The tent and event rental industry continues to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. While the spring season months of March and April proved to be devastating due to postponed and canceled events, the summer
months have offered glimmers of hope mixed with incremental rebounds as restaurants and businesses reopen.
In Oklahoma City, Okla., business is picking up at Marianne’s Rentals. “The phones are ringing, people are coming in to book at the last minute, and we’ve brought back two sales people,” says Marianne Long, owner and president.
In Essex Junction, Vt., where Vermont Tent Company is based, Michael Lubas, CEO, says the company has a small amount of work confirmed for August, and slightly more for September. “Overall it looks like an 80-90% reduction in revenue for 2020, but with all the postponements to 2021, it should be an okay year.”
In Columbia, Ill., Traube Tents and Structures echoes a similar tune. “Our core business of large events is completely gone,” says Steve Traube, owner and vice president. “We do not envision a return until fall and, probably more realistically, the spring of 2021.”
As restaurants and businesses reopen during the summer, many tent and event rental companies find themselves pivoting to offer creative services and solutions for clients.
Marianne’s Rentals has started offering CAD (computer-aided design) diagrams to show clients how to rearrange for social distancing guidelines, and Vermont Tent Company has been busy installing tents for restaurants and child care centers.
Traube Tents also continues to pivot. “One of our more interesting projects was building a temporary morgue for the city of St. Louis,” says Traube. The company constructed a 10-by-20-meter structure on 5.4 meter legs. “The tall legs gave the city the ability to drive a full-sized refrigerated tractor trailer truck under the structure and park it underneath for two months,” says Traube. While dismantling the structure, a local news organization ran an article on the project that detailed the cost comparison between the city of St. Louis’ temporary morgue and the county of St. Louis. “Compared to the county,” says Traube, “the city spent less than 2% of the total cost proving that tents and structures can provide an economical solution during challenging times.”