Mainely Events is mainly ascending
By Brock Huffstutler
January 1, 2023
Established in 2017, Mainely Events in Biddeford, Maine, may be a relative newcomer to New England’s event rental scene, but its success is undeniable: the company’s revenue growth earned it a spot on Rental Management’s list of Market Movers in the event rental segment.
“It’s just feet on the pavement and the type of service we provide,” says Elizabeth Lurvey, office manager for Mainely Events, about the simple qualities to which she attributes the company’s success. “We’ve worked really hard on marketing ourselves and just getting our name out there, and we consistently have great customer reviews in our surveys for event follow-ups. Customers like having one person who is dedicated to their order. They know that when they call or email, they’re going to talk to me. And I always hear about how polite and professional our delivery crew is. The boys go out of their way to provide an exemplary experience.”
Lurvey, who also serves as ARA of Maine president, says that the infamous bane of the live events industry, the coronavirus (COVID-19), impacted Mainely Events in an ironically positive way.
“I know a lot of people struggled with COVID but for us, it was a turning point in our business,” she says. “A lot of the more well-known rental companies were booked up with cancellations and reschedules. People started branching out from those more established companies and searching for companies that were available, so it really helped us. We worked with a lot of restaurants and on long-term installations. To be able to pivot so we could help other businesses and then, in turn, the word of mouth — letting people know where those rentals came from — helped to show how diverse we can be and that we’re not just for small backyard parties; that we can provide a variety of services for any event.”
Mainely Events was founded by Capen Macomber at the age of 20 with business partner John Bergeron. Macomber had previously worked as a tent installer for another rental company and, full of ideas about how to improve a variety of processes, was inspired to set out on his own. He took over sole ownership of Mainely Events in 2019 and the company rapidly established a service area that covers most of southern Maine plus portions of New Hampshire.
“We carry tables, chairs, dance floors, arbors, linens — pretty much everything with the exception of tableware, although that is something we are looking to add as we continue to grow,” Lurvey says.
For its first few years Mainely Events catered primarily to smaller, backyard-style events but today, its clientele includes a growing number of tented weddings and corporate events hosted by notable customers like the Portland Museum of Art. “And we just worked with a company called The Spicy Shark to put together the first annual New England Hot Sauce Festival. We had over 3,000 attendees, so that’s probably the largest event we have handled so far,” Lurvey says.
The catalysts for Lurvey’s coming onboard with Mainely Events was a family connection and her status as a former customer. “Capen is my husband’s cousin and when we got married in 2018, we used Mainely Events for our wedding. Six months later, Capen called and said he was looking for somebody to answer the phone and emails part time. So, I came on initially just as a part-timer. We got the ball rolling quicker than we anticipated, so I transitioned quickly to full time,” she says. “Now, I’m the only person in our office. I handle all the orders from the initial contacts up through post-event check-ins and pretty much anything to do with running the business side of things. Capen truly just wants to go out and set up tents and be on the road, so we found a good balance.”
Five years into its existence and in a major growth pattern, Mainely Events still operates with a small staff — two full-timers and a rotating base of approximately eight part-timers — and a small space, but Lurvey says these are challenges the company anticipates overcoming in the near future.
“Ideally, we would like to see one more truck with two full-timers on the road. We’re not able to do that quite yet, but we did add a full timer this year who we’ve been training to do tents. We hope that next year he can run a truck with a crew and Capen can run another. And our space right now is not ideal — it’s literally a garage bay with less than 1,500 sq. ft. — but we’re here until we feel like we have completely outgrown this and need a new space. With being such a small company in the beginning, and hearing how everybody talks about how debt-based a rental business can be, Capen has a great financial strategy for being mindful about what kind of equipment we put in and to really make sure it will give us the most bang for our buck. If the possibility of a new space comes up it will be about what’s going to suit us the best financially and for how we want to grow,” Lurvey says.
Even as it operates lean — for now — Mainely Events makes sure to give back to the community it serves and positions itself as a builder of relationships even more than acting as a simple business merchant.
“Capen grew up here. Biddeford is his hometown and he’s happy to serve the community. We work with quite a few nonprofit companies throughout the area, offering a discount for their events. Not only are we able to service them, but we’re able to give a small amount back to a variety of causes, which is really nice,” Lurvey says.
“I would say that the overall customer experience and the relationship building here is really what makes us stand out,” Lurvey says when asked what differentiates Mainely Events from other event rental options people have in the local market. “We’re still working on diversifying our inventory. We don’t have as large or diverse an inventory as some of the more well-established rental companies, but people are still choosing us, and I think it’s because, from start to finish, we really focus on that relationship-building with our clients.”
This year’s Market Movers will be featured in the June/July 2023 issue. Watch for more details about how to submit your company information
ARA resources ‘truly, truly helpful’ for industry Market Mover
Following a revenue growth trajectory that placed it on Rental Management’s list of Market Movers for the event rental segment, Mainely Events in Biddeford, Maine, truly stands out in its field.
Elizabeth Lurvey, the company’s office manager, credits American Rental Association (ARA) resources as an important part of its success.
“Capen [Macomber, Mainely Events’ founder] was a tent installer but not a business owner before he established the company in 2017, and I had no rental experience,” Lurvey says. “So, I think the resources that we have had access to through ARA have truly helped us grow and maintain what we’ve been doing.”
Those resources extend to Lurvey’s ascent to the presidency of the ARA of Maine and the benefit she has received as a participant in the Mentoring Program, which is facilitated by the ARA Foundation.
“I’ve been on the ARA of Maine board of directors for a couple of years and now I’m serving as the president, and this is the second year I am participating in the Mentoring Program, so I think that for any company really looking to grow, being able to fall back on ARA and those resources and not having to do everything from the ground up ourselves has been truly, truly helpful for us,” she says.
Lurvey says her mentor, Jeff Crotto, CERP, president, All About Events – Jacksonville, Jacksonville, Fla., who will become ARA president-elect this year, was instrumental in pointing her to ARA member benefits that were spot-on for her company’s needs.
“There are a few things that I mentioned to him that I was struggling with, like job descriptions for when we’re ready to hire, missed rentals and things like that. He asked if I had checked out the ‘Resources’ tab at ARArental.org. There were things I was able to pull off there and tweak for exactly what I needed. It was really nice and a lot less overwhelming in the middle of a season to not have to start something like job descriptions from scratch, and to know that the information is coming from people I can trust and who have experience in these areas,” Lurvey says.
Rental contract assistance is another ARA member benefit Lurvey has taken advantage of.
“We’ve also used James Waite for our contract. This year we redid our rental contract and those legal services have been really helpful as well,” she says.