Cleveland Business Connects

For immediate release (October 6, 2017) Media Contact: Judy Abelman Email: Phone: 440.725.8861...

Q&A with Karen Fike, General Manager, Let’s Entertain party rental

Photo by Gery Petrof

Karen Fike opened Let’s Entertain party rental in Warrensville Heights in 1994, soon after her husband, former Browns offensive lineman Dan Fike, had retired from the NFL. With the company celebrating its 20th anniversary this month, Karen Fike expounded on her two decades in business and 27 years in Greater Cleveland.

Q: What’s a typical workweek like for you?

A: A typical workweek differs for me depending upon the season. Our busy season runs May through October; our slowest is from January through March. From May on I work primarily in the warehouse. I prefer to double-check the orders pulled, run picking slips, and schedule the drivers’ routes. I am very hands on and want to make sure our orders are correct and our customers’ wishes are fulfilled as much as possible. It is a good feeling when it is an afternoon on a Friday during the spring and summer and all of the orders for the weekend have been delivered. As the owner, however, of a small company, I am very involved in everything from helping with rental quotes, closing contracts, and paying the bills. I am incredibly blessed to have a wonderful staff, most being employed at Let’s Entertain for 10 years plus. During the slow season, I am able to work from home.

Q: Do you get to enjoy your weekends?

A: I have enjoyed my weekends off since 1999. When Let’s Entertain was founded I worked many Saturdays. My children would go to work with me with hopes of going to SeaWorld, the Cleveland Zoo or Geauga Lake when our showroom closed. On several weekends the workday extended into late afternoon, and sometimes we never made it. Being in business for 20 years has afforded me many opportunities, and one is the incredible employees who work for me. I have not worked a Saturday in many years and totally enjoy my weekends off. Let’s Entertain provides equipment to caterers, homeowners, hotels, country clubs, and any other venue that holds special events. Because of this, our office is mainly open on Mondays through Fridays.

Q: When you are free, what do you like to do in the Greater Cleveland area?

A: The area has grown significantly over the 27 years I have lived here. The Cleveland Browns have been a huge part of our lives, and we have most enjoyed going to the games. There is nothing like fall at the stadium and watching the Browns play. In the summer we spend most of our warm weekends at our lakehouse in Marblehead. Although we are only one hour away from Cleveland, every weekend is like a vacation.

Q: Your husband, Dan, played eight seasons with the Cleveland Browns. What is his role with Let’s Entertain?

A: For several years Dan was very involved in the founding and growing of Let’s Entertain. Due to the many injuries Dan sustained with the Cleveland Browns (two hip replacements and knee and wrist surgeries), he can no longer physically participate in the business like he did for several years. Dan still enjoys talking with customers, many of whom he considers dear friends.

Q: What led you to enter the event rental business?

A: I came to Ohio in 1986 when Dan and I were dating. We got married in 1987 and have lived here ever since. It was in 1994 when Dan retired from the NFL and we founded Let’s Entertain. Dan played in the National Football League for eight seasons with the Cleveland Browns, which had followed two years in the United States Football League. Dan and I founded Let’s Entertain together during the same year. I always wanted to follow in my dad’s footsteps, and Dan was a welcome participant. My father was the owner of a party/construction rental company in Michigan, and I always wanted to open a rental business. A special event rental company seemed exciting, where our only focus was on parties. Let’s Entertain has worked well for us. I love putting things together and creating something beautiful. We have a wonderful showroom in Warrensville Heights and plenty of room to showcase tables for a bride or special event. It is never a boring day.

Q: Anything unique about Let’s Entertain that you would like potential clients to realize?

A: Let’s Entertain has always focused most on individualized attention. We encourage our customers to order exactly what they want. We break racks of glasses, dishware, flatware, etc., and do not make our customers order equipment in whole racks or by the dozen. We offer high-end porcelain, such as Rosenthal, and heavy silver and stainless steel flatware. We welcome tent measurements and on many occasions visit people’s homes in order to give advice on what size tent will fit in their yards as well as to make suggestions on what they can rent to further make their event exciting.

Q: What Let’s Entertain events over the years are you most proud of?

A: The event that I would say I am most proud of was back in 1994, only a few months after our business opened. We supplied Gund Arena with over 1,000 place settings of Rosenthal china and, with only a handful of employees, managed to pull it off. The opening of Nordstrom’s in Beachwood ran a close second. Let’s Entertain was open for only a few years then, and we delivered four large trucks of equipment to Nordstrom’s newest location, which included thousands of glassware and china.

Q: Any big functions coming up in 2014?

A: In 2014 we look forward to providing equipment to hundreds of events, our largest being St. John Medical Center’s Festival of the Arts and Country Jam. This is a very special year for Dan and I and our staff at Let’s Entertain. In April we will be celebrating 20 years in business. We hope to have a celebration in the upcoming year, but nothing is in the works thus far.

Q: Best Browns memory?

A: Dan and I have many memories with the Cleveland Browns. Who can forget January of 1987, when the Browns went double-overtime with the Jets, and the consecutive years in the mid- to late-’80s, when the Browns were always in the playoffs?

Q: Least favorite Browns moment?

A: Our least favorite moments in Browns history were when Earnest Byner fumbled the ball and when the Browns moved to Baltimore.

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