ATLANTA - Hollywood is on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and that means businesses that support the film and television industry are also on hold. One of those is Central Atlanta Props and Sets, a massive warehouse filled with set decorations and props used by locally-filmed productions.
"A week and a half ago, we were booming,” says Bob Lucas, owner of CAPS. “My order board was completely full, we had stuff just flowing in and out of here like crazy and it just...like hitting the wall, stopped almost immediately."
Lucas’s entire business is based on renting productions everything they need to build a realistic world on-screen, so no filming means no work. "My revenue stream has gone from very healthy and robust...to zero,” he says.
For now, Lucas says he’s laid off nine staffers, leaving just a skeleton crew to tidy up the 200,000-square-foot warehouse. He knows he’s not alone; Lucas says every aspect of the entertainment industry is being affected by the pandemic.
"I deal with the art department and set decoration people, and they're all just, like, done. And that's not counting the electricians, the grips, the camera people, the makeup people, the hair staff...it's a big industry here in Georgia."
Don and Gerrie Kaeding of Technical Props Inc are also feeling the hurt; after more than 25 years in California, the couple recently moved their business into the same facility as CAPS here in Georgia. Technical Props Inc specializes in laboratory and scientific equipment for use in motion pictures and television shows, and was just about to start renting out its inventory when productions shut down. Don Kaeding says right now, with 25,000 square feet of inventory ready to go, all he can do is wait.
In the meantime, Lucas has collected some boxes of unused medical supplies from his warehouse, which he plans to donate to local hospitals. And he’s optimistic that when filming resumes, business here in Georgia will be booming again.