By Lauren Sable Freiman
Photo by Matthew Ginn
Instead, Duqum’s grandmother, Billie Ann Goodrick, approached him about joining the business she and husband Robert had started from their basement in 1970. AAble Rents was on the brink of bankruptcy.
It was a business Duqum knew well. He had started delivering tents, chairs, and tables at the age of 12 and installing tents at 16. He had learned the business from the ground up and he had done it all, from driving trucks to leading jobs. So, Duqum agreed to join the business and spent the next two years turning over the company’s staff.
Duqum also invested considerable effort into upgrading the company’s products. He realized, through his interaction with customers, that there was a need in the market for a high-end tent company. He made the decision that in order to grow and differentiate itself, the company could no longer be all things to all people. “We stopped focusing on flatware, glasses, dishes, and specialty linens,” Duqum says. “Although we have 20,000 chairs and 6,000 tables, that isn’t our focus. Our focus is on high-end tenting and flooring, with basic tables and chairs.”
Although AAble Rents does provide tenting for affairs, such as backyard graduation parties, Duqum says that is the smallest part of the company’s business. Event professionals working on intricate jobs, such as weddings and corporate events, make up a much larger portion of Duqum’s customer base. “We average 150 to 200 tents every weekend during the season from mid-April to mid-October,” Duqum says. “When you do that volume of business, we are open 24 hours a day for six and a half months a year.”
Duqum and his brother Brandon purchased the business in 2012 and have constantly reinvested in the company. The philosophy at AAble Rents is simple – stay ahead of the curve and strive to anticipate the needs of the client. “I look at any business like a tree,” Duqum says. “If it isn’t growing, it is dying. Status quo isn’t a word that fits us. It’s not a word that I relate to.”
In order to stay ahead of the curve not only locally but also regionally and nationally, AAble Rents has focused on developing new products for the rental industry. Three of those products are already patented while a fourth awaits a patent. “I’m obsessed with the engineering of tents,” Duqum says. “It is literally an obsession of mine. We have developed and patented the country’s first and only fully engineered wood center-pole system for tenting. We now sell and ship these all over the country to other rental companies.”
Duqum has also differentiated AAble Rents by providing unique tent designs to fit any event, whether it’s a fundraiser for the President of the United States at a private residence or a fundraiser for a nonprofit at a local venue. “It is really important to us to figure out the flow and symmetry of the space,” Duqum says. “(Our vendors) are relying on us for the design and to come up with creative ways to tent spaces.”
Once described by a client as “the quiet giant,” Duqum says that is an accurate representation of his company. As for the indoor skydiving facility that Duqum had his sights on? “It is still a pipe dream, but this is my baby,” Duqum says. “I’m too far in here. I can’t divide and conquer.”
For more information: aablerents.com