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A changing of the guard, but still all in the family

By Brock Huffstutler

March 14, 2023

Lindsay Cavanaugh, left, new owner of Mahaiwe Tent

Lindsay Cavanaugh, left, new owner of Mahaiwe Tent

When 2023 rang in, more than just the calendar turned over for two longtime family-owned rental establishments in the northeast. Each experienced a turnover in ownership, but unlike many others in the industry today, the businesses remain strictly family affairs.

At the end of December 2022, Lindsay Cavanaugh took ownership of Mahaiwe Tent, Great Barrington, Mass., from her parents, Tom and Lauren Cavanaugh. Tom — also known as “The Tent Guy” — and Lauren established the business in 1986 with only a few tents and a handful of plates. Over the ensuing 36 years, Mahaiwe Tent grew to become a major provider of wedding and event rentals in the Berkshires, Connecticut and New York.

“After 40 years of starting and growing Mahaiwe Tent to what it is today, I was able to officially sign off on my parents’ retirement. The papers are signed and the next 40 years are looking really good. Thank you to all who helped me get here. I’m excited for it all!” Lindsay said on the day the transition became official.

Then, in January, the ownership of Taylor True Value Rental, Concord, N.H., shifted from one family — who ran the operation for more than 50 years — to another. Taylor True Value Rental of Concord was established in 1971 by Doug and Louise Dartnell and at the time of its sale was owned by their son, Mark Dartnell, and his wife, Cate. Now, the business is in the hands of Allison McIntosh, a former operations manager at the business, and her partner, Jason Weir.

Allison McIntosh, center, and Jason X, right, new owners of Taylor True Value Rental of Concord, N.H.

Allison McIntosh, center, and Jason Weir, right, new owners of Taylor True Value Rental of Concord, N.H.

McIntosh joined Taylor True Value Rental in 2019 as a part-time customer service representative and worked her way up in the organization as she tackled responsibilities, including managing the store’s strategic planning, performance and processes. In 2021, she joined the ARA of New Hampshire board of directors and currently serves as board president.

Weir came on board in 2020, initially on a temporary basis to help the business get through the busy season and to fill gaps when a mechanic abruptly quit. His role soon turned into a long-term commitment when he left his previous position to join Taylor True Value Rental full time. McIntosh and Weir have jointly managed day-to-day operations of the business since 2021.

“I never knew I would work in the rental industry, never mind the prospect of purchasing a 53-year-old industry leader, but here we are. The acquisition process has taught me so many different things, including how many moving parts there are constantly to a smooth-running business. My partner, Jason, and I are so excited to continue this journey that has taken years to reach. With the roots of this second-generation, family-owned business, we are excited to move forward with our own family behind the driver’s seat,” McIntosh says of the acquisition.