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TentCraft News

We aim to provide you with insight into the ever-changing outdoor marketing and experiential marketplace and help create worry-free events. It’s full of things like industry updates, company news, and a whole lot of valuable content you won’t find anywhere else. Go ahead – read your heart out.

In talking with our customers, we realize the world of buying a tent can get incredibly complicated very quickly. Talking to multiple potential vendors, receiving a wide range of quotes, being unsure how to make a decision, are all par for the course. We want to help make your custom tent buying experience better and more transparent. The tents you order represent your brand to your customers and you should be able to make an informed decision on purchasing while having an enjoyable experience. Here are three questions you should ask and potential tent vendor (TentCraft included) that will help save you from poor quality, long lead times and ultimately a disappointing experience. #3 – What materials do you use to create your tent? As a potential customer is very important to know the difference between steel vs. aluminum, powder coating vs. anodized, etc.. Did I lose you? No worries, let's just talk about the best (aka what you should be looking for). Anodized Aluminum is the best frame solution – if this material is good enough for the military and aerospace, it's the best possible solution for your frame. It's a perfect blend of lightweight/tough AND it'll never rust. Pro-tip: If you choose to buy a colored or black frame, make sure it's anodized not powder coated, you wouldn't want that coloring to flake off. 500 D Polyester for strength and vibrancy – This material truly makes your colors pop. We've tried thinner... we've tried thicker and 500 D Poly is the best balance of strength and quality. UV printing means color match and fade-free – Don't get us wrong, we love dye-sub for printing flags and table covers, it's just not the best material for making tent canopies. It can fade over time in the sun and can be more difficult to keep taught to avoid saggy canopies. #2 – What's the process for designing my tent? If a tent company sends you a blank Photoshop template and moves on to the next customer, we can guarantee you'll have a pretty terrible buying experience. You know what should happen? You should get to work with real artists who understand 3-D design. Designing a tent to be viewed from eye-level takes some skill, even if you have a design team on staff, it's important to work with a vendor that employs actual artists who spend their time designing for this purpose and consulting to help create the best tent possible. #1 – How fast will I receive my tent? We all know custom products take time but if a vendor manufactures and prints your tents in their own facilities, it shouldn't take very long. We aim for a 3-5 day production time and we are able to achieve this simply by printing and creating most of our products right here on-site. If a vendor farms out your tent to another company or prints on another continent, how can they possibly be 100% focused on delivering a quality product for you? There are certainly more questions you should ask, but we feel these three will help uncover a lot of misdirection and misconception in the custom tent industry. If you'd like to ask us these questions in person connect with us here and fire away. We're confident we can find a custom solution for all your event needs.

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When I first started working at TentCraft over a year ago, I didn't think my new employer could get any cooler. We played Ping-Pong on our breaks, sculpted with Playdoh during creative brainstorms, and cracked cold ones on Friday afternoons. Some time later, we started TentCraft Outdoor, an internal program that gives employees the chance to rent paddleboards, kayaks, and snowshoes free of charge their northern Michigan excursions, because health, wellness, and the great outdoors are three of our favorite things. It seemed as though I had found my match. And in an office that embraces "fun and a little weirdness", I was certain I had discovered the company with the best culture in all of Traverse City. It couldn't get any better than this. But then it did. TentCraft recently adopted a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Employee Wellness Program, which is an initiative that supports local farms by giving businesses and their employees the opportunity to buy fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables directly from the farmer. Interested community members or organizations sign up for a share of a participating farm's harvest and, prior to the growing season, make a payment to support their assigned farm and preserve their share for the summer months. We're partnering with local food marketing agency, Taste the Local Difference (TLD), who will facilitate our CSA program. TLD's mission is to "help food businesses and the communities they serve benefit from the economic value of local food, while ensuring that fresh, healthy, local food is available to everyone." It's a mission that runs near and dear to our TentCraft heart, and we're thrilled about the opportunity to support our agricultural economy while filling our dinner plates with wholesome, farm-fresh veggies. Photos courtesy of Loma Farm Part of TLD's promise involves pairing participating businesses with one carefully selected local farm. Based on our company size, employee interest, and employee feedback surveys, TLD paired us with Loma Farm, a 13-acre farm just eight miles outside of Traverse City. They produce flowers and "extra fancy vegetables", and they host specialty events and happy hour soirees for its members. If there's such a thing as farm soul mates, Loma Farm is definitely ours. Beginning in early June, Loma Farm will deliver shares (boxes) of 7-10 vegetables hand-selected from over 30 distinct crop varieties for TentCraft employees to take home to their families. Loma Farm is offering two different sizing options, one for a two-person family at $17.50/share and another for a four-person family at $25.00/share. Shares will be delivered to our office every week until late October. The icing on the cake? Loma Farm owner, Nic, writes a weekly newsletter featuring recipes, culinary discussions, and farm updates that will accompany every share. So when obscure veggies like sorrel and Romanesco broccoli show up in our boxes, farmer Nic will provide some tips on how to cook or sautuee or roast or do whatever it is you're supposed to do with sorrel and Romanesco broccoli. Photo courtesy of Loma Farm When you live in a region surrounded by rolling farms and rich soil, and work in a community that embraces agricultural and economic growth, participating in a CSA Employee Wellness Program makes a ton of sense. And it's another small reminder that working for a company that values their employee's health and supports their local community is something to be proud of. Hats off to you, TLD, for paving the path to a more sustainable future. TentCraft is happy to be a part of this revolutionary movement. Bring on the farm fresh veggies!

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Identifying the right pop-up tent for your business isn't exactly the easiest thing in the world, especially if you're looking for something custom. One glance at the pop-up tent industry and you'll find that the options are endless. What frame type should you choose? What kind of printing process do you prefer? How do you want your tent configured? One wall? Two walls? Three walls and a door? What size tent do you need? I could go on, but I think you get the point. Tents are overwhelming, and there's a dizzying amount of questions to consider when determining which one suits you best. Thankfully, we feel your pain, and we've figured out a way to make your tent-buying process as easy as possible without sacrificing your time, money, or sanity. Here's how: We give you a personal assistant. While their official title is "Sales Representative", we should really call them your personal assistant because, let's be real, they do way more than sell tents. When you submit an inquiry about our products, one of our reps contacts you within 20 minutes to learn about your custom project. They're not interested in your budget or shoving a quote down your throat; they're interested in soaking up as much information about your business goals and determining how our outdoor marketing solutions can solve your most challenging problems. As an expert in the field, your personal assistant gives you unbiased advice about purchasing a pop-up tent. They walk you through the printing process and help you decide which frame type will satisfy your goals. They send good luck wishes when your event date rolls around. And they remember the name of your dog. In other words, they're your top resource, your in-the-field marketing expert, and your friend, and they just so happen to sell you a tent along the way. We give you a personal designer. As if choosing the right type of tent wasn't challenging enough, throw in color schemes, measurements, and logo designs and you've got yourself one heck of a cluster. Enter your personal tent designer. They're the Picassos of the event-marketing world, true artists and masters of their craft. Give them your napkin sketch design and they'll work their magic to bring your idea to life, creating a detailed mockup designed specifically for a 3-D structure. They're wizards, is what they are, and they make it easy for your brand to stand out in the crowd. Whether they're sketching your dream tent or recreating your logo for optimum printing quality, our art team takes care of the nitty-gritty design details so you don't have to. We give you a personal manager. So you've got a personal assistant to guide you through the process. You've got a personal designer to sketch a tent worth bragging about. But who's going to take care of the dirty work? Who's going to handle fabrication accuracy, the production process, and shipping logistics? Hint: it's your personal project manager. They're the puppet masters, the gurus of organization, and they're here to make sure your project runs as smoothly as possible. Long story short, we give you an extension of your team, an army of brand advocates who want nothing more than to see your marketing project succeed. We're here to answer your questions, exceed your expectations, and make your tent-buying process fast, easy, and 100% enjoyable.

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Custom Tents - More Than a Commodity

Tentcraft /// 01/30/2017

As a member of TentCraft's Inside Sales team, I'm often reminded that our event tents and structures aren't the most budget-friendly on the market. Accordingly, my conversations often center on why making a greater initial investment with TentCraft can ensure deadlines are met and help avoid additional costs down the road for things like replacement parts, canopies, and entire tents. This often leads to a brief discussion surrounding brands and commodities. While the world of outdoor tents and event signage appears commoditized, everything we do is custom — a big reason why you won't find pricing on our website. Well, what about the hardware? TentCraft is the exclusive MASTERTENT™ partner of North America, meaning you won't find our heavy duty, anodized aluminum frames (with patented design and accessory features, I might add) anywhere else. Same goes for similar products on our roster, including the inflatabled Signus ONE and MASTERTENT shop pop-up model, among others. While the general class of canopy tents is a commodity, the design, materials, and associated functionality is what distinguishes our tent models. From patented design features and accessories to edge-to-edge custom printing — it's all distinct. There's no apple-to-apple comparison to even allow for a decision based solely on price. While we could source cheaper hardware and even outsource certain aspects to our business to focus on being the price leader, we take extreme pride in being a scalable, full-service partner for our clients — we design, we print, we manufacture, we custom fabricate, and we even train on and offsite for larger experiential programs and mobile events. In the end, we'd rather be the quality leader with a distinct set of capabilities. You'll also find that the work we create and the team that creates it is as unique as the bygone harbor towns that embrace the region we call home. For example — our President is a recent Stanford GSB graduate with a background that includes a stretch on Wall Street, working for the U.S. Forest Service as a wild-land firefighter, and a 10-month tour of guard duty at Guantanamo Bay. He also rides a Vespa to work in the summer — certainly a contender for "World's Most Interesting Man." At the end of the day, we are our own brand. We have a unique personality that stems from our internal culture and the partnerships we seek — and just like our clients, there's a story behind our brand. We believe in our clients' story whether they're a small brand, non-profit, or member of the Fortune 500. Since we can both relate to what we want to accomplish, it's much easier to collaborate from A to Z.

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TentCrafters Spotlight | Chip Kohler

Shelby Oredson /// 11/18/2016

Today we're kicking off a brand new blog series called TentCrafters Spotlight, a Q & A forum that introduces you to a member of the TentCraft family. This month, we're featuring Chip Kohler, a charismatic sewing specialist who, according to our Quality and Safety Manager, Jeff Turner, has "Rock. Hard. Calves..." Chip's been a TentCrafter for five fruitful years, and we wouldn't be the same without him! Q: What's your role at TentCraft? A: Court jester disguised as sewing specialist Q: What's the best thing about working here? A: I get to sew again and we do so many different things that it's hard to get bored like on an assembly line Q: What makes TentCraft different? A: We embrace weirdness Q: People would be surprised to know what about you? A: My name is Charles Q: When you're not working, what's your favorite thing to do for fun? A: Shoot Q: Where's the most interesting place you've traveled? A: Singapore Q: What's your personal philosophy? A: Golden rule still rules: Do unto others as you would have done to you Q: Name one thing in your life you can't live without. A: My family Q: If you could give advice to your 13-year-old self, what would you say? A: Keep all my old comic books, don't burn 'em like mom said to... Thank you for all you do, Chip!

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Winter is Coming: Warm Up With TentCraft

Shelby Oredson /// 11/04/2016

As a Minnesota native and current resident of Michigan, I know the misery of winter. I know what it's like to scrape shards of ice off your windshield at the ass-crack of dawn. I know how it feels to stand at the gas station, quivering in your snow boots while you fill your tank. And I know where to go when snow falls so copiously it covers the tops of stop signs. Hint: bed. You go to bed. Nobody enjoys winter's unavoidable chill. And if they do, well, they're lying to themselves. But the world doesn't stop just because the temperature drops to sub zero digits. From holiday parades to polar dash races, from winter carnivals to outdoor trade shows, winter events are just as popular as their summertime counterparts, and now's the time to start planning for the long, dark, icy road ahead. If your brand is traveling to an event this winter, consider warming up the crowd with some of our must-have winterized tents or accessories. Whether it's full-size walls or detachable heating kits, we've got what you need to power through the cold and become everyone's favorite wintertime refuge. Heating Kits | Hats and mittens can only do so much. Install one of our 1500-watt heating kits in the roof of your pop-up tent and you and your fans will be toasty warm in no time. Full Walls With Door | Speaking of toasty warm, did you know you can add full digital walls to any of our pop-up tents to create a fully enclosed, super cozy hangout space? We recommend serving hot cocoa, as well. It helps with the cozy. LED Light Kits | Let's be real. The sun sets way too early during the winter. But such is life, and you better be ready for your nighttime events. LED light kits, for instance, help your event attendees see things after sunset, and everybody likes to see, right? We think so. Gybe Tent | They're inflatable, they're versatile, they're inspired by kite-surfing technology, and they look really, really, really cool in wintery mountain scenes. Plus, with attachable panels and modular connections, your event will look like a mountainside basecamp straight out of the movies. Footplates | Sometimes winter can get a little nasty. And by nasty we mean windy. Thankfully, our 66-pound, low profile footplates can withstand wind speeds of up to 35 mph, meaning your tent will stay grounded when the weather gets tough.

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Case Study: The Rustic MONARCHTENT

Shelby Oredson /// 10/25/2016

WHO'D WE HELP? CreekFire Motor Ranch, a 105-acre RV campground oasis in Savannah, GA. WHAT'D THEY NEED? To promote their brand onsite and across the surrounding Savannah area, CreekFire Motor Ranch was looking for an affordable pop-up tent that could get the job done. Initially, they told us they wanted a tent design that was plain, simple, and not much else, not knowing about the outstanding capabilities that exist within our art and production teams. SO WHAT'D WE DO?

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It's football season, which means it's time to pack the cooler, load up the car, and head to your nearest stadium parking lot to eat, drink, and be merry. Tailgating is to football what beer is to burgers — you can't have one without the other. And with nearly 50 million tailgaters spread around the country, we've come a long way in our pregame fandom. What started as a Civil War tradition (it's true. Look it up), tailgating has become revered as a time-honored American sporting tradition and a way of life amongst die-hard football fans. If you've never attended a tailgate party, it's fine, just imagine an enormous parking lot filled with gregarious sports fanatics, all of whom have a beer in one hand and another beer in the other, decked out in war paint, team spirit, and foam fingers. It's a hoot — a rowdy, drunken, prideful hoot — and we TentCraft folk are on a mission to further elevate the tailgate party one pop-up tent at a time. You see, we make really cool tents. So we consider it our civic duty to offer those really cool tents to the zealous tailgaters of this great nation, because we think every tailgate party should kick-off beneath the roof of a kick-ass tent. From full-blown cooking stations to competitive yard games to stadium-style viewing areas, we provide the best possible experience for every type of fan, including businesses looking to spread brand awareness across the tailgate scene. Whether you're The Grill Master, The Fierce Competitor, or The Heedful Observer, we can create a custom tent tailored to your every need. You want built-in cutting boards? You got ‘em. You want cornhole boards? You'll get your cornhole boards, friend. You want TV mounts? We'll make it happen. All you gotta do is ask. Interested in learning more about how you or your business can get your hands on one of our tailgate tents? Follow us on Facebook for details, and stay tuned in the coming weeks as we bring our tailgate experience to life at several college football games and events in the Midwest. See you at the game!

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Here at TentCraft, We're Intense About Camping

Shelby Oredson /// 10/06/2016

With a name like TentCraft, people count on us for all things tents. Pop-up tents, inflatable tents, permanent tents, pavilion tents, tailgate tents, frame tents. Whatever event tent you need, we've got you covered. Literally. Don't let that statement fool you, though. You might be thinking — hey, you guys make tents, and I need a tent for my camping trip next month. Can I order a camping tent from you? Oh, friend, I'm sorry. As much as we love camping, and as much as we wish we could make you a kick-ass camping tent, we can't. That's just not in our wheelhouse. Call REI, they'll get you all set up for the wilderness. Moving on. While we may not manufacture camping tents, we do love using them. You see, us TentCraft folk are mega outdoorsman, which means we're pretty much experts when it comes to camping in the wild. When you live in northern Michigan, where recreational opportunities are bountiful and there's a constant bonfire aroma wafting through the air, a campground basically becomes your second home. From stunning lakeside sites to heavily wooded coves, there's something for everyone to enjoy, expert or not. We've rounded up our top picks for camping bliss to help you plan your next visit to Michigan. Take a look, and happy camping! Manistee River Loop This 23-mile loop follows one of Michigan's most beautiful rivers, the Manistee River, making it the ideal place for campers to set up shop on and hike or float along its winding banks. Empire Township Campground Nestled in a wooded area near the beautiful town of Empire, this 60-site campground is the ideal destination for a rustic, inexpensive getaway. Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park Located in the Upper Peninsula, this 60,000-acre park is Michigan's largest, most expansive places to go camping and explore the wonders of the great outdoors. Platte River Campground If you're looking for a place to take the kids, this is it. With its friendly atmosphere, laid back vibe, and bike trails galore, you can't go wrong with a campsite on the Platte River. D.H. Day Campground Arguably one of the best in the country, D.H. Day offers 88 sites with easy access to some of Lake Michigan's most stunning views. Lake Michigan Recreation Area in the Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area With private campgrounds tucked in the woods, walking trails, and an expansive dog beach, this is the perfect summertime getaway for you and your pup. Isle Royal National Park Looking for some one-on-one time with Mother Nature? Consider taking a trip to Isle Royal National Park. This island off of Lake Superior offers solitude and adventure for hikers, canoeists, backpackers, scuba divers, and campers. Charles Mears State Park

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