This series of original articles focuses on our local business customers, employees and other areas of interest to our communities including local initiatives and non-profit organizations. We hope that you will find these interesting and informative, and that you will share them with your friends and colleagues via social media or by free subscriptions. It’s easy – just enter your email address or click on the Share on Facebook icon!Jackie and Matt Hatty have fun at work every single day!
That’s because they own and operate a dynamic party planning and event business called Fun Services based in Woodhaven, Michigan. Specializing in fairs, carnivals, corporate events and school fundraising programs, clients can relax and have fun while the event planning and operational logistics are managed for them.Jackie’s father, well known local businessman Joe Pitrone, started the company in 1969 along with his wife Jeanine. The Pitrone clan, including four daughters, lived in Trenton. A big community supporter, Pitrone was active as a Jaycee and was also a member of the Trenton Rotary Club.
Jackie, president, and her husband Matt, vice president, purchased the company from her parents in 1989, making it a continuing family affair – especially since their five children are also involved to one degree or another.“Jackie had worked in the business all along and always had a passion for it. Plus, both of our parents ran their own businesses. We saw the hard work it took but we also saw the advantages. So we took the plunge and have never regretted it,” Matt explained. “Originally, it was a franchise but I would describe it today as more like a distributorship. There are about 40 operations nationwide, and we have two colleagues in Michigan – one near Battle Creek and one in Grand Rapids.
“School programs are a large part of our business. Santa’s Secret Shop® and our Holiday Gift Shop® are particular favorites. Parent volunteers help children to select Christmas and holiday gifts for family members (and even pets) ranging from 25 cents to $10.00 with the majority in the $1.00 to $5.00 price range. The children are proud to choose their high quality gifts ‘in secret’. We find that this program aids in teaching children budgeting, counting and decision-making. And it’s turnkey. We provide everything the school needs to be successful including promotional materials, fliers, posters, decorative gift bags, delivery and pick up, plus our Express Check Out system for inventory and billing.”Both programs offer customizable gift selections, all of which comply with safety regulations. Schools can choose their own items and same day reorders are standard. Sports items are popular and there are numerous choices available in lower price ranges.
Other popular offerings for school, church, corporate and home parties include carnival games and prizes; inflatable bouncers, slides and obstacle courses; photo booths and cash cubes; dunk tanks; and concessions like cotton candy, sno cones and popcorn.Plus Fun Services provides tents, tables and chairs for private and corporate parties – a real necessity for graduations, family reunions, and other major outdoor events.
In addition to an office facility, Fun Services operates from a 4,800 square foot warehouse, and has a fleet of vehicles including vans, trailers and a box truck for transporting equipment. The company has six employees total, plus an additional two to three dozen seasonal employees during the summer months and throughout the holidays.“The economy has been a challenge recently, especially in the corporate special events segment of the business,” Matt stated. “But it’s slowly starting to come back. We’ve done some really fun picnics and carnivals for lots of different clients. We have about a 1 ½ hour reach as we cover clients throughout Southeast Michigan and the Toledo area.”
“We have provided lots of fun and created lots of smiles for long time customers such as Anderson Elementary and St. Joe’s schools in Trenton, the Hunter Elementary School in Woodhaven, and Monroe County Community College. We also work with local companies such as Ford Motor Company, DTE Energy, and Flat Rock Metal to provide entertainment for their community events, customer appreciation celebrations and employee picnics,” Jackie added.Fun Services also supports the local area charitably and regularly sponsors, for example, Trenton Rotary Club’s ‘Roar on the River’ boat race by providing the Children’s Fun Fair area – assisted by Monroe Bank & Trust’s ENLIST volunteers. The company is also actively involved with the Trenton Educational Foundation, among other organizations.
“We think it’s important to be part of the community and to give back,” Matt said. “In addition to sponsorships, we often supply gifts or merchandise to help charities. We’re also active in the business community and are members of the Southern Wayne County Chamber of Commerce, the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Metropolitan Detroit Visitors and Convention Bureau. We like to be involved. Recently, to help out, we donated our photo booth for the SWCCC Black Tie Expo and the Trenton Rotary Club’s Winter Beach Blast event – always a hit! We enjoy being able to assist when we can.”Matt’s advice for business owners is to have a cast iron stomach. “You’re going to need one to get through the tough times,” he explained. “You have to have a passion for what you do and really want to do it. And you need to be sure that you have adequate capital and resources behind you.
“For example, we’ve had a banking relationship with MBT for years. It really helps to have a personal banking relationship with people who care about you and your business when you need loans or lines of credit – or even for deposit banking. Jackie and I wear a lot of hats at work, so we need advisors we can trust and rely on.”Jackie and Matt live in Trenton with their children: Matthew (24) who attended Hillsdale College and recently received a Master in Music Composition from Bowling Green University; Christine (22), a graduate of Central Michigan University; Mitchell (19), a student at Central Michigan University; Caroline (16), a student at Trenton High School; and Max (12), a student at Arthur Middle School.
For your next party or event, please contact Fun Services! They’re located at 20430 Van Horn Road in Woodhaven, Michigan. They can be reached by telephone at (734) 671-5960, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on the web at www.funservicesofmichigan.com.