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The personal touch

October 1st, 2015 / By: / Project Briefs, Projects

B.C. Tent & Awning Co. provided tent and event services for this October 2014 evening wedding at the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln, Mass. Photo by Millyard Studios
B.C. Tent & Awning Co. provided tent and event services for this October 2014 evening wedding at the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln, Mass. Photo by Millyard Studios

B.C. Tent & Awning Co. brings commitment and excellence to tented events.

Caught by the entrepreneurial spirit after working for someone else after college, in 1980 Bob Costa launched B.C. Tent & Awning Co. Inc. in his parents’ garage. Costa had worked summers for a tenting company throughout high school and college, and used his knowledge of the industry to launch what began as a part-time tenting venture.

In addition to providing the garage that housed the business, Costa’s father loaned him $1,800 over a two-year period, which Costa used to buy three tents and 25 panels of dance floor material. “My mother helped by maintaining the books, doing clerical tasks and some occasional stitching, and my dad (69 years young at this time) drove the truck and helped install tents with me in the early days,” Costa says. “I credit both of my parents and my friends for my early and long-term success. They were the true founders of B.C. Tent, as they supported their youngest son in his new venture.”

The business became a full-time effort shortly after its inception, and in 1990 it became necessary to relocate to a warehouse, which it quickly outgrew as well. The facility is now located in a 20,000-square-foot building in the Avon Industrial Park area of Avon, Mass., and in addition to providing tent and party rental, the company fabricates custom awnings and commercial and residential fabric shelters. B.C. Tent is in the process of adding a 60-by-120-foot addition, with 30-foot eaves, to the warehouse. Costa’s plan is to eventually include a solar array as a part of the addition.

In the public eye

Over its 35-year history, B.C. Tent has provided services for some high-profile events, including those for the United States Secret Service, for the 2003 visit of the president of Pakistan and for the Red Sox when they won the 2004 World Series. “When the president of Pakistan came to Boston to speak at one of the universities, security concerns—and tensions—were high,” Costa says. “The event occurred during the height of our country’s fight with the Taliban, and the president of Pakistan was on the top of the ‘hit list.’ B.C. Tent’s mission, which we accomplished, was to have a tent that connected the president’s limousine to the building so that he was not visible to the outside.”

Then and now

As the industry changes, so does what B.C. Tent offers its clients. Costa has noticed an increase in demand for frame tents and a decrease in demand for pole tents. “Ballasting is also becoming the norm in the industry,” he says.

B.C. Tent provides tenting each year for the Greek Festival Brockton in Brockton, Mass. “We have been doing this festival since B.C. Tent’s early years,” Costa says. “At one time it was our company’s largest single event. Now, it’s the largest fundraising event for this particular client.”

The tent industry’s future is looking bright, according to Costa, in particular the relationship between tent rental and corporate events. “Increasingly, corporations see the value and ease of using a tent for their functions,” he says. “One of the more prestigious country clubs in the Greater Boston area, with a commanding view of the Boston skyline, has a tent outside for many of its overflow functions. Tents are increasingly a part of the landscape, and an improving economy has also shown an uptick in interest in tenting.”

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