What do you do with an old horse trailer that needs a lot of repair, and may no longer be suitable for hauling your horse? Is it just scrap metal, or can it be “repurposed?” Finding new uses for old items, and putting new “life” into them, is all part of reducing waste and moving toward sustainability.
Paige Garrett and her husband Ben have an entrepreneurial spirit and were interested in starting their own small business. They had both worked in the service industry through college at The University of Memphis, so they decided that a mobile bar would be a great addition for the event industry in the Memphis area.
After tossing around several ideas, in the summer of 2016 they set out to find a two-horse trailer. They researched several different brands of trailers and combed through local ads to find a trailer that met their space and budget requirements. They ultimately purchased a late 1970s two-horse trailer from an individual in Columbia, Tennessee that summer. They formed Barnwall Event Co. in the fall of 2016. The name Barnwall was formed by combing the names of their two sons, Barnes and Wallace.
Once purchased, the horse trailer, referred to as the HorseBox, needed a lot of improvements to be made! The trailer had seen a lot of use over the last 30+ years. Knowing they needed the help of a specialist to accomplish the conversion, they scoured through local ads to find a welder with the skills to assist with conceptualizing their ideas and putting them to work.
They came across Doug Peel in Millington, Tenn. Doug brings a lifetime of knowledge to welding, and having been a master pipe fitter and welder through previous work history, he would be up for the task. Not only were they able to engage Doug Peel, but also his wife Kim, who has experience using AutoCad® design; she drew up the plans for the Garretts.
The conversion from rusty hulk horse trailer to rolling party bar was a rough process. It took six weeks, with Paige and Ben visiting the project frequently. Doug removed and replaced the wood floor, replaced the front cap and the bright metal, sandblasted, primed and painted the whole trailer. He added plumbing, including a pump, and rewired the trailer to code.
Paige said, “Based on Doug’s ideas, we made a lot of changes. Doug came up with ideas that I would have never thought of. I would sometimes find him sitting down, drinking tea, and staring at the trailer. He would say ‘I’m thinking.’ He said he could not believe that the trailer had been hauling horses; it was so rusted out.”
He suggested a change in the counter design, which included an epoxy coated cantilever shelf with no exposed hinges. After it is raised, it pivots out and folds horizontally, locking into place. This makes for a strong, sturdy shelf, free of obstructions that can safely take the weight of people leaning on it.
The back counter with a beer tap is decorated in “rustic chic” style using an Ombrétechnique (the gradual blending of one color hue to another) with” buckshot wood” and old corrugated steel, salvaged from Doug and Kim’s barn.
Chrome moon cap wheel covers round out the authentic decoration. Doug also wired in a complete sound system and built a pivoting flat screen TV mount.
Paige said, “The work he did in taking our concepts and hashing-out our ideas was nothing short of amazing. The finished product is something that we, as well as the local market, are amazed by.”
Doug said that this was the first major project since leaving his job as a pipe fitter and starting his own small business – Pro Modified Welding, Inc. “The Garretts were willing to invest what it took to do the job right,” Doug said.
The Garretts have been in the mobile bar and bartending service for a year now, and have been privileged to meet other people and companies in the event industry that are providing their own small business services to the market.
When the services of the HorseBox are engaged, the party host provides the beverages to be served, and the Garretts bring the mobile bar and bartenders to serve the guests. Barnwall has been featured at events such as the Memphis Zoo Rendezvous fundraiser, Art on Tap at the Dixon Art Gallery, non-profit fundraisers through Arts Memphis, and several private events for individuals celebrating birthdays, weddings, etc.
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