ADDRESS: 1435 NW 9th Street, Corvallis, OR 97330
PHONE NUMBER: 541-758-0079
OWNER: Cindie Tegner
YEARS IN BUSINESS: 26
WHAT THEY SELL: Party supplies, favors and decorations for themes, holidays and formal events. They also rent everything for special events, including tents, chairs, linens, china, and props.
WHY YOU SHOULD GO: Amazing customer service, timely, warm, creative and committed to supporting our community
If you live in Corvallis, chances are good that you have attended an event made better by the team at Special Occasions. Known as the go-to place for parties, weddings, and seasonal flair, they also supply inspiration and supplies for large events at OSU. When you stop in at the store for one reason, to rent a dozen vases or see about a tent for your family reunion, be ready to get distracted with new ideas. How about a casino-night theme for your next gathering? Maybe a six-foot palm tree (or five) to set the tone, pool-party style? At Special Occasions, you can rent china, linens, chairs, tents, and lighting, which is more sustainable than buying disposable or one-use items. Owner Cindie Tegner revels in her customers’ excitement. “Whether they’re planning a wedding or a dinner party, I share their anticipation for the fun of it.” And her customers will tell you that Cindie and her team will go the extra mile to help you realize your own vision, even when the timeframe is tight.
How did you get started? I worked for my father at Snell Tool Rental, and I worked with a lot of party items we carried. I struck out on my own with the party items in 1986, promoting the service in home and bridal shows. My first storefront was on 9th Street, and Special Occasions has been operating in its current location for 18 years. It hasn’t stopped growing.
What are your specialties? We always aim to carry the latest and greatest items, to buy or to rent. We can offer the latest colors, trendy flatware, and props that will surely surprise party guests (bubble machine, anyone?). We’re great at weddings, holiday supplies, and large events, formal or not. Around Halloween, we offer a whole building full of costumes, decorations, and party favors. Watch for something similar around the Holidays!
What do you do better than anyone else? Our customer service is second to none. We share each customer’s attention to detail, going above and beyond to make his or her vision come to life. We know our customers, and we know the community, so we care about their events as much as they do. Just recently, for example, we rushed to deliver and assemble some tents to save a rainy wedding reception.
How do local independents impact our community? In Corvallis, people go out of their way to shop local. It strengthens our local, independent economy, and the ties between neighbors. It’s one of the reasons why Corvallis is a wonderful place to live and raise families. And local businesses return the favor by selecting local vendors for their own needs. We also share information about what’s working and what’s not.
How many people do you employ? We have 18 people on the payroll, and our business continues to expand each year.
What inspires you about your work? Seeing happy customers leaving the store, sharing their anticipation and excitement. It’s wonderful to see repeat customers so often. After helping some local families get started with weddings and parties, we’re thrilled to be helping their kids plan weddings and graduation parties of their own.
What has your business done to model sustainability? By offering so many items for rent, we make more sustainable events possible. That’s the main thing. We also invited the Energy Trust of Oregon to perform an energy audit on our business, and we’ve started implementing their recommendations. We upgraded all of our water heaters, washers and dryers to be more energy efficient, for example. We recycle everything we can, we use low watt light fixtures where possible, and we minimize the number of trips needed for deliveries.
Are there other ways you contribute to the community? We donate products and rentals when we can to support many local organizations and schools. For example, we make contributions to the Boys & Girls Club and the Annual Auction for the Old Mill Center for Children and Families.
(Interview and article by Kaci Buhl – July 15, 2012)
The Local Business of the Week program is designed to help the Corvallis community identify our locally owned independent businesses by featuring one business each week. The program is part of the Buy Local First campaign co-sponsored by the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition and the Community Independent Business Alliance (CIBA).