The tent industry has seen some ups and downs due to COVID-19, as many weddings and festivals have been canceled due to the pandemic.

It’s usually the time of year where Fred’s Tents in Waterford is usually booming. The owner, Fred Tracy, says COVID-19 has changed that.

What You Need To Know

  • Fred's Tents in Waterford has been hit amid cancellations of major events, fairs, and festivals

  • The business has been supplying tents for COVID-19 testing sites across the country

  • The business is teaming up with rental companies, Kings Dairy, and Ellis Hospital to host a "Scoops for Scrubs" event this weekend, to thank those who worked under the tents during the pandemic

“The tent industry as a whole has really been hurt [with no] large-scale events,” said Tracy.

Most weddings have been canceled or drastically reduced, as the country has seen nearly 6 million coronavirus cases.

“I have a customer in Texas that was supposed to have a 600-person wedding; they ended up doing it for 45,” added Tracy.

The business' major orders, like the Super Bowl or PGA tournaments, are still up in the air. There’s still no exact timeline on when events of that size could return, which is a big hit for the business. So it's focusing on the smaller-scale, backyard events.

“It is still safe to have a function outside. We can scale these tents to give you the social distancing and square footage you need to get you through this pandemic,” he said.

But those smaller orders don’t always add up.

“We do money on square feet, so a PGA tournament has like 50,000 square feet in it, and then you do a school which is 800 square feet; there’s a lot of 800 feet in 50,000,” Tracy said.

With the pandemic came a big boom for medical tents across the country. As most businesses were forced to close, Fred’s Tents was swamped with getting testing sites up and running.

“We did some in the Carrier Dome that were 10 by 10, and then we did ones that are 100 by 300,” said the owner.

He was able to keep his staff working through the shutdown, doing so safely.

“Putting these tents up in these hot spots and working night and day to put these tents up, and the people making PPE, it goes a lot further than just doctors and nurses,” Tracy added.

The group is still working hard to fulfill COVID-19 needs.

“We do have customers that still have inventory, that are still putting up some of that stuff in hot spots, or are being cautious in case they do need it or have an outbreak in a particular area,” said Tracy.

And as a thank-you to those who have been on the front lines- working under the tents Fred’s business has built, he is teaming up with Ellis Hospital for “Cares Day.” This Friday and Saturday, Fred’s will have tents set up in front of Ellis facilities for hospital workers to receive free ice cream from Kings Dairy. In an effort to stay safe, it is not open to the public.