learn, as it was definitely a challenge but it is so rewarding. And worth every sleepless night. Stay focused and push through all the hard times. I think if you just put your mind to it and you have dedication, you can really do anything and make anything work.
You will hit hard times. Not even a year after we opened the pandemic happened and the first thing to stop were events, so it was very hard to not have any business. We both had to come up with other ways to make ends meet, not only having a household to take care of but also the business to keep afloat was not easy. But we both worked so hard to keep it going and we did just that and are so happy we held on through that tough time.
Prescott LIVING: And again, you probably learned that from your parents.
Katie Moore: I learned everything from my parents and could never thank them enough for the example they set for my brothers and I. Anytime I hit a tough patch I think of them and all they have done and it helps me to keep pushing. My entire extended family are entrepreneurs and growing up around that environment really helped to push me in my business endeavors.
Prescott LIVING: OK, so that’s great! Is there anything else you’d like to say right now about your business and the success you found in Prescott?
Katie Moore: Honestly, I just want to thank everyone that has trusted us with their event and giving us the opportunity to serve you. I love what I do and hope to meet so many more and work on more events. Thank you to our fellow vendors we get to work with and all of your referrals. This community means so much to us and we hope we can be everyone’s go-to rental company to take care of your next event.