Masso's In New Jersey Expands It Services To Meet Customer Needs

By Whitney Carnahan

Commitment and an open mind are what propelled a well-established, family-owned catering company to add equipment rentals and now, full event services. HoWever, patriarch Joseph Masso says it's still about serving customers and having a good reputation that you can get the job done.

Masso's Events, Glassboro., NJ, was originally founded as a catering company by Dante Masso in 1930. He passed the business onto his sons, Andrew and Joseph Masso. Today, Joseph's sons, Joseph Jr. and Nick, also are in the business and work with brother-in-law Michael Slowinski and cousin Richard Masso, who is Andrew's son.

It was Joseph Sr. who decided to expand the business beyond catering and move into rentals. "People would come in, and of course I would recommend certain [Vendors] and 90 percent of the time they would book with them," he says. After awhile, he though, he thought, "Why not offers those services ourselves?"

We've been moving in a lot of different directions in the last six to seven years. We added tuxedos, then did invitations and then house music if they wanted house music. At our main location, we do ceremonies. We do china, silver and linens," he says. Years ago, you went to a store to buy groceries only. Now you buy medicine and can buy house wares. I like to tell people we have everything you need but the bride and groom," he says.

Catering was initially more of a seasonal business, but Masso says adding rentals and events services to the mix means there is little, if any, downtime anymore. "The objective, of course, is to have business coming in year-round. Employees want year-round work. They want some degree of knowing they have a job year-round. We have people who we're doing tents, tables and chairs for who we haven't done catering for - now you're working it in reverse.'' For instance, he says, certain times of the year, there's a huge demand for tents. "You can't have enough tents in the months of May, June and July. So, there are a lot of avenues you can pursue when it comes to renting tents. We got into tents, tables and chairs because we thought it ended itself to the business," he says.

"The more things you can do, the more the customer likes it," he adds. "Customers will come to the caterer before the rental store. They'll do the tent, tables and chairs from the same person."

He says offering so many services, however, is a challenge. "lt requires confidence in every area you're renting in and, at the same time, you have to have a satisfied customer in all areas," he says.

Large chain stores, he says, have been trying to emulate the attention smaller stores pay to customer service to gain a better reputation and more business. With more competition for business, he says it was a natural progression for his company to offer more services.

"We looked around to see what we could do. It's simple. You have a bride come in and she has to do invitations, tuxes and music. She has to do all these things, the whole nine yards. What, then, can you do to secure yourself a position? You have to try to evaluate something and say, 'Do I have a future? Is there a spot for you to be there?' If there's a need for your service, you'll do business. lt takes a lot of business sense, but it's also a gamble," Masso says. . •

After being in business 75 years, Masso says a company has to be willing to change. In his case, he says the decision to expand beyond catering and into other areas came down to commitment and money.

"It depends on how much you want to take on your own. How much can you put on the plate? Who do you have who knows what they're doing? Do you have enough nerve to do something? Is it sensible? Will it make you money? Can you rely on it? There are no robots yet that put tents up. It takes people and it takes common sense. Then you have to ask, 'How much money do you have?' and 'How much do you want to take on your own shoulders?"' RM

"It depends on how much you want to take on your own. How much can you put on the plate - Joseph Masso Sr.