BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Taylor Rental celebrated their 50th year in business with a barbecue at their store located at 284 Springfield Ave. in Berkeley Heights.  

Mayor Angie Devanney stopped by the celebration and read a proclamation honoring the family owned and operated Taylor Rental for its 50 years. She also recognized business president Paul Neuwirth for his contribution to the business community and generosity to the township. 

For its 50th year, Taylor Rental has proudly donated to 50 different organizations, charities and activities in Berkeley Heights and surrounding communities. Neuwirth has also played an integral role in shaping the Berkeley Heights Business and Civic association and established the inaugural Berkeley Heights Block Party and has supported the successful Winter Walk among many other events. 

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Allan and Marcia Neuwirth opened the doors to Taylor Rental in 1969 following Allan's idea of opening an equipment rental store. They rented out half of the old Berkeley Lanes Bowling Alley on Springfield Avenue with a handful of tables and chairs, exercise equipment, one lawn mower, one roto tiller and hand power tools and opened up the very first rental center in New Jersey. Over the years, the Neuwirth family expanded operations and  took over the entire 10,000 square foot complex and the business took off. To this day, the wooden bowling lanes remain a unique feature of the building.

Paul Neuwirth, Allan and Marcia's oldest son, remembers working at the store as a 12 year old kid riding his bike from their New Providence home. He worked for the family business through high school and college until he launched his journalism career. Paul was a reporter for Gannett Newspapers and was the Sports Editor for the Morristown Daily Record.

In 1986, "my father was ill and my mom was running the business," said Paul. When Paul got the call to help the family business, he thought it would be a "stopover until I got a new job." -- He interviewed with the NY Times, Star Ledger and various magazines but decided to stay to help the family business. "So, I stayed here and that was 33 years ago." Paul has been president since 1995 and continues to run the daily operations.

Paul was the third sibling to assume the president role, with his younger brother Phil the General Manager and president up until 1990. The boys’ youngest sister, Lori Mattheiss was running the operation from 1990-1995 and remains an employee.

Paul reflected on how the business has changed through the years. At one time, the family owned Fun Services, an event business. -- "We did corporate parties all of the time -- with carnival games, inflatables, popcorn, cotton candy and prizes," said Paul. We would hire 50 kids and pay them to run the activities. "Any given weekend, we would have two or three events."

He said that over the years the party department has gotten bigger. In 2014, they opened a second location in South Plainfield.  Party rentals have gotten much bigger, however, the tool rental side of the business has shrunk a little, he said.

The party rental portion of the business features tent, table and chair rentals as well as linens, china, flatware, caterware, concession equipment and a variety of grills. Taylor Rental accommodates parties of all sizes -- a Christmas party for 500 guests with flooring, lighting, heat and tenting to the small backyard barbecue.  Paul said, his bread and butter are the home bridal showers, graduation and backyard parties. 

Taylor Rental of Berkeley Heights remains among a very few full service rental centers, providing products and services to a broad customer spectrum.

The homeowner, tool and contractor portion of the business offers a variety of do-it-yourself tools ranging in size from small hand tools to floor & carpet care to cement mixers and large Kubota brand loaders and backhoes. The center features brand equipment from Multiquip, Toro, Snapper, Bluebird and Bobcat.

A full-service Party Goods store, called “The Party Store” @ Taylor Rental is adjacent to the rental showroom. The retail outlet offers a wide variety of paper goods, party favors, balloons, decorations and a large seasonal Halloween store: children’s and adults costumes, makeup, decorations and holiday favors.

Visit the Taylor Rental website or visit their show room and store at 284 Springfield Ave. in Berkeley Heights.