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Business Observer Sunday, Feb. 20, 2022 4 months ago

One event-dependent entrepreneur’s secret to overcoming the pandemic? Perpetual motion.

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A contract with a major sports association kept the business afloat while Rainer Scheer shifted his focus to SEO tactics. Now, the company's revenue has almost doubled.
by: Amanda Postma Sarasota-Manatee Editor

If anyone was going to be nervous about events shutting down during the pandemic, it was going to be Rainer Scheer, founder of Florida Furniture Rental, otherwise known as Chilllounge Night. 

The Sarasota-based company was founded in 2008, and as the name of the company suggests, it kind of relies on events to happen. But instead of waiting around, Scheer and his wife Patricia Filomeno, owner of Ink Graphics Media and Drone Videography Florida, based on Anna Maria Island, got to work. 

“We made us busy,” Scheer says. “You have to do something to make it happen.”

There's something to be said about hard work, but it also helps when national competitors drop out of the race as well. New Jersey-based AFR Furniture Rental announced in March 2020 that its trade show and event divisions were closed due to a temporary ending of large gatherings. "We stayed open," Scheer says. 

With that national company, which has an Orlando location, out of the way, the NBA reached out to Scheer. The pro basketball league offered him a two-month contract to furnish the 2020 NBA Bubble at Walt Disney World, designed to protect players from contracting COVID-19. That contract helped Florida Furniture Rental stay afloat. At the same time he increased SEO marketing techniques to seek out new clients, while keeping existing clients interested. 

Filomeno helps with the in-house marketing for the furniture rental company. And in today’s digital age, Scheer realized the importance of using the internet to his advantage during the pandemic. “It’s like a business card,” he says. 

So he changed the focus of the business to SEO marketing. 

“It’s like our secret weapon,” Filomeno says. She spends 10 hours each week working on her own business’ websites, as well as the furniture rental website. The rest of the time is dedicated to putting together creative content and photoshoots to post to the social media pages. 

“The SEO work was key,” he says. “Covid-19 forced me to get even more creative.” 

Scheer declined to disclose revenue figures, but did indicate that the company’s revenue has almost doubled over the last two years, partially thanks to the NBA. And Scheer was able to spend upward of $80,000 on new furniture in 2021. “The company is at a good place at the moment,” he says. 

Relying on marketing and content creation was not an easy task, especially since it can take up to three or four months before any growth or traction is visible, he says. 

But, of course, if the content is unique enough, it may only take a few days to get recognition. Much like the couple’s noted dinner in a warehouse: On April 3, 2020, much like the rest of us, Scheer needed a reminder of what life was like before the pandemic. All of the events were cancelled or rescheduled, but Scheer was determined to find a creative release. So he asked his wife to a dinner date at the warehouse where all the company’s furniture is located. 

They set up some of the LED furniture, ordered food and created a video to post. Just five days later, the story was picked up by WFLA-TV, an NBC-affiliated television station in Tampa. The post on Scheer’s Facebook page had 3,600 views. 

After that stint of creativity, the duo continued to let it flow into a Mother’s Day tribute on May 10, 2020. Using several of their LED benches, they spelled out “Happy Mother’s Day” on Anna Maria Island. After some drone footage, and lots of pictures, the rental company posted it and garnered 30,000 views, says Scheer. 

That kind of success has continued to flow, especially now with events coming back. And looking back on the rollercoaster of the last two years, he’s glad to have made it to where he is now. "It’s a lot to process,” Scheer says. “I don’t even know how I did it. But we had a lot of fun.”

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