LAST YEAR, Events Chicago, a tent and party rental company based in Chicago, put up a tent at the Lake County Museum in Wauconda, Ill. Instead of buying the tent, the museum shares profits with Events Chicago from each event held in the structure. "It's a beautiful site," says Kendra Kroll, Events Chicago director of sales and marketing. "We had no qualms about putting the investment out there because we knew the market."
The Courtyard Pavilion at the Lake County Museum is an Armbruster pole tent outfitted with carpeted flooring, decorative lighting, French doors, tables and chairs, and a heating system. The 40-by-100-foot tent has room for about 250 seated guests. A marquee joins the tent to the rear of the museum.
The arrangement is a win-win situation, Kroll says. The museum can handle large events without the wear and tear on the grounds associated with repeated tent setups and takedowns. And "Events Chicago saves labor for repeated installations and receives an effective tent showroom."
In 1999, the Courtyard Pavilion hosted nine events - mostly weddings - after its inception in June. This year, that figure already has tripled. "By next year, the tent will have paid for itself," Kroll predicts.