A former summer-only business becomes one of Chicagoland’s most reputable tent vendors.
As a college student who needed to earn extra income during the summers, David Cesar launched a small part-time tent and event rental company in 2006 in Chicago, Ill. Operating out of a single truck and trailer, the company mostly handled small backyard events for private clients. After graduating from Eastern Illinois University in 2008, Cesar found himself faced with a decision: close the business, sell the assets and seek a corporate job or invest in the business to grow it into a sustainable year-round venture. Cesar chose the latter and has no regrets.
Short- and long-term installations
Today, Blue Peak Tents Inc. employs approximately 50 part-time employees in its busy season—a number that grows every year. Operating in the Midwest, harsh winters bring seasonal challenges that decrease private tenting needs. To bridge the gap between off-season and peak, the company is taking on more long-term installations during the winter months.
Cesar and his staff keep in mind the company’s organic roots as it continues to grow and take on more demanding installations. The logistical challenges for a private event at a boutique hotel on the 4th story terrace of a downtown Chicago building showcased Blue Peak Tent’s growing expertise. The crew installed a 40-by-60-foot clear top tent on a leveled Bil-Jax® floor. City restrictions required a tight time frame for installation and removal, so all parts of the operations process needed to be precisely planned and executed. The second challenge was that the building’s freight elevator could only fit beams and parts that were less than 11 feet long. Cesar and his crew hired a crane service to hoist most of the tent parts and flooring 60 feet to the terrace.
Consolidations through mergers and acquisitions, as well as some companies dissolving, are changing the tent and event industry landscape in the Midwest.—David Cesar
Blue Peak’s staff is embracing the rustic trend that has been holding strong, featuring wood tables, chairs, tent floors and poles—but with its own take on it. “We like to create what we call ‘rustic elegance,’” Cesar says. “When done properly it can be quite visually stimulating.”
Cesar also cites the emergence of the “Pinterest weddings” as both a source of inspiration as well as a challenge. Brides bring in a collage of images gathered from Pinterest in the hopes of recreating the looks at a minimal cost. “While our top priority is to create the event the bride is dreaming of, often we have to be more realistic with brides as to what can be done within their budget compared to their inspiration,” he says.
Consolidations through mergers and acquisitions, as well as some companies dissolving, are changing the tent and event industry landscape in the Midwest, Cesar says. “The thriving companies within our region have been the ones that are able to keep up with industry trends, properly maintain and update inventory and provide one-of-a-kind service to their clients,” he says. “It’s certainly not an easy feat, but it’s how we strive to run our daily operations at Blue Peak Tents and we continue to push the envelope to offer our clients an unforgettable event experience.”