BRANDON — Every St. Patrick's Day, Sean Rice throws a big party that extends outside his popular O'Brien's Irish Pub at Oak Park Plaza. Tents cover 8,000 square feet of parking lot.
Extension cords, garbage cans and supplies are strategically placed throughout the makeshift watering hole and people pack in for live music and good times.
But having one of the area's most recognizable party destinations doesn't occur without some measure of planning. Enter Brandon Rental, where Rice has turned for the past 12 years when he needs party supplies, and even equipment such as cherry pickers, for the weddings, charity events and mid-March bashes he organizes.
"They are a great company to be with," Rice said.
On Saturday, Brandon Rental celebrates 40 years in business. The staff will host a customer appreciation party from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Riverview location, 6801 U.S. 301, and the Seffner location, 436 W Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Bob Glass, who in 2006 took over the business from his father, Red, said it's his way of giving back to loyal customers who include other business owners and individuals who rent party supplies and heavy equipment. Glass, a 1979 graduate of Brandon High School, began working for his father when he was 11 years old.
"It's been a family business so I never worked anywhere else," Glass said. "We figured everything out ourselves along the way."
Red and Nell Glass purchased Brandon Rental in 1973 from the Tuvell family and their oldest son, Ron, handled the day-to-day operations. In 1975, Brandon Rental moved to Robertson Street in Brandon and shortly after, Brandon Rental became the first STIHL outdoor power equipment dealer in the Brandon area.
Bob took over as chief operating officer in 1981 and opened the Riverview store. Two years later, Brandon Rental bought out its competitor in Seffner, General Rental, and moved from Robertson to its current Seffner location in 1992.
"A lot of local companies left and we are the last man standing," Glass said. "We took over the competition. We were lucky a lot of the other competition financed their fleet. We bought our machines paying cash as much as possible. When the bubble burst, their payments were still there."
Glass said more than half of the Brandon Rental business comes from companies. Their business also includes about 20 percent in retail sales, including the most mortar mixers in Florida.
In addition to his business model of slow, steady, budgeted growth, Glass said customer service and a knowledgeable staff have gone a long way in advancing the Brandon Rental brand. He said staffers always ensure customers are educated on how to use whatever it is they rented.
The party on Saturday is 40 years in the making, so expect to pay just 40 cents for some food and drink items. A community yard sale starts at 8:30 a.m. and customers who book a rental will receive 10 percent off through October, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Brandon Foundation.
For additional information, telephone (813) 654-7368 or visit brandonrentalcenters.com.
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