South Yorkshire marquee and gazebo manufacturer and retailer has defied the odds during 2020, going on to post double digit growth for the year, despite facing a massive 50% decline by June, in the wake of the UK’s nationwide lock down to stem the flow of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With many of the company’s core markets going into enforced hibernation, including events and hospitality, Motorsport, and outdoor retail trading, Gala Tent faced an uphill battle to remain afloat during stormy waters. 90% of the workforce was placed on furlough and the directors themselves worked for no wages in the distribution centre to ensure the few orders placed could be dispatched.
However, things would slowly begin to move in the company’s favour creating a diverse marketing campaign and Christmas commercial to rival John Lewis combined with an extremely versatile product, saw marquees and gazebos become an essential piece of equipment for organisations and businesses in the social distancing era. For the remainder of the year, Gala Tent’s key markets evolved, and grew, until the company was able to post growth of over £600,000 for 2020.
Marketing Manager, Ryan Bracha, said, “If I didn’t know how much work had gone into keeping the company not just ticking over, but proactively pushing to make the absolute best of a bad situation, by our directors and colleagues, I’d say it was unbelievable. Each month is another record breaker for us, and however 2021 plays out, we’re forecasting at least 20% further growth for the year, because we’re a far more resilient and creative team than we were twelve months ago.”
Gala Tent CEO, Jason Mace, is equally optimistic about the future of Gala Tent, despite the widely reported threat of restricted trading when Britain finally leaves the EU. “Brexit isn’t going to just put a stop to trading. It won’t stop Gala Tent trading, that’s for sure. We accept that there will be tariffs initially, but over time these will level off, and there will be some work that needs to go into systems to ensure everything is done properly. There will be pleasure after the pain, and there will be many free trade deals with territories that aren’t the EU.”
Part of the growth has come from enterprising individuals creating new businesses, or adapting their existing ones, during this time. Gala Shade Gazebos were purchased by people looking to create market stalls to sell handmade goods and social distancing tools, with Gala Tent going so far as to publishing and creating articles and manuals to help them to do so. Events Management and Marquee hiring firms adapted their offerings, to be able to bring entertainment to their clients’ homes. One such firm was J.R Lighting and Sound, which ventured into the unique service of creating outdoor cinemas at the homes of their customers.
Their director, Jamie Ross, said, “Gala Tent products have helped us to add new products and services. The most popular have been the outdoor cinema, and the elevated garden performance stage, where people have had performers play intimate gigs.”
Founded in 1999, Gala Tent has grown to sell over 15,000 tents and marquees each year, along with around 90,000 event accessories and furniture products in the UK.
In the UK, Gala Tent is a preferred supplier for organisations including the military, NHS, the South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service, South Yorkshire Police Service, St John’s Ambulance and AA, as well as to thousands of homeworkers and homeowners nationally.