Group buys Swell Event Rental; changes name to Ray Event & Tent Rental

WICHITA — After reading a December Have You Heard? item about Swell Event Rental being for sale, Sharon Van Horn and a couple of friends decided to contact owner Tiffany Sporn about buying the business.

“That started the conversation,” Van Horn says.

She and Melissa Hennen and Eddy Frederick decided to buy the business, which used to be known as Ray Party Rental. It now will be known as Ray Event & Tent Rental.

“We went back to the Ray name because it is such a tried and true and trusted name in event rental,” Van Horn says. “It’s been around since the ’30s.”

The business currently is at 2033 E. Northern but Van Horn says she and her partners eventually might like to be back in the downtown area where Ray Party Rental was for decades.

“We’re very big downtown supporters, and we would love to be in the downtown area eventually.”

Van Horn has Van Horn Promotion & Marketing, which she intends to keep, and handles a lot of corporate events. Now, she says, she can supply rental items for those events.

“I’m just adding another layer to my life.”

She’ll also handle marketing and promotion for Ray Event & Tent Rental.

Hennen also has a background in marketing. She’ll be in charge of Ray’s operations.

Frederick, who owns Buckley Roofing, is an investor and will help oversee the event business.

“He is just a great businessman,” Van Horn says.

She says Sporn is staying at the business for a while, “making the transition easy.”

“Melissa and I are both hometown girls … and are so excited to be in the business,” Van Horn says. “Our excitement level is kind of over the top.”