Tent OX Drives Through COVID’s Impact At Coastal Tented Events
Based in southern Delaware, Coastal Tented Events is a full-scale event rental company specializing in wedding events. They originally purchased a 528 machine-based Tent OX system in 2016, allowing them to step away from skid steer and small four-wheel machines that had been causing turf damage at scenic wedding locations like the one shown in the photo above.
Based on the labor-saving success of the first machine, Coastal’s core crew was looking forward to the company’s 2020 purchase of a second system of the same size for what the company expected would be a strong new season, says Manager Joe Garner. Coastal carries an inventory of sailcloth, high-tension pole and frame tents used for weddings and other social events from beach to bay and venues in between.
But the first wave of the COVID-19 Pandemic hit just before they were to take delivery of their second 528-based system. Most Spring events were cancelled or postponed indefinitely, and the bulk of their staff was reluctantly released. Since Coastal had paid for the Tent OX in January, they decided to take delivery in the hope that business would return and they could use the machine’s stake-driving, stake-pulling, pole-pushing, and materials handling prowess to replace some of their lost labor.
June reopening, but with fewer staff
The months of March, April, and May were mostly devoid of activity. But a great number of June weddings had not been canceled in the hope that the state would start to reopen by then. Sure enough, on June 15, Delaware announced the reopening of events of up to 250 people and Coastal was suddenly back in the wedding business, but with a much smaller staff. In the meantime, two events had been added to an already heavy schedule.
Returning core crew members agreed that the second Tent OX System would make a difference. “If we could only find 12 guys this spring for the crew, we’d have to have that machine to get to every event we had on the books,” Garner points out.
Less heavy lifting, a more effective crew
As the season progressed, the crew was able to meet its prediction that it would be able to reduce crew count by two or three guys for a typical 60 x 120 tent with the Tent OX and still complete their jobs more efficiently.
Crew members also expended less energy, keeping them fresh through a demanding schedule using Tent OX for tiresome tasks like materials handling. “Now they’re taking 12 full rounds and 70 chairs at a time out to the site, where, you know, normally they would be taking one table and stack chairs at a time, with two guys pushing a cart anywhere from 10 to 200 feet,” Garner says.
Smoother sailing without high seasonal turnovers
Moreover – and for the first time – Coastal hasn’t been slowed down by seasonal staff inefficiency and turnover. “In previous years the firm would go through about 30 seasonal crew members, with only one or two still in service by the end of the busy season,” Garner explains. Now, the firm’s highly experienced crew members, bolstered by the addition of a second machine, make for a smoother-running, happier, and stronger operation.
Grateful to do well this year
Coastal realizes that – and is grateful for – favorable circumstances in its geographic area that allowed it to do well in what could have been a tough year. “Yeah, we’ve definitely been fortunate to maintain the level of revenue that we have. We’ve actually been able to extend this season out to the last two weeks of October just because a lot of people moved events from the spring to the fall. I don’t think we’ve moved an event since we got into September. Basically, any event that was still on the books at the end of August has gone off without a hitch.”