Three brothers find success with a fresh, creative approach.
By Abbie Yarger
On a busy Saturday with three or four high-profile events spread across the state, John Hingeley, owner and president of Skyline Tent Co., Charlottesville, Va., can’t be everywhere at once. Luckily, he has his twin brother, Miles, and his younger brother, Jay, to help him out.
After working with various tent and construction companies, John and Miles decided they wanted to start their own company. “I like the seasonal aspect of the industry,” John says. “But it’s not quite so seasonal once you own your own company.”
A year after the company was established, Miles shut down his construction business to start working at Skyline full time as vice president.
Jay was hired in 2005 after earning a degree in hotel administration. “Once he graduated, we made him come work for us,” John jokes. Jay’s fluency in Spanish has proven to be a valuable asset to Skyline.
The first five years have been profitable for the company, and its high-budget events include large weddings, fundraisers and complicated installations. “We approach each event as a production, not just an opportunity for rental,” John says. “We don’t just set the tent up and leave; it’s a lot more hands-on than that.”
Even so, some guests get too caught up in the occasion to notice the tents. “They want to look past the tent and focus on the food or the lighting or the invitations and they don’t realize that tents are an integral part of the event,” John says. “They don’t give tents enough credit.”
Although people are cutting back on event spending, John says Skyline’s fresh ideas, creative approach and positive attitude give the company an edge. “We’re staying flexible and focusing on our big clients that we have a relationship with to keep them happy,” he says. “We’ll just wait until things get better for everyone.”