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Island tenting

Industry News | June 1, 2011 | By:

Hawaii Tents & Events refocuses with the economy to continue making dreams come true.

As a major tent supplier to the Hawaiian Islands, Hawaii Tents & Events in Waipahu installs about 87,000 square feet of tents for the Honolulu Marathon every year. And when rental manager Dennis Young reflects on the job, he thinks about participants such as Gladys Burrill, who at the 2010 marathon became the oldest woman to ever finish a marathon, according to Guinness World Records. (She was 92, and she finished in a little less than 10 hours.)

“We help people make their dreams come true,” Young says. “We take ordinary days and make them extraordinary ones.”

Hawaii is a natural location for tented events—after all, if you’re coming to the Islands, the last place you want be is in a ballroom, Young says. Tented events are held year-round, with the high season for conventions running November through April.

“Working in a tight-knit market requires developing long lasting partnerships with organizers of annual events such as the NFL Pro Bowl, Honolulu Marathon and Pineapple Festival,” he says.

One of Young’s favorite events celebrates the state’s keikis (children) at the state capitol as a kick-off to Children and Youth month every October.

“I like that event because we have an opportunity to give back to the community as a company and really help in shaping the spirit of volunteerism,” he says.

In the early days of Hawaii Tents, the company served both camping and party rental markets, but discontinued the camping side in the 1980s to focus solely on event and tent rental. Before the recession, the company’s primary business came from convention, resort and sporting events, with weddings and social events comprising only about 20 percent of its work.

“When the economy tanked, we refocused our energy and set out to capture the wedding market, which was still active,” Young says. “It was the wedding business that kept our doors open and brought in the much needed income stream that the convention business now lacked.”

Hawaii Tents found success in offering affordable packages to brides who desire a “midrange level” event. Because destination brides usually work with a local wedding planner in Hawaii, much of the company’s marketing efforts focuses on event planners.

“That requires us to bring in new products to offer the wedding coordinators so they can be progressive in their marketing of our company—products that allow them to be on the cutting edge of trends,” he says.

Recently, the company began offering furniture, cabanas, specialty linens and wood folding chairs in assorted finishes to meet the hot demand for lounge areas at events.

“There’s nothing like a starlit night under a beautiful tent on the Islands,” Young says.

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