Our History

For over 110 years, Rainier has provided quality display, fabric and shelter products to satisfied customers around the world.

We invite you to read about our rich history and how we grew to become the company we are today.

Rainier, previously known as Puget Sound Tent & Awning, was established in 1896, specializing in tents, custom fabric products and awnings for a growing Puget Sound area. The company began by providing tents and camping supplies for prospectors headed north for the Alaskan Gold Rush. Henry Carstens was the founder and owned the company until 1916, at which time he went into receivership and control transferred to the Dexter Horton Bank (which became Seafirst Bank and is now Bank of America).

A former employee of Puget Sound Tent, George Schaffer, was hired as general manager when he returned from fighting in World War I. Schaffer soon purchased the company, owning and operating it until the 1962 World’s Fair opened in Seattle. In that time the company was consistently successful, particularly during World War II when Schaffer negotiated large contracts to produce tents and tarps for the U.S. military.

Schaffer sold the company to Albert Cox and Robert Campbell in 1962. Cox had worked for the company since 1940 and managed operations. Campbell joined the company in 1961 and oversaw sales and administration.

Scott Campbell, the son of Robert Campbell, purchased the business from the partnership on January 1, 1984. Since then, the company has averaged 17% annual growth highlighted by the following activities:

  • In 1985, Scott acquired Seattle Tent & Fabric Products, which was established in 1897, and was the largest competitor of Puget Sound Tent & Awning. The Rainier Wall Tent, first sold in 1897 by Seattle Tent, served as the inspiration for changing our name to Rainier Industries.
  • Camp Lewis Tent & Awning, which was established in 1911, was acquired in 1993.
  • In 1994, Olympic Sign was acquired, solidifying Rainier’s expansion into the sign and graphics industry.
  • In 1995, operations were moved to our 72,000 square foot facility in Tukwila, Washington.
  • Highflying Banners, a company specializing in Sunbrella appliquéd banners, was acquired in 2002.
  • Later in 2002, Rainier entered into a joint venture with Display Products, a company specializing in visual merchandising and digital wall coverings. That joint venture is known as Rainier Displays.
  • In 2003, we continued to expand in 2004 with some exciting growth:
  • The purchase of Nesting Bird Yurts
  • The purchase of the Markham Company in Orlando, Florida
  • An acquisition of Barrett Windows rigid window patent
  • An acquisition of EGE Sun Systems’ retail awning business
  • We moved into our 140,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility in July of 2008.
  • Rainier acquired Wave Guide Technologies in 2008 and began manufacturing retractable screen systems.
  • 2009 started with the acquisition of Sunblockers NW, a screen and awning retailer in the Seattle marketplace and also the aquisition of The Big Print, a large format digital printing company also based in Seattle and well recognized for their Biographix™ product line.
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    We are pleased to offer our creative skills and production expertise that makes us the region’s leading display, fabric and shelter manufacturing firm.

    We have in-house design and art departments that can assist in developing visual advertising, point-of-purchase displays, trade show booths and other business identity sign products.

    Our graphics department features state-of-the-art printing and finishing equipment.

    Our fabric shops have professionals with an average of twelve years sewing experience, and are trained to utilize our state-of-the-art electronic and computer aided equipment.

    We maintain a technical department to ensure proper manufacturing methods, and to assure necessary permits for our fieldwork.

    Our frame shop is staffed with certified welders and the most modern equipment. We have a wood shop with full cabinetry skills and a print shop with large format digital printers.

    We at Rainier Industries are proud of our rich heritage of serving our customers. We realize it takes more than a long history to be successful; we must keep pace with the changing market, maintain the highest standard of quality, and supply the finest products available. Today’s consumer demands competitive prices as well as prompt and efficient service. These business practices are our common denominator and insure continued customer satisfaction.