A build at Washington University in St. Louis. Photo courtesy of Traube Tents & Structures on Facebook.

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COLUMBIA - Traube Tents & Structures has been in business for 85 years, but they’re just getting started.

The family-owned business out of Columbia, IL has grown in the past few years, and now their products are everywhere in the U.S., from weddings and commercial events to emergency relief sites and PGA Tours. Steve Traube reflects on the business’s history and future in a recent Our Daily Show! interview.

“For us, we really tout ourselves as specialists. All we do is structures, so we’re really good at it,” he said. “Obviously, to pull off some of the huge events that we are able to pull off, we’ve got a great team and a bunch of people that really just do a fantastic job.”

Traube Tents & Structures started in 1938 as a venetian blinds manufacturer and quickly expanded to awnings. They started doing tents in the 1950s and then eventually split into Traube Awnings and Traube Tents & Structures. Earlier this year, Steve bought back Traube Awnings to keep all of their products under one company name.

The company has a variety of products and can help customers decide what kind of tent or structure would be best for their purposes. Traube regularly works with professional sports organizations and the U.S. military, but they also provide tents and structures for commercial, corporate and wedding events. Visit their website for a full list of services.

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“For us, it was really all about what we call structures,” Steve explained. “Our tents are what we look at as far as our roots, where it’s more of the traditional pole tents, circus tents, frame tents, what we call frame tents that you might have normally seen as structures…[And then] there are permanent structures, there are semi-permanent structures, there are glass walls, hard walls, hard roofs. I mean, you name it. It’s legit construction, basically.”

As an example of what the company can do, Steve tells the story of Cub Foods, a grocery store in Minneapolis that was burned down after George Floyd’s death. Already in a food desert, Cub Foods was unwilling to wait the 18 months it would take to reopen, so they contacted Traube Tents & Structures and had a 20,000-square-foot structure operating within two weeks until the store was permanently rebuilt.

This was not Traube’s first experience with a tight timeline. They are often called in to natural disaster sites or other emergencies to provide structures for a basecamp and medical, dining and sleeping facilities. Steve explained that the company aims to be mobile within 24 hours of an emergency and on the road within 24–48 hours, with the structure fully operational within 72 hours.

“It can be fast and furious, there’s no doubt about it,” he said. “It can be very challenging, obviously, but rewarding as well. We have a lot of guys who have really grown accustomed to this type of work. They like the challenges that it presents. It’s different every day, it’s different every place.”

Steve attributes the company’s success to the employees who design and build the structures. He noted that word-of-mouth has spread about Traube’s ability over the past 85 years, and he hopes to see more growth in the next 85.

“Our guys, I would put them up against any crew in the world, quite frankly. When it comes to our building, there’s not many people who do or can,” Steve said. “Anybody could go buy a tent or a structure, go buy equipment, but if you don’t have good people, you’re not going to do much with it…We’ve been able to execute, and that goes around. It’s a small world.”

For more information about Traube Tents & Services, visit their official website at TraubeTent.com.

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