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Announcing the winners of the Reader’s Choice Awards

Features, Reader's Choice Awards | April 1, 2018 | By:

InTents magazine is 25 years old! To celebrate, we are awarding excellence and innovation in the event tent industry.

In December, we asked InTents readers to vote for the best of the best in 25 categories. What companies, products and services do InTents readers depend on to run their business? Who supplies the best frame tent? What tool saves the day for tent installers? And which dance floor helps your customers party like it’s 1992 (the first year InTents was published!)? Read on to find out!

EDITOR’S NOTE: Honorable mentions are listed in alphabetical order.

Best Frame Tent Provider

Anchor Industries |

Engineered for the demands of the rental industry, the Navi-Trac® family of tents from Anchor Industries Inc. is certified to meet ASCE 7-10 building codes, is expandable from 30-foot to 50-foot widths and offers flexible, open interiors. Fabric choices for tops and walls include solid, clear and sheer options. The Navi-Trac family includes the Navi-Trac Lite in 20-foot and 30-foot widths, a Pavilion, a Bow Marquee and a variety of accessories and options. “The advantage of Anchor’s Navi system is its scalability combined with the precision and quality of the frame and fabric,” says Bob Traina, CEO of PEAK Event Services, Woburn, Mass. “Once you install a Navi, you have a pretty good understanding of how it works. It requires fewer jacks than other track systems on the market. That means less experienced, smaller crews can install a Navi, which makes Navi a very profitable long-term investment.”

Honorable mention: Aztec Tents, Economy Tent Int’l., Eureka! The Tent Company

Best Tension/Pole Supported Tent Provider

Anchor Industries |

The Century® Tension Tent is a flagship Anchor product. Available in 40- to 120-foot widths, engineered and certified Century Tents are strong, durable and enduring. From elegant to functional, events feel special under its expansive interior. The Century family expanded over the years to meet rental customers’ needs. The line includes the Century Mate in 20- and 30-foot widths, the Century Mate Expandable and the Century Frame tent. “The Century Tent provides a strong return on investment because people love the look, so we can charge a premium for the rentals,” says Steve Frost, president, Stamford Tent & Event Services of Stamford, Conn. “Even though a clear-top Navi tent or Venue structure looks great, a well-decorated 60- to 120-foot Century has a majesty about it that cannot be replicated with another tent. I don’t think the timeless, grand old peak-top look will ever go out of style, so we maintain a large inventory of Anchor Century Tents.”

Honorable mention: Aztec Tents, Celina Tent, Eureka! The Tent Company

Best Clearspan Provider

Losberger De Boer |

At Losberger De Boer, 1,200 employees around the world work together to deliver competent and reliable service and proven, fully engineered products. Temporary and semi-permanent solutions range from 3 meters (10 feet) to 60 meters (200 feet) wide. Single and two-story structures with an array of accessories, flooring, glass walls and a host of modules make the Losberger De Boer system original, functional and flexible. “We joined the Losberger family for their great products, but we have been blown away by the customer service, training and leadership they have provided our team,” says Josh Kohn of SOHO Events and Rentals, Mobile, Ala. Brandon Ahlgren of Elite Events & Rentals, Tampa, Fla., adds, “My biggest fear was getting into something we wouldn’t know how to use. Our Losberger sales rep basically became part of our team. He came on several site visits to advise us and make sure we knew what it would take to get the job done correctly. When it came to installing, they were there every step of the way. We can’t wait for what’s next!”

Honorable mention: Anchor Industries, Aztec Tents, Eureka! The Tent Company, Grandchamp Structure Design, Shelter Structures America

Best Sailcloth-style Provider

Aztec Tents |

Since 1966, Aztec Tents has produced award-winning tents and structures for event rental companies, hotels, country clubs, caterers, award shows, governments and other custom, off-site event locations. Aztec is known for its diversity of product and strong collection of tent professionals, with exclusive representatives throughout the U.S., Europe and Australia. The company’s service team includes sales, production, engineering and manufacturing personnel to support each product. Aztec Tents has been honored with several International Achievement Awards for its outstanding specialty fabric projects, including the Outstanding Achievement Award in the tent manufacturing category. “Aztec Tents recognized a niche, underground tenting trend that was sweeping across New England in the mid 2000s, and are solely responsible for bringing about the worldwide sailcloth craze that remains to be in trend today,” says Sean McCarthy of McCarthy Tents & Events, Rochester, N.Y. “Taking an aesthetically amazing product, Aztec put their tent manufacturing skills to work and made a solid, safe sailcloth product that meets the quality that rental providers have come to expect.”

Honorable mention: Anchor Industries, Fred’s Tents & Canopies Inc., Sperry Tents

Most Innovative Tent Supplier

Anchor Industries |

Anchor introduced patent-pending Weather-Shield™ wall attachment technology in 2015 that seals out wind and rain on the Aurora™ Sheer Top Tent. It is the latest in a century-plus history of firsts for Anchor, including advancing the tent rental business with the Fiesta® Tent in the 1950s. Innovations that followed include the Anchor Module tension tent, tent leasing programs, Century and Century Mate, Navi-Trac and Navi-Trac Lite, F3 (a next-gen lightweight frame tent with minimal parts), and the Venue proprietary design clearspan structure. “Anchor showed up a little late to the sailcloth dance, but when they introduced the Aurora, we knew they had taken the time to get it right,” says John Hingeley, president of Skyline Tent Co., Charlottesville, Va. “The consistency and quality in the construction of the tops along with the proprietary sheer-top fabric which glows at events, combined with the Weather-Shield seal between the top and walls, is a real value-added feature.”

Honorable mention: Aztec Tents, Eureka! The Tent Company, Fred’s Tents & Canopies, Losberger De Boer

Best Customer Service (any provider)

Anchor Industries |

A four-generation family business since 1892, Anchor Industries’ values include treating everyone with respect, pursuing continuous improvement and listening before acting with integrity and humility. Anchor provides hands-on sales relationships, after-the-sale care and in-house engineering expertise. “Anchor leaders serve on industry boards and association committees. The company has engineers, office staff and production workers with 20, 30, even 40-plus years of experience in the tent industry. Working with Anchor is like working with more than a partner; it’s like working with family and friends,” says George Smith, executive vice president and managing partner of Mahaffey Tent & Event Rentals, Memphis, Tenn. “They care that much about our success as a business. And it is not because Mahaffey is a big company. They treat every customer that way.”

Honorable mention: Aztec Tents, Block and Roll Tent Ballast Solutions, Economy Tent, Losberger De Boer

Best Tent Fabric Supplier

Snyder Manufacturing |

WeatherSpan™ products and Snyder PVC coated mesh offer abrasion, mildew, weather and UV resistance while sustaining high tensile and tear strength. WeatherSpan is ideal for commercial, rental and corporate tents, while Snyder PVC coated mesh is utilized for shading and windscreens. KlearSpan™ is a durable, high-strength, reinforced clear fabric with mildew, weather and UV resistance. PermaBar™ is a vinyl laminate fabric with a stripe that is an additional ply of outdoor-grade vinyl film heat-laminated to the base fabric. This durable outdoor fabric resists tears, rips and abrasion while maintaining light stability. Ideal for noisy tents, Snyder Sound Barrier fabrics are flexible, high-density, reinforced vinyl products that resist the passage of sound waves and reduce the transmission of airborne noise. “Snyder Manufacturing not only provides our company with great products that we use to manufacture our tents, but the company also has the innovation and service support we need to stay at the forefront of the industry,” says Alex Kouzmanoff, vice president of Aztec Tents, Torrance, Calif.

Honorable mention: HEYtex® BondCote Corp., Serge Ferrari, Verseidag

Best Anchor System Provider

Block and Roll Tent Ballast Solutions |

Block and Roll® Tent Ballast Solutions was born out of experience—the team at Block and Roll compiled a wish list of features and designed a system to give tent rental companies an efficient way to ballast tents and inflatables when staking isn’t an option. The versatile patented system features blocks that offer forklift friendly, pallet-free moving and storage as well as a lightweight hand truck for moving up to 700-pound weights. The block design features multiple tie-off points, considerations for various terrains and adaptability with stacking at multiple points. “During the California drought, we decided it was time to transition from using water barrels to a concrete ballast system,” says Kevin Vasquez, Made in the Shade Tent Rentals, West Sacramento, Calif. “While shopping around for something easy to use and simple to transition into, we found Block and Roll. With their easy handling systems, range of sizing in their concrete blocks, forms to manufacture blocks in-house and outstanding customer service, we’ve never looked back.”

Honorable mention: Hogan Co., Pioneer Tool and Forge Inc.

Best Flooring System

BilJax |

The TF2100 Floor System from BilJax® is an elevated tent floor system engineered to create a seamless integration between the tent structure and floor. The design allows for quick set-up and teardown, which reduces labor cost and allows better optimization of a tent company’s investment. The integrated TF2100 system allows for safe and efficient elevation of clearspan structures on uneven ground and hillsides. “The BilJax TF2100 flooring system has become one of the best innovations in our industry in the past 10 years,” says Mike Holland, Chattanooga Tent Co., Chattanooga, Tenn. “The product’s design of integration with the tent affords significant savings in labor and design safety. We are confidently providing very unique installations for
our customers.”

Honorable mention: Dura-Trac Flooring Ltd., Signature Systems Group, Wenger Corp.

Best Staging System

BilJax |

The AS2100 Staging System from BilJax is an aluminum stage designed for ease of use and durability. The AS2100 is for indoor or outdoor use and utilizes minimal components. Decks are available in a variety of shapes and sizes, and all decking includes Velcro® for the option of skirting. Deck component parts are replaceable, so if any damage should occur, it can be repaired. The system has quick snap-in legs and guard rail panels. The snap-in legs are interchangeable with BilJax’s AS2100, ST8100 Steel Staging and the TF2100 Tent Floor System utilizing a universal adapter, which provides increased flexibility to meet customer needs.

Honorable mention: Granite Industries, Wenger Corp.

Best Dance Floor Provider

Signature Systems Group |

From vinyl topped, to oak finger parquet, Signature Systems Group offers floors that get the party started. Celebrating 20 years of growth and innovation in 2018, Signature Systems manufactures a wide range of high-quality indoor and/or outdoor portable dance floors. The floors are quick to install and dismantle, easy to clean and can be reused for many years. The company’s California Portable Dance Floor line creates an even, stable dance surface over unprepared or uneven ground indoors and out. A one-of-a-kind dance floor is quickly installed with VersaFloor, Signature’s patented customizable dance floor panels. DanceDeck® small panel dance floors install easily without tools, are lightweight and provide excellent stability. In addition to dance floors, Signature Systems Group engineers and manufactures innovative composite matting, turf protection, sports flooring and fencing for construction, sports and hospitality events around the world, including the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympics and the Oscars for the past 15 years.

Honorable mention: Palmer Snyder, SICO Inc.

Best Portable Tent Heater

L.B. White Co. |

With their clean look, quiet operation and fuel-efficient direct-fired design, L.B. White Premier® heaters deliver safe, dependable heating and air circulation for tented events. From elegant weddings to company parties, Premier heaters can be used to provide heat or simple air circulation. Select from LP or easy-to-switch dual-fuel models. “I have been purchasing my construction and event heaters from L.B. White Co. for 25 years,” says Joe Seefeld, purchasing agent for Arena Americas. “I have found several exclusive products for our rental equipment line. They always provide outstanding customer service and communication. I will continue to use them for all of my portable heater sourcing.” Bryan Parks of Rentquip, Point Roberts, Wash., adds, “Through several years of producing superb product and supplying excellent customer service, L.B. White has become one of our most trusted, important partners.”

Honorable mention: Flagro USA Inc., Frost Fighter Inc., Heatstar by Enerco

Best Fan or Cooling System

Schaefer Ventilation |

Pole-mounted fans from Schaefer Ventilation cool tents, circulate heat and detract bugs. The all-white 12-inch fans blend in with most tents and are quiet so that they are felt, not heard. Their deep-guard design provides high airflow, low noise levels and superior safety. Matched high-quality motors and blades create maximum efficiency, and powder-coated steel guards provide increased durability and corrosion resistance. Use one fan every 15 to 20 feet. Made in the USA featuring a steel powder-coated mounting bracket, power cord and two-year limited warranty. “Two years ago we invested in Schaefer pole-mounted tent fans,” says Chris Strickland of Special Events, Tuscaloosa, Ala. “In the past two rental seasons the tent fans have paid for themselves five times over. Plus they still look and function great.”

Honorable mention: Big Ass Fans, Cool-A-Zone, United CoolAir

Best Custom Graphic Supplier

Fred’s Tents & Canopies |

Venues are becoming increasingly unique, and customers are looking for that perfect, customized accent. Fred’s Tents’ in-house large-format printing capabilities, along with its ability to accommodate any size, shape or style helps tent rental companies stand out from their competition. “We have developed a great partnership with Fred’s Tents over the years, and their dedication to our printing needs is evident in all aspects of the end product,” says Joe Thomas of Tentlogix, Fort Pierce, Fla. “Their attention to detail, timeliness and creative expertise helps bring our printing projects to life.”

Honorable mention: Rainier Industries Ltd., Rocken Graphics

Best Stake Driver

Tent OX |

The OX Driver stake driving attachment for the Tent OX™ system doubles the productivity of a tent crew. A single operator with about three hours of practice time can consistently drive an average of 30 stakes on a 60-foot-wide top in half the time it takes two people
to accomplish the same task with another driver, a 75 percent savings in labor hours. The Tent OX Loader and OX Driver attachment are designed with precision in mind. The system virtually eliminates the potential for bending stakes by applying exactly the pressure required. The Tent OX design also takes away the need for the operator to raise the front wheels off the ground to get a smooth and quick drive. Its 6-function joystick allows the operator to simply press the button to drive a stake, reducing the potential for mishaps and injuries.

Honorable mention: Atlas Copco, Rhino Tool Co., Wacker Neuson Group

Best Stake Puller

Tent OX |

Most power pullers require physical effort and a lot of backing up, which is inefficient. The OX Puller requires much less effort—the operator can pull an entire tent’s worth of stakes without leaving the cab or breaking a sweat, and rarely needs to back up, meaning that it is safer and more efficient. With the Tent OX’s high-flow hydraulics, the OX Puller is easy to control at fast and slow speeds. Operators-in-training will quickly adjust to the range of speed in the OX Puller. Running the OX Puller is a one-person job. The operator drives around the tent counterclockwise on the outside of the footprint. The puller is offset to the left, and the stake puller opening is to the left. The pulling process is very quick because there is no wasted motion.

Honorable mention: Block and Roll Tent Ballast Solutions, Green Monster Manufacturing, JackJaw

Best Keder Supplier

Keder Solutions LLC |

Keder Solutions offers high quality keder products and accessories for the tent industry. “We use Keder Solutions because of their superior product as well as their outstanding service,” says Chris Harrison of Superior Structures Inc., Harrison, Ohio. “It is nice to have a supplier that cares about developing a quality product just as much as we do in our manufacturing.” Keder from Keder Solutions creates a continuous waterproof connection between fabric and frame. For maximum strength, double-coated keder is available. DuraKeder uses the company’s FULLY bonding process, adhering the fabric all the way around the cord. The company designs, manufactures and distributes textile reinforcement products internationally. “Keder Rail Hangers are a staple in our manufacturing division,” says Robyn Miller of Avalon Tent Mfg. Inc., Anaheim, Calif. “We wouldn’t sell our products without using the highest quality components in durability, and Keder Solutions’ Keder Rail Hangers are definitely a top choice in our kedered sidewalls.”

Honorable mention: American Keder, Rainier Industries

Best Installation Equipment or Tool

Tent OX |

Entering its fourth year, Tent OX is transforming the way tent and event companies install large, commercial fabric-covered structures and traditional pole tents. Tent OX combines a compact, articulated loader with a host of U.S.-designed and built attachments. Hydraulic power replaces manual installation techniques for driving and pulling stakes, moving heavy materials to the tent site and pulling large, fabric roof panels. Tent OX customers report significant labor savings, and smaller crews complete jobs 25 to 40 percent faster. “The Tent OX cuts our labor every single day,” says Ramsey Duqum, CEO and owner of AAble Rents of Cleveland, Ohio. “It helps our crew save energy to get through the entire week, and it makes their days far more reasonable.”

Honorable mention: Block and Roll Tent Ballast Solutions, Green Monster Manufacturing, Rainier Industries

Best Tent Washer

Teeco Solutions |

Teeco Tent Washing Machines are a long-term investment offering features that pay for themselves. They are easily installed by moving with a forklift, plugging in the electrical cord and connecting the hose. The automatic operation safely washes tents with fresh warm wash and rinse water—30 percent of B-grade tents become A-grade in their first wash. After three years of use, purchasers receive a credit for a larger machine equal to what they paid for the first machine. Five-year machine warranty. “I own a lot of Tentnology-brand tents,” says Russ Jaynes of Idaho Tents & Lighting, Boise, Idaho. “I sent some two-to-three-year-old sidewall back to them for repairs and they asked me if they’d ever been used! They commented that most of the tents they get back for repair are extremely dirty. My Teeco Tent Washing Machine made them look brand new. I also had a regular customer ask me if I’d bought new tents the next season after I’d got my Teeco washer and cleaned everything up to white again.”

Honorable mention: CCC Washers Inc. (Charnecke Tents), SKP GmbH

Best Cleaning or Repair Supplier

Shipp Cleaning Systems |

Shipp Tent Cleaner was developed just for tent cleaning. Approved by two major vinyl fabric manufacturers, the cleaner removes and penetrates dirt film while protecting acrylic coatings and the integrity of the vinyl. The cleaner can be used in all types of hand cleaning of tents as well as in the latest automatic cleaning machines. It leaves a whiter white and the coatings shining. Also from Shipp, Blitz mildew remover is safe for vinyl—just spray on the Blitz and watch the mildew disappear. Citro T87 is an organic cleaner developed from orange peels that dissolves adhesives, tar, grease and oils on tents and is safe for all vinyl, unlike petroleum orange cleaners that can permanently yellow vinyl. Citro also removes lipstick and food grease from linens. Finally, Miracle Tent Mildew Proof bonds with the molecular structure of vinyl fabric to prevent mildew growth for one year, which is especially important on long term tent exposures.

Honorable mention: Losberger De Boer, Rainier Industries, Teeco Solutions

Best Tent Liner Supplier

structure | LINERS |

For 10 years, structure | LINERS has provided tent and party rental companies with high quality fabric interior liners and accessories. Applications include temporary or permanent installation in all special event tents, in addition to venues and custom applications such as corporate events, themed structures and unique installations. All interior fabric liners are manufactured with inherently flame retardant material to pass NFPA 701.

A variety of standard frame and clearspan items are always in stock in four popular color choices, with many more available upon request. “‘Fantastic’ is the only way to describe the liners and wall drapes we receive from structure | LINERS,” says Michael Wright of Celebrations! Party Rentals, Roseville, Calif. “Christopher and Kara pay so much attention to detail and getting it right the first time that we would never go anywhere else. Our customers demand great products, and structure | LINERS is a wonderful business partner to help us deliver!”

Honorable mention: Baytex Tent Liners (Rainier Industries), Economy Tent

Best Rental Furniture Supplier – IT’S A TIE between two companies!

Palmer Snyder |

Approaching its 100th anniversary as a U.S. manufacturer, Palmer Snyder is still based in the same small western Pennsylvania town of Conneautville. The company began as “Snyder chair” in 1919, making x-frame wood folding chairs from locally sourced Appalachian hardwoods. Renamed Palmer Snyder in the mid-1970s, the company has served the event rental business for more than 40 years. “We owe our long history to our loyal customers, fantastic employees and a commitment to upholding our manufacturing quality standards,” says president Roger Clark. “As any manufacturer that serves the event/rental business knows, poor quality shows up quickly! We are honored to be receiving this award from InTents magazine and look forward to our next 100 years. Let me offer our most profound and humble gratitude to our customers and employees who made this possible.” Rick Crum, CERP, vice president of operations, Premiere Events, Austin, Texas, says the quality and customer service from Palmer Snyder are worth it. “The products we purchase from Palmer Snyder are always top notch,” he says. “We will continue to use Palmer Snyder for as many products as possible.”


SOLUTIONSCMR is dedicated to bringing innovative products to event rental companies. With edgy, modular designs, furniture in the company’s INOUT collection can be mixed and matched to create provocative spaces, unique environments and versatile groupings. Appropriate for indoor and outdoor venues, the pieces are designed with lightweight, all-weather materials and waterproof encasement with easily removable and replaceable skin/covers in 12 color options. Furniture pieces in the SOLID Collection are lightweight while offering stability due to their geometric and well-defined cut. The stackable collection includes a sofa, armchair, chair with armrest, dining table and coffee table.

Honorable mention: CORT Event Furnishings, Event Equipment Sales, McCourt Manufacturing

Best Linen Supplier

A-1 Tablecloth Co. |

Founded in 1989, A-1 Tablecloth Co. recognized the need in the special events industry to provide quality linens at lower prices. A-1 was the first company to both rent and sell table linen nationwide. A-1 serves every state in the U.S. along with numerous international venues and businesses. The company carries a vast selection of fabrics in its inventory, from solid polyesters to lustrous taffetas, satins, damasks, velvet and more. With A-1’s recent acquisition of R&F Fabrics coupled with its new custom printing department, the company offers an extensive line of fabric and tablecloth options, all under one roof. The A-1 Tablecloth team writes: “From everyone here at A-1, we would like to thank our customers for their support in choosing us as Best Linen Supplier in InTents Reader’s Choice Awards. It is an absolute privilege to be your linen supplier. Thank you for entrusting us with your business!”

Honorable mention: Choice Party Linens Inc., Jomar Table Linens Inc.

Best Lighting System for Tents

Block and Roll Tent Ballast Solutions |

Block and Roll Tent Ballast Solutions’ LED lights are designed for maximum efficiency, quick and easy installation, and are lightweight. The lights use considerably less energy from onsite power sources, yielding higher output with limited power consumption. Equipped with a 110V plug—no need to hardwire. Variable voltage power supplies can handle common voltage drops from generators and will maintain maximum brightness. Features also include instant on-lighting in the event of a power outage or surge. Block and Roll also carries a collection of lights that are waterproof and can be used outdoors with no protection. “I first purchased eight High Bay LED lights from Block and Roll in October. After the first use I was extremely happy with my purchase,” says Rob Cruikshank, 24/7 Events, Santa Clarita, Calif. “Two months later we purchased 40 more units in both the black and the white frame. I am convinced that these are the most efficient, attractive, rugged, easy-to-use and cost effective High Bay lights on the market.”

Honorable mention: Economy Tent, Tentwares Accessory Catalog

Best Rental Software Provider

Point of Rental |

Point of Rental is dedicated to producing innovative software and providing top-notch customer service to ensure tent rental businesses run smoothly. From basics, such as kits to better manage tent components, to the new Inspection App, which allows users to manage site and tent inspections from a mobile device, the company strives to keep its users ahead of the competition. Innovations in the software develop from user suggestions; in 2017, Point of Rental integrated uInnovate, an online feedback management system built into the software that prioritizes popular user suggestions for the Point of Rental team to focus on. “I have always gotten excellent service from Point of Rental and would highly recommend their product,” says Clyde Dickens, owner of A-1 Party Rentals, Lufkin, Texas.

Honorable mention: Alert EasyPro Rental Management System, Goodshuffle Pro

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