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July 9, 2020 COVID Stories

COVID Stories: Worcester events company adjusts to smaller gatherings

Photo | Courtesy of Be Creative Decor Christelle Behike, owner of Be Creative Decor

Businesses in the events industry like Be Creative Decor of Worcester have had to adjust their focus to smaller events during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Typically, Be Creative Decor does decor and planning for parties and weddings with more than 100 people. However, the shutdown and social distancing regulations as a result of the pandemic have forced the company to pivot its business to working much smaller events. 

“Before we were doing larger events, 100 people to 300 people, but now we are focusing more on the 10 to 15 people events,” said Owner Christelle Behike.

Summer is typically a busy wedding season, and most of its clients have postponed their weddings until next year, forcing Behike to find new avenues to generate income and spend this time productively.

She and her employees have spent time during this event lull learning “how we will continue to work as a team but within the guidelines that are given to us...we are going to be implementing all these rules that we will be following in all the events we are doing,” she said.

Be Creative Decor first closed down completely in response to the pandemic, but around Mother’s Day the company began selling flower arrangements, balloons, and baskets people could order and send to friends and family. 

“We are also now offering flower arrangements and baskets for birthdays, anniversaries, and things like that,” said Behike. 

Be Creative has utilized contactless delivery to do so. 

Behike has noticed people still want to be able to celebrate things and share celebrations with one another even if they cannot go there physically. Through their flower arrangements and baskets they can show, though they cannot be there physically, they care, said Behike.

Still, the reality of not having larger events deeply impacts her business. Large events yield larger profits for the company, and it has had to adjust their budget and predicted returns because of the change in what events people can safely hold. 

“We expected an amount of yield returns, and now we are not going to see that because all the events these days are for smaller and smaller amounts of guests. And the less guests you have the less money the client is willing to spend … so we’re losing money left and right,” said Behike.

Though the company did not apply for a federal Paycheck Protection Program loan, the company has been able to utilize savings to keep the business afloat. 

When thinking about the industry as a whole, Behike does not know if she will be able to return to holding large events like weddings anytime soon. 

“We’re waiting to see what Gov. [Charlie] Baker is going to give us for instruction for the next phase,” said Behike. “The gyms are open, most shops are open, but there is still little instruction when it comes to events.” 

Behike discussed how events have already begun and will continue to look different, with lower in person capacity and many guests online watching a live stream. 

“I don’t know if we’re going to go back to dancing at events … or going back to having the 200 and 300 people events any time soon,” said Behike. 

She mentioned a lot of the drive-by celebrations for birthdays, baby showers, graduations and the like offer a unique opportunity for people still being able to celebrate with each other. 

“We are here; we are grateful, and we are thankful. We have to adjust and will just patiently wait until it is safe for everyone,” she said. 

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