Seattle Tarp Stays Flexible When Taking on a Project
Seattle Tarp uses materials such as polyethylene, urethane, PVC, polypropylenes and canvas.
While there are a number of tarp manufacturers across the United States, Seattle Tarp Company says it differs in several important ways. “We are a custom manufacturer with high-quality goods,” President Chris Perlatti says. “We get out the product in a timely manner. We try to deliver three to seven days from the order.”
The company is also adaptable. “Being a small custom company, we can adapt to whatever the customer wants,” Office and Sales Manager Dennis Riley says. “If we have a product that is five feet long and the customer wants five-and-a-half feet, we can do that.”
Nor is Seattle Tarp afraid to work long hours when the job calls for it. “We had a contractor at an airport that needed something in a hurry,” Riley says. Plus, the contractor’s work involved welding, which meant the tarp had to be fire-retardant.
The company manufactured nine huge tarps, one of which weighed 1,600 pounds. “It was all hands on deck when we had to roll up that one,” Riley recalls.
“We worked early, middle and late,” Perlatti adds. “We got it out the door to them.”
That adaptability is important, particularly when it comes to competing online. “It’s having the flexibility to be a custom manufacturer rather than cookie-cutter products right out the factory,” Perlatti says. “We make custom covers that will last 10 to 20 years. That’s how we battle online companies.”
Robert L. Perlatti, the father of Chris, founded the company in 1976 after having worked for a similar company. Seattle Tarp started by manufacturing products for trucking companies and commercial contractors. “People would bring us ideas for products and we would spin those off and started growing,” Perlatti says. “We figured out how to meet people in construction and other industries at trade shows and just started growing from there.”
Seattle Tarp uses materials such as polyethylene, urethane, PVC, polypropylenes and canvas. Although the bulk of its customer are in the Pacific Northwest, the company ships around the United States to its military, hospital and concrete contractor customers.
Fortunately, Seattle Tarp finds it “pretty easy” to retain quality workers, Perlatti says. “They are some of the highest paid in the industry and we offer good health benefits and things like that,” he says.
Recruiting, however, can be more of a challenge. “We struggle with that,” Perlatti says. “We go to our workers and ask if they have any friends or family who are interested. Or we run ads in the newspaper and Indeed.com and Craigslist.”
Concrete contracting and commercial fishing are the largest markets for Seattle Tarp. Among the items it manufactures for the concrete industry are concrete transition covers that are used to cover pipes in concrete pump trucks. “They protect workers in case there is a blowout,” Perlatti says. “It took a lot of research and development. I make them to fit on all makes and models of concrete pump trucks.”
“The transition cover is the first and original out on the market to protect workers from hazardous blowouts,” Riley adds. “Our covers are designed for almost all the pump trucks in the world.”
This year, the company introduced a hopper cover designed for both pump and line trucks. Made out of heavy-duty 18-ounce vinyl-coated polyester, the cover is buckled over the hopper and helps keep the concrete pump and the area around the hopper clean. The hopper cover is sold through distributors as well as directly from Seattle Tarp.
For the commercial fishing industry, Seattle Tarp manufactures a salmon slide, used for moving fish from one locations to another. It produces brailer bags and both insulated and non-insulated slush bags. “They throw fish in those bags,” Perlatti explains. “Then they bring the bags up with a crane to process. We are very big in that industry.”
Seattle Tarp also manufactures tarps and other items that are used in construction, hospitals, trucking, residential uses, hospitals and spill containment.
The company designed its first containment spill berm in the 1980s at the request of a customer in Alaska. Spill berms seal off spills from the environment, nearby drains and doorways. “We were one of the first containment firm companies in the United States at the time,” Perlatti says.
The company manufactures secondary – meaning they surround a primary storage container – portable and permanent spill containment berm products under the Earth Guard product line. Among those are bladders used to store both potable and undrinkable water.
For the aerospace industry, Seattle Tarp manufactures items such as blackout covers for fuselages, which are used to find cracks in the wings.
In addition, the company offers portable isolation units for potentially contaminated patients and curtains for semi-trucks trailers.
Seattle Tarp is happy to take on challenges. The company has manufactured custom items such as a cover for a children’s petting zoo in Tacoma.
Seattle Tarp has also taken on much larger and more unusual projects such as a cover for the Kingdome stadium in Seattle, which was used by the Seattle Seahawks and Mariners before being demolished in 2000. The roof needed to be repaired and the facility needed a cover to protect it during the rainy season.
Seattle Tarp manufactured massive pie-shaped tarps that were 300 feet long. “We had to come up with a special lacing system to lace all three sections together so it would withstand hurricane-force winds,” Perlatti says.
Another large and unusual project was a cover for the top of the Seattle Space Needle during remodeling in 2017. Like the Kingdome, the building needed protection from the weather during the remodeling. “The remodeling company found us because they knew we did the Kingdome project,” Riley says. “We had to make a cover that could lace together and withstand hurricane-force winds because it’s 600 feet high.”