From tented festivals to weddings and special events, Marianne’s Rentals brings in-demand rentals to Oklahoma and West Texas.
When Marianne Long became involved with a rental company in 1986, it consisted of one warehouse filled mostly with tools and very little party equipment. The tool side of the business was sold, and she began to grow the party inventory, which eventually became Marianne’s Rentals. Now, the business boasts seven warehouses to accommodate its expansive event inventory that includes tables, tents and chairs—as well as vintage furniture and linens that are in demand nationwide.
In for the long haul
A third-generation rental store owner, Long’s daughter Jennifer Rodriguez continues the tradition of building a family business with a strong financial foundation and strategic product offerings.
“Several members of my family work with me and our family tradition continues to grow,” Rodriguez says. “We keep a close watch on our market and are able to respond quickly to customer demand by bringing new products into the marketplace that have long-term rental potential.”
One of the categories that Marianne’s is known for is its linens, including stock linen rentals as well as custom designs. The company has also invested heavily in vintage furniture and decor, buying pieces at local flea markets and antique stores. “We do in-house upholstery using fabrics that can be coordinated with draping and linens,” Rodriguez says.
Party in the street
Although Marianne’s is largely known for its weddings and special events, tented festivals are also an important part of its business, many of which are annual events. Every Memorial Day weekend, in the middle of a street in Sulphur, Okla., Marianne’s provides tents for the Chickasaw Nation to host an art festival for local and national Indian artists in conjunction with their annual meeting. “We’ve been honored to partner with the Chickasaw Nation to provide tents for the festival for several years and watched its growth and success,” Rodriguez says.
For this year’s upcoming event the group has thus far reserved 112 10-by-10 foot tents plus a variety of other sizes for support structures. “The entire street festival is set up and removed within approximately 48 hours,” Rodriguez says. “Every year is different from the year before. We have had weather challenges from extreme wind to tornadoes.”
To meet the extreme wind challenges that are an ever-present concern for tented events in Oklahoma, Marianne’s has invested in engineered structures. “We have invested heavily over the years in products that come from reliable tent manufacturers that can provide the company with engineered specifications on their products, based on wind and other weather events,” Rodriguez says.
Hold that product
Recently Marianne’s adopted a new strategy for managing inventory demands for annual events. If the client provides dates for the following year’s event, Marianne’s will temporarily hold those products used the previous year as a courtesy. “That way the client doesn’t miss out on what they may need but they aren’t committed to the products until closer to their date,” Rodriguez says. “This really helps us see where our business is going to be further in advance. As the season draws closer, we reach out to get confirmations and deposits from the clients—and the sales team knows not to turn away rentals from other clients until we confirm with the annual event.”
Rodriguez notes that there is an increasing desire to create unique events and atmospheres that are positively affecting the event rental industry. “This drives us to seek out core products that can be used or enhanced in a variety of ways so that we can continually offer our clients beautiful, unique experiences.”