DELPHOS — Head to a local festival this summer, and there’s a good chance Delphos Tent & Awning would have already been there.
Founded in 1920, the company has seen a lot of changes throughout the century. Over its long history, eight business owners have maneuvered the business through shifting markets and changing customer demands.
Today, the company’s primary business remains renting out and setting up large tents for celebrations, especially during the summer months, but the business had to evolve along the way by developing specialty products and expanding its custom options.
Office Manager Josh DeVelvis said some of the common products with high demand include custom-fitted coverings for boats and golf carts, as well as an extensive line of custom awnings.
A trip through the business makes that apparent. Large, sturdy yet light aluminum frames that will later be outfitted with material can be seen around the business’s workshops. Workers remain busy sewing, welding and moving the large rolls throughout their location on North Main Street.
“We have the awnings which have become a much larger portion (of the businesss) than in the past,” DeVelvis said. “From front and to finish, we can build mostly anything that (customers) want.”
The company has also dabbled in creating its own niche canvas products. One of its most popular is called the “Dirt Bag,” a soil containment device that eases the telephone digging process for major utility companies such as AEP.
Such expertise has resulted in some high-profile companies hiring their services. For example, sports fans may have seen their custom work in the staging of high-profile events on ESPN. DeVelvis said the sports entertainment channel used such products during the NFL draft, Major League Baseball games, the Rose Bowl and even the Super Bowl.
“All those things that ESPN has a hand in, along the way we’ve done a banner or stage top for one of those events,” DeVelvis said.
While their work can be seen on television, it’s some of the local festivals and fairs that keep them busy during the summer months. The Allen County Fair is by far its biggest customer due to the extensive square-footage of tent space needed for the event, but the company also sets up tent products for 10 other county fairs in the region.
Town festivals, such as Kalida’s Pioneer Days, also turn to Delphos Tent & Awning for their services, and DeVelvis said such customers often receive a local discount for their roles in benefiting the community.
“We’ve always been a custom sew shop, but as the company has gotten older and we progressed, it’s been one of those things where we’ve taken on new challenges,” DeVelvis said.
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.