Recreational Equipment Inc., better known as REI, is a national leader in the outdoor retail industry.
But the company’s bigger impact is its commitment to sustainability. In 2021, the co-op achieved its second Climate Neutral Certification, a rigorous set of standards that shows a company is working to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions from making and delivering products.
So, when the brand approached TentCraft in 2022 inquiring about custom tent and structure kits for new store grand opening events, we knew it needed to be both logistically practical and environmentally sustainable.
“Sure, it would be great for our business if we could sell these kits to every new store that opens, but we knew it didn’t fit REI’s bigger mission,” said Kyle Kendzicky, who handles REI’s account for TentCraft. “And logistically, it would be a nightmare for REI to keep track of these crates of event assets scattered across the country.”
TentCraft created a logistics-friendly — and sustainably-focused — program for REI that produces less product and waste and takes the worry off REI’s plate of storing event assets, like custom tents and inflatable arches.
After manufacturing the entire kit at TentCraft’s production facility in Traverse City, Michigan, we packaged everything into two hardshell road cases. We stored those assets until REI was ready for a new store grand opening.
The first event took place in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, in May.
The second came in July in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, in the heart of the Rocky Mountains near Aspen. To celebrate the opening of the 20,030-square-foot specialty store, REI converted the parking lot into a festival grounds of sorts, welcoming the community to participate in games and giveaways over three days.
When the event wrapped up, REI’s staff repackaged the tent kit and shipped it back to TentCraft for storage until its next event. On Sept. 12, TentCraft went through a checklist of all the event assets and shipped the kit to Gretna, Nebraska.
REI, which expects to open as many as a dozen new stores each year, sends the kit back to TentCraft or the next store opening location if the dates are close. TentCraft won’t see the tents again until the end of 2022 as they will travel to Tallahassee, Florida; Athens, Georgia; and Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.
The beauty of the kit is its flexibility. Consisting of six 10x10 and two 10x20 heavy-duty MONARCHTENT pop-up tents, in addition to 10x10 custom-printed inflatable tents, back walls, custom table covers, media walls, inflatable arches, and more, stores can create endless amounts of event footprints.
We expect these event assets to last a really long time, but when the time comes to retire the kit, we have a plan to upcycle the softgoods through our partnership with Priorlife, and reuse the frames for future refurbished canopy tents.
The photos below, taken by Colorado photographer Kathleen Lavine, are from the Glenwood Springs opening: