When the pandemic hit in early 2020, the idea of starting a new business – especially one focused on events – was not top of mind for many entrepreneurs. For long-time friends Chris Montero and Evie Morales, it was exactly the right time, as they turned an emerging dream into an $80,000 investment in an event rental company – Perfect Touch Rental.
They perceived a market void in the Cape Fear region: There were only two major event-planning companies in the region. Neither were minority-owned companies; they wondered about access to capital, business resources and client development.
The market had been further impacted by the pressures of COVID. These issues spurred them to execute an imperfect swan dive into the market, starting with 18 inflatable bouncies they picked up in Los Angeles and drove back.
While the inflatables raised a few dollars, they pivoted to building a full-service rental company using advanced technology. In 2021, they achieved revenue of $60,000. In 2022, revenue rose to $430,000, and in 2023, aided by SBA funding, Perfect Touch Rental is on track to being a million-dollar company.
For Montero and Morales, their pre-Perfect Touch years involved long hours and diverse responsibilities at UNCW and the Wilmington Hammerheads, respectively.
“From the first day,” Montero said, “we had a clear vision for the people part of the business. Half of our staff is bilingual, and we treat each other respectfully. All of our team members understand what they need to do to advance to each job level and the compensation.”
Morales and Montero have strong mutual admiration for each other’s skills. Said Montero, “Something that I see as a crisis, Evie says, ‘no problem, we got this,’ and he will build the solution overnight. He’s an engineering genius.”
Morales counters that Montero is always one step ahead in every aspect of the business. “Chris is a logistical genius. We complement each other well,” said Morales.
The company provides tables, chairs, staging, lighting, glassware, flooring, linens and other event items. Their tenting capabilities, however, allow them to host client events with guest counts as large as 5,000. They’ve invested heavily in top-of-the-line tent technology and structures, including automated tools such as motorized stake drivers.
These investments were made largely to make the work environment safer and more efficient, they said. “It also allows us to build safely in Wilmington’s Historic District or in areas with high winds, like the riverfront,” said Morales.
Montero is a founding member of the Latin American Business Council in the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce, lending a voice, forum and guidance to other Hispanic businesses.
On the May horizon for Perfect Touch is a new hybrid showroom-venue. It will allow a single space to be converted from a product showroom into a fully decorated venue in less than 24 hours.
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