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Despite economy, businesses hosting parties for holidays

By Staff | Dec 22, 2008

Many small businesses have felt the economic pinch this season, but even though it is considered one of the toughest downturns in two decades, a new survey by SurePayroll — a national payroll service — indicates that six out of 10 small businesses are hosting a holiday party this year.
It has been common for most businesses to trim some unnecessary spending and costs over the last year to counteract less revenue, yet the study said that eight out of 10 businesses surveyed said they could afford a party.
Furthermore, seven out of 10 businesses admitted to spending as much on a party as they did last year.
The businesses are challenging the economic fallout by holding an office party because a majority of them said that employee morale is a major concern, according to the survey.
“It’s been a tough year for the business world, but most small business owners realize how essential it is to thank their employees for their hard work,” said Michael Alter, president of SurePayroll. “It shows that employers care about their staff so much that they are willing to go the extra mile to make the holiday season special.”
Fifty-six percent of business owners surveyed hold their parties at local restaurants, but this year many of them are looking for unique twists on the traditional party such as day-trips to casinos, bowling parties or concert visits.
Mike Quaintance, president of the Chamber of Commerce of Cape Coral, said he believes that most businesses are having holiday parties this year. The chamber had its party earlier this week at Cohen and Cohen Catering.
“It is an opportunity to show your appreciation for your staff,” said Quaintance. “Like other businesses, we aren’t able to give raises so this is a small way to be able to thank them.”
Restaurants in Cape Coral also are holding holiday parties for their staff. Sean O’Keefe, managing partner of the Bonefish Grill on Pine Island Road, said the restaurant held its party Sunday night.
Bonefish partnered with Stevie Tomatoes, who catered the Christmas party, and later the Bonefish Grill will cater Stevie Tomatoes’ party.
“As a company, we cut our budget in half for our Christmas parties, but I still think it is important for morale,” said O’Keefe. “We have to give something back to these people.”
Other companies in the Cape such as Team Aubuchon hosted holiday parties not only for the benefit employees, but also to raise money for non-profit organizations in the community. Team Aubuchon hosted its 10th Annual Helping Hands for the Holidays celebration in November where employees and the public were invited.
SurePayroll included in the survey a number of ways to plan for holiday parties. It recommended thinking about who is on staff, surveying office preferences, choosing a location wisely, keeping the festivities lighthearted and delegating responsibilities to other staff members.