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OUR STORY SO FAR
This week was the first week everybody took the coronavirus with the respect it deserved as. The office is now deserted with just me and the fish (Dory, Nemo 1, Nemo 2). It feels very eary and quiet. Our lovely customers have been very understanding and we are busy postponing events that were due this Spring.
The inaugural Abacus Secret Santa arrived…I’m not sure if everybody was pleased with their presents! With a budget of £20 each I was very pleased with my create of favorite beer, Peroni. Not sure Rob in full camouflage clothing would so keen! On behalf of team Abacus we wish you a very successful Christmas. We’ve had another record busy year and we can’t for for January for some time off!
My grandad who was with me at the start of Abacus during our initial years used to help me install the marquees. He was my first member of staff! He was always on time, done what he was told and never asked for a pay rise. Unfortunately his health meant he hasn’t set up any marquees for a few years which used to keep him fighting fit. So I’m dragging him to the gym with me instead! He is always asking about how we’re doing and what we’re up to. Deep down I think he would love to be out there helping us…I’m sure nan would prefer that too ha!
We had a staff open day in March for potential new recruits for the busy season ahead. It gave them a chance of what being part of us crazy lot is like and we got to see who were the superstars from the pool. Terry, James & Alan who are now part of Team Abacus were found from our open days and we can’t wait to do another one when we need more superstars!
GUESS WHO WON?
Both Adam and I spend most of our days in the office. We’re a great duo but we’re ultra competitive. We both thought our customer service skills were better than each others. We decided in January who could receive the most reviews that included our personal name in…Loser bought pizza and unlimited cups of tea for a week…Thanks Ad 😉
We got over Christmas! We think we’re dead certain we’re the busiest marquee hire company during Christmas in the UK! With over 19 marquees up in four days for Christmas festivities, them back down again and 12 up for New Years Eve.
Dealing with a break into our storage unit halfway through the mad three weeks tested our teams tenacity and determination to ensure none of our customers were let down. GO TEAM ABACUS.
Christmas at Home
So after setting up 19 marquees for Christmas I really looked forward to setting up another marquee at home for my family! As you can tell my lovely family are nuts but it was really nice to celebrate Christmas time together. Was back at it on the 27th there was no rest for the wicked!
Our biggest ever set up to date. A 15m x 21m Marquee for Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow. We were responsible for the success of over 12 events in 3 days. Including AV & Sound, staging, catering tents, luxury loo’s & outside lighting. The build included 2 night shifts and lots of energy drinks!
We’ve now purchased some clear panoramic walls! They look great and allow natural daylight to come through and makes your event a bit more special particularly if the marquee is in nice surroundings.
They look awesome at night too! LED Uplighting gives the marquee a bit of a nightclub feel. We’re getting some clear roofs soon as well.
I always reward hard work here at Abacus – it’s always appreciated. Adam has put in a lot of hard work during the winter months with lots of early starts, late nights and weekends, Adam ensured our customers were delighted with our service and was responsible for our amazing growth during the winter months.
He’s been wanting to go skiing for years but is currently saving for a house with his girlfriend. You should have seen his face when I told him he’s going to France skiing in February! He fully deserved it and both him and Kirsty came back in one piece too…result!
We’re now preparing for this year’s marquee madness and our winter projects are slowly coming to completion. Gearing up for not only the garden birthday parties & anniversaries but the increased demand for weddings and larger events this year too. Something we’re all really excited about!
2016 saw the additional of another team member Joe. Fresh out of university and not shy from hard work Joe is a vital cog in the Abacus wheel helping Tom and Adam on the marquee installs. Joe’s sense of humour keeps us sane during the rainy days. He’s also very good at communicating with our customers informing them of everything they need to know about their marquee.
We we’re elated and for Tom & Adam and myself, it was nice to get some acknowledgement from our efforts. The Awards judges claimed “Abacus has customer service at the heart of its business. The amount of client testimonials they have collected – there really was no other winner. One of Abacus’ true core values is their ability to provide a wonderful customer experience week in week out”
A lot of investment was made in 2014 and Abacus had an inventory or nearly 20 marquees offering 28 different size combinations. I took on my first full time member of staff, Tom. If anybody had a really successful event in 2014 chances are Tom was fully responsible! He is now one of our current Team Leaders – who now does all of our site visits ensuring the marquees will fit and offering advice on enhancing any event. Tom is a fantastic at asset to the business – his knowledge of how to create really successful events, sometimes in the trickiest of spaces is amazing.
After another two business awards finalist positions – it wasn’t just my customers realising Abacus is a very special business. We’re now setting up over 180 parties a year and our now famous “All-Under-One-Roof’ service was introduced too. Not just offering the marquees and equipment but also introducing catering, DJ’s, balloons, event loos etc to further enhance our events.
We also took the attention of the CEO of RedBull too – as we were responsible for his big birthday celebration in London. They had a marquee in the back garden and we decorated the house with LED lighting and a dancefloor too. It was a hit and they loved what we offered and had a wonderful night.
In 2013 was the year I bought my first van and had my own independent storage unit. Abacus was growing up and it needed to quickly to take on the increased business. We obtained a very good reputation and we were getting a lot of repeat and referred business. Friends and family of our customers were in our parties that we arranged and realising how we could help them too.
I also applied for the Hertfordshire Business Awards and I was a finalist. I was ecstatic when I found out and brought my family and two part-time team members with me to the big gala ball. I didn’t win the category I was in but it was a great experience being there with other successful business owners and gave me great inspiration to go and win it the next year.
I was really lucky – I had a (very able!) grandad who was more than happy to help me when I needed an extra pair of hands. Come rain or shine he’d have my back and help set up many birthday parties, weddings and family events with me. I would have struggled a lot during this time without my grandad – so I’m really grateful for his hard work.
My time working at the local school was down to only 2 days a week as I could rely on Abacus for more income as the marquee bookings were more frequent. We started to get busier especially in the summer doing a lot of street festivals for the Queens Jubilee this year too. The marquees themselves were getting bigger as well as demand.
At the age of 18 I didn’t know what path I wanted to take. I knew I didn’t want to go to University after finishing my A-Levels taking a degree I may never use and be several thousand pounds in debt. So, for my birthday present that year my dad gave the business to me. (better than a car, right?!).
He gave me two marquees and 16 plastic garden chairs. He let me borrow his van to use if I ever took on a booking. I worked hard that summer building a website and generating more and more enquiries. I took on 22 marquee bookings in my first year. I was also in a part time occupation too at a local school to generate me enough income during Abacus’ early years.