Local tent rental company sees sudden spike in business amid COVID-19 restrictions

Local News

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Behind every tent that helps keep a business open, there’s a business that makes and sets up the tents.

Inside the West Sacramento headquarters of Made in the Shade, workers were busy Tuesday preparing for the next day’s deliveries.

The company makes many of the tents that are allowing businesses to stay open with outdoor operations, including restaurants, retail and California Family Fitness.

With the arrival of cold weather and Sacramento County slipping back to the state’s restrictive purple tier, Made in the Shade is seeing a sudden spike in web traffic and calls.

“One of our sales team was complaining that he had nine missed calls while he was on a one-minute phone call with somebody who just needed some quick information,” Made in the Shade CEO Donny Vasquez told FOX40.

Vasquez said the company is well-equipped to handle the volume of requests.

“Fortunately, we have a large inventory so we can manage from 10 by 10s, to 20 by 20s, 30 by 30s, 40 by 40s, 60 by 100s and up,” Vasquez said.

But there are some things business owners need to know when they select a tent.

To qualify as outdoors under California’s COVID-19 restrictions, Vasquez explained a tent cannot be enclosed.

“Twenty-five percent can be walled, so essentially, one side. And then you can have half-walls on the tent. And that can be on three sides but there has to be adequate airflow,” Vasquez explained.

And popular propane gas patio heaters, which are selling out at hardware stores, are strictly for outdoor use only.

“Those types of units are not made for tenting,” Vasquez said. “The fire code says that you can’t have an open flame inside of a tent and that kind of rules those out. And additionally, those will also stretch and melt the vinyl.”

Some local governments require outdoor use permits for tents. Made in the Shade helps customers navigate that process.

Also, state building code puts 180-day limits on temporary structures.

Business owners are hoping the law will adapt as quickly as businesses have adapted to outdoor options.

FOX40 visited with the co-owner of the Morning Fork, who summed up the feelings of many who are forced to once again close their indoor dining rooms.

“All small business owners, especially restaurants, they are all feeling the same as us. We are scared. We have families, we have feelings, we work so hard, we put all of our money on the line,” said Jennifer Swiryn.

For those wishing to rent a tent, Made in the Shade is working out payment plans to ease the upfront costs, focused on finding solutions for their customers.

“How they can stay open? How they can make it through this next wave?” Vasquez asked.

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