New TRD chairman says the tent rental industry is ‘a hard business, a lot of work, but rewarding.’
Jim Reyen says that the tent rental industry is in his blood. His father, James R. Reyen, started working on a Eureka! tent rental crew in the 1960s and spent 37 years in the business. As a child, Jim would accompany his dad to tent sites, and he worked at the Eureka! production facility while in high school and college.
“I was in my second semester of my MBA and [national sales manager] Ken Nigh gave me a call,” Reyen says. “He needed a person to assist him in handling the day-to-day sales and marketing activities. It sounded like a great opportunity, and here I am 17 years later.”
While contributing to Eureka! sales achievements and product launches, Reyen is most proud of the company’s response to a devastating storm in the summer of 2006 that flooded the production facility.
“We quickly assembled a team and I was able to find alternate office space,” he says. “The flood hit on a Tuesday and we were shipping again on that Friday. Through months of rebuilding, we did not miss an order and actually exceeded our sales targets that year. This disaster made the team stronger and our company is better for it at this time.”
Reyen says that membership in the Tent Rental Division of IFAI offers educational and networking opportunities that can help tent professionals improve their business’s image, efficiency, growth rate and profitability.
“I believe that it is true that if you are not attempting to learn new ways to improve your business, you are going backward,” he says. “Even if your business is doing well, you should still focus on learning.”
The professionals in this industry are hardworking, creative people, he says, but like any industry, they face major challenges, including the economy, imports and codes and safety issues.
“I think that the industry has weathered a very difficult period, and it is not over,” he says. “I do have confidence that this industry will flourish, people will continue to party and the outdoor event will be here for a long time.”