Partnering for an african venture

Röder UK and Custom Covers partner to enter East African market.

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When Pauline Nyachae of Wonderland Events Ltd., Nairobi, Kenya, went searching internationally for a supplier for a new structure, she connected with Nick Lavy, director of Röder UK, a division of Röder Zeltsysteme und Service AG.

Nyachae met Lavy in the Röder UK offices near Cambridge, and the two spent about a year exchanging emails, photos and prices, until they settled on a size and design: a 15-by-30-meter structure on 3-meter legs with roof covers and gables in opaque PVC and walls in translucent PVC (both fabrics by Ferrari) as well as window walls and roof window panels to allow in natural light. The standard Röder frame included beams drilled to extend the structure to 20 meters if desired.

Lavy turned to Custom Covers (1984) Ltd., Southhampton, U.K., for interior liners. Custom Covers supplied an ivory pleated lining with window drapes and a set of swags in Kenyan national colors.

The next step was arranging a shipper and container to the port city of Mombasa. Lavy and Vaughn Coutts, sales manager with Custom Covers, flew to Nairobi in April for the “first up” and to train the Wonderland crew in proper and safe installation practices.

“The reaction from Kenyans was very positive, and we are hoping for more business out there,” Lavy says. “Several influential customers dropped in to watch as we built it, and were suitably impressed.”

Nyachae shared with Lavy how pleased she was with the quality of the marquee and linings, and how impressed she was with the service from both suppliers. Nyachae’s full-service event management company also rents chairs, linens, tables, flooring, lighting and custom decor.

Good weather and plenty of Tusker (a Kenyan brand of beer) helped top off an enjoyable and valuable trip, Lavy says.

“This is the first of hopefully many more marquees as we introduce European quality to East Africa,’’ he says.

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