Red Hat Rentals offers big-city options to rural East Texas.
In 2001, when the Jones family—Andy, Susan and Billy—decided to open the tent and event rental arm of their equipment rental company in rural East Texas, they didn’t let the fact that their small town lacked the population needed to support an event-based business stop them. They saw a need and were determined to fill it. So instead of pulling back from what might have seemed like a losing proposition, they pushed forward—and opened an additional tent and event rental site in a larger town about 40 miles away.
The result was that both Red Hat Rentals sites were able to share resources, while broadening their client base. The expansion worked so well that they opened a third site in 2009. Now the company provides tent and event services (in addition to equipment rentals) to 10 Texas counties that wouldn’t otherwise have ready access to such expansive and high-end options.
“Our real mission is to provide the same level of products to our rural service area that is offered to customers in the larger cities like Dallas and Houston,” says Andy Jones, co-owner. “And while we love to do corporate events and fundraisers, local weddings for 100 to 300 guests are our bread and butter.”
The Henderson County Cattle Baron’s Ball is a recurring event the company has provided tent and event services to for several years. One of several Cattle Baron’s Balls that take place throughout Texas, the event celebrates the rich cattle-based culture in big Texas fashion while raising money for cancer research.
For a Cattle Baron’s Ball at a private lakeside ranch, Red Hat Rentals constructed an open-air pavilion, creating the illusion of a tent out of a center pole, wires and strings of small white lights. “Dinner took place under the pavilion, and the twinkle lights provided enough light for the 750 guests,” Andy says. “The effect was beautiful.” Several small tents were set up around the pavilion as well.
Red Hat Rentals is continuing to expand its business practices, Andy says. When the company opened the third store in Palestine, they started modifying their business model to make use of the 30,000-square-foot facility. To that end, they moved most of the tent and event inventory to the new site and added laundry facilities, including soon-to-be-installed solar panels for the water heaters.