The table is an essential part of any gathering; it’s where people congregate, where food is shared and where memories are made. Country Garden Tables is in the business of building tables that gather people together for the special moments of life.
The business, which was licensed in 2017, is a rental company that specializes in renting handcrafted hardwood tables and matching bars. Donna Saladin and her husband Rick started the company when she was managing a wedding venue and saw the need for elegant farm-style tables that were lightweight, durable and easy to set up in different venues.
“The tables had to be somewhat girl-friendly, as I would be moving them most of the time by myself,” Donna said. “So, we set up shop in our 1970s ranch-style garage and started building. Through trial and error – tables that four guys couldn’t lift, locking hinges that required pliers to open, legs that wobbled and wouldn’t stay in place – we came up with our final design: a table that was fairly lightweight, easy to move into most any location and could be assembled without power tools. We spent the winter of 2016 furiously building 20 tables for our first wedding in 2017.”
Because Donna and Rick did not have a background in woodworking, they spent many hours researching, watching videos and honing the details to get the frames and tops just right. Their passion for the business helped get them through a rough first winter of business, when they had few power tools and little cash flow.
After much fine tuning, they created durable, beautiful tables that are usable for any event. There are just three pieces to each table, allowing them to interlock and be ready to use within minutes. That means they can head into any venue at any hour and not disrupt anything.
Country Garden Tables began marketing through social media and at local bridal shows and soon, people began to take notice. Recently, they expanded their product offering to include handmade bars that complement the tables, settling on a design that utilizes wine barrels.
Today, Rick and Donna still build each table themselves and during the busy season, they hire local teenagers to help. They are still building up inventory, but they have seen a 10% growth each year on event bookings. The goal is to increase inventory to 40 tables, and partner with another local rental company that could give customers a one-stop shop with tables, chairs, tableware and more.
While Clark County is their home base, Country Garden Tables works with other wedding vendors in the area that have started referring their business out. This has allowed them to start branching out to Portland and even Yamhill County.
“We have worked very hard to develop networking relationships with vendors who have the same core values and outstanding customer service,” Donna said. “We believe by partnering with trusted vendors that are vetted in the industry and by supplying leads to them, we receive them in return.”
Country Garden Tables is still evolving and is looking at ways to add more color options while they build inventory. All the while, they understand that growing too quickly could be problematic.
“I don’t want to get lost in growing too big or too fast, losing sight of what this is all about and forgetting how we started,” Donna said. “I want our tables to be perfect for every event. When all is said and done, people gather around tables to share moments … we’re not just renting tables, we’re helping create lifetime memories.”