“My parents founded a marquee company called ‘The Main Event Marquee Company’ in 1994. The Main Event supplied huge extravagant framed marquees with linings for large weddings, private parties and corporate events.
Very shortly after its launch, they discovered the Eureka Capri Marquee at a trade fair. Capris are a more lightweight structure that can be installed by one person and my parents saw the Capri marquee as an opportunity to offer a smaller pop up alternative for smaller events. The Capri Marquee is manufactured by Johnson and Johnson under the brand name ‘Eureka’ and is produced in the US. Eureka are very well known for their camping products, but also produce the US military tents amongst a huge catalogue of other products. Eureka (US) were actually going to give up on the Capri, until my parents persuaded them to give us the sole European Distribution rights in around 1996, which we still own today.
I started working for the family business in 1997, it was the perfect Summer job for a fourteen year old, I’d clean white bistro chairs after the weekend events and get paid 10p per chair. There were around 600 in total.
Mum would fill the diary with bookings, and I’d progressed to being out on installs with Dad. Install Thursday and Friday, take down Monday and Tuesday. After a few years I was running the Capri installation side of the business and at peak we’d be installing around 20 Capris each weekend all over the South East. When not installing or taking down, I’d be making various marquee components using an industrial sewing machine. This went on for a number of years into my early 20’s before I flew the nest to try and find my own path.
My parents sold the framed marquee side of the business in 2009, but retained ‘Eureka’ which is the Capri Marquee hire and EU distribution side of things. After some play time I returned to the family business in 2015.
Being from a different generation myself, I wanted to give the whole brand and image an overhaul and utilise technology and social media to improve our marketing. It was an opportunity for me to come in with a fresh set of eyes and help promote the family business further.
I decided to separate the two businesses and the event hire business now runs independently under the name ‘Eureka Hire Limited’. We specialise in private parties, birthdays, weddings and can cater for anything from 20 to 500+ guests.
I drive the business and guide a small team of marquee installers, with Mum looking after the books and dad offering morale support.
Our short-term goal is to dramatically increase the number of clients we look after on our doorstep. Up until the pandemic our hire bookings were doubling year on year. Post pandemic we’re back up to and ahead of our 2019 figures, so it’s all very exciting!
Longer term we’ll continue to increase our reach into Surrey, Sussex and Essex, with the aim of adding a small fleet of refrigerated trailers in 2022.
What I love about Eureka is – events are such an incredibly positive industry to be in, outside of a pandemic anyway! We’re incredibly fortunate that we visit beautiful locations on a weekly basis and our clients are just about to celebrate a special occasion, so they’re always buzzing with excitement! “
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Eureka Hire is now owned and run by Simon Reddy, son of Phil and Sue Reddy who originally brought the Capri Marquee design to the UK market in 1994.
Capri Marquees were originally used as a sun shade in America to help block out the heat, however with some product development they could see that there was also an opportunity to bring the design to the UK.
In 1994 Phil and Sue Reddy ordered two Capri’s as a trial and proceeded to offer them as an alternative to their already established framed tent business ‘The Main Event Marquee Company’. The decision to take that gamble turned out to be a great success! The Capri hire department soon outgrew the frame tents and at it’s peak is installing over twenty Capri’s each weekend throughout the Summer months, across the South East of England.
“As the hire department continues to grow we carefully select products that could further enhance our premium Capri hire service. For us it’s not about becoming a ‘one stop shop’, but about really specialising and focusing in on what we do best! We set ourselves a certain standard, with only the cleanest, freshest equipment being installed. From beautiful white Capri tops, to immaculate dandy dura matting and polished chrome uplights. Too often we see tired marquees; grubby, patched and dated. This is where being the European Distributor for this beautiful structure gives us a winning advantage over our competitors. Our customers deserve better, you deserve the best!” (Simon Reddy)
Eureka now specialise in the following services – Capri Marquee Hire, Pagoda/Chinese Hat Hire, Bar Hire, Dance Floor Hire, Refrigerated Trailer Hire and Furniture Hire. Eureka have built a small network of event supply specialists around them, so if you require toilet hire, catering equipment, generators or photographers, you know a recommendation from Eureka will be one that you can trust. As the Eureka reputation has continued to grow, we now supply our stunning Capri Marquee Hire services to Surrey, Sussex, Kent and Essex.