Goff Tents & Events, Nicholasville, Ky., achieved a prestigious first — inclusion on the annual Inc. 5000 list of America’s fastest-growing private companies from Inc. magazine.
“This is the first time we have received this recognition, which is based on revenue growth by percentage over previous years,” says Ian Goff, CERP, owner. “I have followed the Inc. 5000 listing for years and there have been a lot of rental operators who I respect on this list. It is something that has been on my radar, but to be on that list I knew it would take something extraordinary to happen for us to get to that level.”
Well, that “something extraordinary,” which began before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic hit and continued through 2021, resulted in Goff Tents & Events “almost doubling in size between that time, and we did that with close to the same staff, too,” Goff says. That tremendous growth rate also garnered the company a shoutout in the “Market Movers” section that ran in the August 2022 issue of Rental Management. As reported in the magazine, the company’s rental revenue in 2019 was $1.7 million. In 2021, it jumped to $3.2 million — an incredible 92 percent growth rate.
Goff attributes that growth to many factors. For instance, 2019 was a strong year. When the pandemic hit in 2020 and all events were shuttered, Goff Tents & Events stayed busy putting up tents for COVID-19 testing sites and other long-term jobs, “some of which are still on rental,” he says.
Then, in August of 2020, the company acquired Purdon Rentals in Lexington, creating a multi-location store. “The growth has been explosive,” Goff says.
“Purdon’s was a company that had been established since 1974, which had a great reputation, and we took it to a level the company had never achieved before,” Goff says. “My wife, Katlyn, deserves major kudos for what she has done in that store, but it is 100 percent a team effort. My install staff, my sales team, all the employees and the folks in my peer group who I can talk to about all of this helped us in this growth. You see, the Goff brand is more of a volume dealer and very heavy into tents. We work with universities and do a ton of weddings. We work primarily with the brides and moms and dads instead of planners. Purdon works primarily with planners, caterers and end users and has a higher-end feel to it. Goff and Purdon had different customer and product bases. With the acquisition, we were able to bring that softer touch to the Goff side and bring more tenting options to Purdon’s side. That has opened up avenues and revenue streams for both companies.”
That acquisition put both companies in prime position for the pent-up demand that came about after pandemic restrictions were lifted.
“After COVID, everyone wanted to get outside. We had people who were supposed to get married in 2020 and had to delay to 2021, plus the people who were getting married in 2021. The schools wanted proms but couldn’t have them inside, so those were done outside. One of the real interesting things about it was that a lot of those events that went outside in 2021 revitalized the possibilities for tented events. Many first-time events that went outside in 2021 did it again this year, which has led to some positive annual growth this year,” Goff adds.
But it was more than pent-up demand that contributed to that growth. “It was also strategic marketing during the pandemic and after and having us take the time to learn and analyze where and how to best use our resources, including realizing the value of each time slot for each delivery. We do a lot of job costing now, making sure we know our numbers and drilling down how our pricing is done. Our core costs have changed dramatically and trying to plan and prepare for those things have been key to our success,” he says.
Being included in the Inc. 5000 list and being named a “Market Mover” in Rental Management elicits “a sense of pride,” Goff says. “This is a total team effort, not just from something I did or the sales team did, etc. It literally took every single person who worked for us companywide bringing their A game and working together. It happened because of that. We didn’t seek it and make it a goal. We just wanted to be the best rental operation in central Kentucky and provide the best product for our customer. In doing that, this was one of the results.”