Entrepreneurial management and the ability of the business to adapt quickly, has seen Rotherham-based Gala Tent rebuild and go on to process over £1m of orders in the month of July.
Founded in 1999, Gala Tent is one of the UK’s leading producers of marquees, tents and gazebos.
Its marquees, that are usually the lifeblood of the hospitality and events industry, are now resurrected as pop-up coronavirus testing stations, social distancing queue shelters, entry and exit checkpoint tents, as well as providing garden shelter for homeowners and home workers. Pubs and hotels are snapping up commercial grade structures to increase capacities during the social distancing era.
The Manvers company is almost back to full strength, following the Prime Minister’s recent easing of lockdown restrictions and a massive boom in marquee and gazebo sales.
Jason Mace, CEO at Gala Tent (pictured, left), said: “There were plenty of other firms and individuals in the same boat as us. Too successful for some financial concessions, not successful enough for others, and of course insurance covered very little so we had to remain open. We’ve always battled whatever came at us, though, and we’ve always won.”
The first month of lockdown was particularly brutal for Gala Tent. Jason, alongside co-owner and brother-in-law Mark Thompson, were forced to furlough a majority of our colleagues, retaining a small skeleton team and our bosses themselves were working shifts in the distribution centre for zero wage to ensure the business stayed alive.
Behind the scenes, the team working from home spent their time pivoting our strategies to reflect the current climate, and quietly set about improving the business operation to prepare for when life might return to normal.
Thompson said: “You do what you have to do to survive. We spent the early years of the company doing just that, working all hours for no wages, to build it up to what we are today. Nobody at Gala Tent is scared of a little hard work.”
Using a restructured finance facility with HSBC UK, the company has been able to pivot the business.
In June, Gala received the biggest ever monthly web traffic to the site, but that was nothing compared to July. Only four months after Prime Minister Boris Johnson locked down the country in an effort to stem the flow of the coronavirus outbreak, Gala Tent staff processed £1.1m of orders. In the process, the firm posted a massive 34% growth versus last July, and had a further 25% increase in traffic to the website.
Another businesses under the Gala umbrella, Gala Graphics, has also seen a recent influx of demand for its printed services which includes the launch of a series of exclusive Social Distancing Floor Markers, Banners and Signs.
Meanwhile, Gala Technology, which specialises in customer not present payment solutions, has seen a major update in providing payments solutions for home workers along with some major partner deals.
Mace added: “It’s amazing. It’s a credit to my team that we were all able to pull together when things were at their most uncertain, and keep the ship steady. It’s important to have that confidence that if a crisis occurs and you find all roads closed off, you know you can head off road and find success on your own terms.”
Images: Gala Tent