Advantage Tent Fittings Grows Business and Impact in Ross County

In 2020, Advantage Tent Fittings, Inc. announced plans to expand its business in Chillicothe, Ohio. With an investment of $80,000, the company modernized its manufacturing process with the purchase of a new state-of-the-art radio frequency vinyl sealing machine. The purchase was supported by a JobsOhio Inclusion Grant of $20,000, along with a $20,000 Flour BWXT Opportunity Fund Grant through JEDISCO (Joint Economic Development Initiative of Southern Ohio.)

A multi-generational family business, Advantage Tent Fittings is a manufacturer and distributor of commercial and military tent components, event rental products, and custom-sewn/heat-sealed products.

“The JobsOhio Inclusion Grant funding was used to purchase a 20kw Radio Frequency (RF) Vinyl Welding Machine. RF welding uses high-frequency electromagnetic energy to fuse thermoplastic materials together at a molecular level and create a permanent seam,” said Ben Hall, President of Advantage Tent Fittings. 

A man stands in the center of a manufacturing facility with blue tarps to his left

The machine is used to manufacture a wide array of products including walls for commercial tents, tarps, privacy partitions and vinyl equipment used by emergency responders. “Our old ‘hot-wedge’ style machine operated solely by heat and compression as opposed to RF and could only perform linear welds as opposed to specific patterns such as radial, square and rectangular welds that we can accommodate today,” he said.

The new machine was installed in late 2020 in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hall said that while they did not expect to install the machine during a worldwide pandemic when first planning the investment, they were able to leverage the added capability and pivot production during very uncertain times to manufacture vinyl privacy partitions that were used at vaccine sites and other medical-related settings.

A man in safety goggles and a blue shirt stands next to a pile of wooden poles, pointing to the end grain

“The new machine has greatly expanded our manufacturing capabilities and enabled us to diversify into new markets that we could not have accommodated before,” said Hall. “This includes the manufacture of equipment used by emergency responders, military, and in medical settings.  We also recently launched a new operating division that offers cut, seal and sew manufacturing services for other companies.”

Hall said the company is grateful for the support they received from JobsOhio and JEDISCO by way of the Flour-BWXT Opportunity Fund to make the project possible and for what these partners do for Ohio small businesses on a daily basis.

A woman with short black hair operates a sewing machine, hemming a red tarp

The JobsOhio Inclusion Grant exists to provide financial support for eligible projects in designated distressed communities and/or for businesses owned by underrepresented populations across the state. Hall believes this grant is a valuable tool for businesses in Southeast Ohio.

“Programs such as the JobsOhio Inclusion Grant are vital to enabling small business in Ohio to keep up with rapid changes in marketplace conditions including investing in new technology and production capabilities that enable local business to compete on a national level,” said Hall. 

A metal pole building with a sign that reads "Advantage Tent Fittings"

“Often times significant capital investment in new equipment and infrastructure is out of reach for many small businesses and programs such as this bridge that gap enabling small business to optimize existing operations and pursue new markets which in turn is beneficial to local economies,” he said. “These investments also upskill existing jobs making the manufacturing sector a more attractive and viable employment option for candidates entering the workforce or looking for a new career path.”

If you are a small business looking to expand your production, reach out to a member of the OhioSE team today!

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Ohio Southeast Economic Development (OhioSE) is the JobsOhio Network Partner for southern, eastern, and southeastern Ohio, providing economic development work and resources in 25 rural counties; they are the newest and geographically the largest of the six regions across the state. OhioSE partners closely with regional development districts, local economic development offices, state agencies, and other entities to expand, retain, and attract businesses in the counties they serve.

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