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Local high school in need of outdoor tent for homecoming, but supply is limited due to COVID-19

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Posted at 5:38 PM, Sep 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-23 17:38:32-04

DEPEW, N.Y. (WKBW) — Outdoor rental tents are one of the many items in high demand due to COVID-19. Debbie Lewandowski is a parent to a senior at JFK High School in the Cheektowaga-Sloan school district, where this year’s homecoming, next weekend, will take place outdoors for COVID-19 safety. But the move outside comes with its own set of hurdles.

“I’ve been doing this for about a month, trying to find a tent, because we knew this day was coming,” Lewandowski said. “It’s frustrating that no one will help out kids, help out our kids.”

Lewandownski is having no luck finding a tent to rent. And when she does, she says the prices are too high. Michelle McFadden owns Taylor Rentals in Depew. Mason Mastrangelo is a manager. They say, like with so many other things right now, it all comes down to supply and demand.

“You just can’t get them,” Mastrangelo said.

“Yeah, every time I needed one it was ‘nope, maybe in a couple weeks,’” McFadden said.

McFadden says in a normal year, they rent 30 to 40 tents a week, mostly over the summer. This year, they’re renting that same amount weekly starting in April, going until there’s snow on the ground. That’s because more events are taking place outside due to covid.

“Not being able to do any party rentals definitely made people have to make up for things they couldn’t do last year,” Mastrangelo said.

Taylor Rentals said it’s kept prices the same, but since the start of the pandemic, it’s had to buy more tents to rent out to meet the high demand. McFadden says Taylor’s usually buys tents, depending on size, for $1,000 to $3,000. This year, it’s double.

“As soon as they come in, we’re right out setting them up,” service manager at Taylor Rental Jason Murawski said.

McFadden says anyone who wants to rent a tent should try to do so at least a year in advance. Advice that’s come too late for homecoming in Cheektowaga-Sloan.

“We didn’t even know if we were going to have anything during COVID so how can we rent a year in advance?”