Customer service, collaboration and creativity spell success.
by Cathy Broberg
It turns out that tailgating can be a precursor to more than just a fun afternoon or a successful game on the field. Sometimes it can be the start to growing a business.
That was the case for Tailgate Guys LLC, which started with a pickup truck and two trailers in a backyard in Auburn, Ala., in 2009. Through hard work and attention to detail, the rental company expanded across the country and today boasts 50 locations. “We’ve learned that where you find sports fans, you also find plenty of room for quality service and old-fashioned hospitality,” says Paul Willis, senior vice president, operations.
Realizing those same qualities would be welcome by customers in other markets, the company created Event Group (now PRE Event Resources) in 2014 to provide year-round tent, party and event rental needs for individuals, institutional and corporate groups. Then in 2020 its vision expanded again. “Tailgate Guys and PRE integrated with Complex Sports & Entertainment and Colonnade Group to launch Teall Capital’s new company REVELXP that will deliver service and sales capabilities to college and professional sports teams across the country,” explains Willis.
“With the addition of Complex and Colonnade into REVELXP, we have expanded our reach into hospitality events and experiences that include the Final Four and our TopGolf Live stadium tour.”
Creativity, collaboration and excellent customer service are key for all three companies. “Whether it is providing space for you and your friends to tailgate before the big game, creating a venue in your parents’ backyard to host your wedding or providing an extended space to accommodate for the rain in the forecast, we get the privilege to bring our client’s vision to life,” says Willis.
The pandemic’s impact
When sporting and social events screeched to a halt in 2020, the impact on business was harsh. All Tailgate Guys locations were inactive throughout 2020 and PRE’s operations were significantly limited. But the teams did a pivot and focused on the COVID-19 response, providing tents for testing and vaccination sites, expanded restaurant capacities and employee/guest checkpoints at businesses and sporting events.
“COVID reshaped how we do business—in a good way,” explains Willis. “With a decline in business and furloughs, we had to learn to do more with less. This resulted in us taking a hard look at how we operated and where we can improve efficiencies from maintenance to cleaning to loading and installation.”
Hopeful for a return to normalcy
When the tents used for testing sites and vaccine distribution are finally packed up and the public feels safe socializing again, REVELXP will be prepared to focus once again on gamedays, weddings, music events and more.
“One of our favorite events each year, pre-COVID, is the local Oktoberfest in Auburn,” says Willis. The event, which typically welcomes more than 2,000, requires small tents for the 75 breweries involved as well as large tents for guest seating and entertaining. “It’s the perfect combination of our Tailgate Guys operations and a PRE social event.” Plus, it’s a favorite event for their team members to attend.
Another Alabama event near and dear to their hearts is the Storybook Farm Derby Day. “As the event has grown, we have been able to assist them in making it a must-attend event each year,” says Willis. “We love being able to help them expand the attendee capacities from 250, first year, to now 1,000 people.”
Cathy Broberg is a writer and editor who lives near Minneapolis, Minn.
REVELXP (formerly Tailgate Guys and PRE Event Resources)
Year founded: 2009
Employs: 375 during a typical fall season
Primary business: Athletic, social, corporate and institutional events