Pelican Tents & Events grows with a focus on family and excellent customer service.
by Cathy Broberg
In a region with a season dedicated to crawfish and an early spring calendar jam-packed with Mardi Gras celebrations, it’s no wonder that Moss Duvall uses the word “fun” to describe his work at Pelican Tents & Events. Located in Shreveport, La., and serving the larger North Louisiana area, the full-service rental company is focused on meeting the complete tent and event needs of the region, from backyard barbeques and crawfish boils to weddings and festivals.
That Duvall owns and operates an event rental company wouldn’t surprise anyone who knows his father, Robert. The elder Duvall broke into the field in 1982 with Duvall’s Amusement Rentals, which offers inflatables and other party supplies. Upon graduating college in 2003, Moss joined the family business. Five years later, he and his wife, Michelle, opened Pelican Tents & Events, which has been growing ever since. “It’s far surpassed the other rental business,” he says.
Duvall sees the industry in general on an upward trajectory. “It’s extremely healthy right now,” he says. “Our customers are willing to spend more and more money each year, especially on the wedding side.”
He enjoys working with customers to create unique settings and offerings for their special day, with bars, accent pieces, different kinds of carpets, chandeliers and lighting, whether the celebration is held in a ballroom or under a tent. “What they’re coming up with and letting us come up with for them to achieve their dreams … it’s pretty special,” he says.
To meet the industry’s new demands, Duvall has adopted the Block and Roll® ballasting system, which he finds especially helpful for events in public parks. And the Tent OX™ system has had a real impact on how fast his crew can set up and take down, he says. The shift to LED lighting is another positive change, decreasing the number of extension cords needed and increasing the lifespan of lightbulbs.
Pelican Tents faces all the typical challenges like labor and the stress of dealing with weather, including high winds. Yet it’s the company’s growth that has led to its larger challenges, albeit positive ones. “As we’re growing at a rapid pace, we’re trying to grow smart,” he says.
The company recently moved from a 9,000-square-foot warehouse to one with 35,000 square feet. “We’re working on organizing it the way we think we want it for future growth,” he says. “It’s exciting but challenging at the same time—getting it right the first time.”
Keeping it in the family
Taking his parents’ lead, Duvall has kept Pelican Tents centered on family, from the way employees are treated to bringing the family’s pets to work. Treating people right extends to the company’s customers as well. Pelican Tents has been known to go the extra mile to keep customers happy, sometimes even at a breakneck pace. For example, when a customer called on a Monday inquiring about equipment for a breakfast event that Thursday, Duvall and his crew didn’t hesitate to say yes.
The company’s fully staffed team, experience and training make it possible to pull off such requests—providing everything needed for a turnkey event, including flooring, tent sidewalls and heat. To Duvall, it’s all part of the way his team approaches its work: “We’re proud of what we do and the service we provide.”
Cathy Broberg is a writer and editor who lives near Minneapolis, Minn.
SIDEBAR: Pelican Tents & Events
Year founded: 2008
Number of employees: 14 year-round; 20 in peak season
Primary business: Rentals for weddings, private events and festivals