LOS ANGELES - A Torrance-based events company has pivoted from servicing some of the biggest festivals, sporting events and awards shows in the region to helping hospitals and restaurants. Choura Events saw a booming business collapse as the global pandemic arrived in Southern California last year.
"We were building BNP Paribas tennis in Indian Wells last year, we had just sent our first truck to Coachella and there was one COVID case in Riverside. The next thing you know, they’re saying we need to cancel all these events," said Ryan Choura, the company’s founder.
He says it was devasting to layoff many of the company's employees.
"The first thing you think about is all the people and the families. We had roughly 200 employees and you think about the spouses and what this will mean for a family," he said.
But jobs were spared when the company put its unique skill set to work. As hospitals faced the possibility of overflowing ER's and ICU’s, Choura’s team sprung into action, constructing triage units outside hospitals at whiplash pace.
They also started building massive coronavirus testing sites.
"I met a doctor that was doing COVID tests out of his minivan at the Westminster Mall and there were 400 cars lined up. I said, 'I can help you. We can make this a lot more streamlined,'" he said.
Choura Events has built over 70 testing sites in six different state, helping to administer more than 300,000 tests. They’ve now turned their attention to mass vaccination sites.
They’ve even started to help restaurants and small businesses suffering during the pandemic.
"I just want to see these restaurants survive they’re up against so much," Choura said.
Choura Events has constructed more than 150 parklets, street expansions, and outdoor dining areas at a significantly reduced cost.
"When you the chef, the busboys, the waiters, you feel so good about it. It’s awesome to keep them going," he said.
"The one thing I never want to lose is doing good for people. Whether it’s an event restaurant or any sort of build that’s one quality and characteristic I learned through this process that I don’t ever want to let go," said Choura.