Case Study: TenFab Design

In three years, TenFab Designs expands from a 2,000 square foot storefront to a 55,000 square foot high tech production facility where it produces state-of-the-art display graphics for Fortune 100 companies nationally.

In early 2009, Aaron Helfman and Mark Levin met for the first time in TenFab Design's storefront facility near the Northwestern University Campus in Evanston, Illinois.  TenFab had recently been awarded the opportunity to create a exhibition piece from aluminum and fabric to be displayed at the Daniel Burnham Centenial to be held later that year in Millenium Park in Chicago.  Aaron had a challenge, as he needed a 10,000 square foot facility with high ceilings and without any columns in which to construct this exhibition piece. 

Mark Levin, Vice President of Voit Real Estate Services - Cypress Food Group, had recently purchased a 235,000 square foot facility in nearby Lincolnwood, Ilinois that had a space which he thought could accomodate TenFab's requirements. Terms to a lease were agreed to quickly as TenFab had only a short time frame to create the exhibition piece to be used for the Burnham Centenial. Photos of the piece is shown below.



Over the course of 2009 - 2011, TenFab's sales grew steadily and Aaron, Mark and the other principals of TenFab had continuing discussions with regards to potential expansion of TenFab's premises in the building that Mark owned.  In late 2011, after Mark completed negotiations with another tenant in the building to allow a connecting hallway to be constructed between TenFab's initial premises of 10,000 square feet and their expansion premises of an additional 45,000 square feet, a lease expansion agreement was completed.

In the cooperative agreement between Landlord and Tenant, rent was deferred for TenFab for a period of time to allow it to spend the necessary monies on tenant improvements and equipment, including the installation of two high-tech printers that can print high quality images on very large pieces of canvas and other fabrics. Rent in the agreement was also structured to be significantly less in the earlier years of the lease to allow TenFab the opportunity to grow its business.

TenFab, which is Aaron Helfman's third startup company in this field, is now in full production in the entire 55,000 square foot facility and is beginning to think about when the next expansion of its operations will need to take place. Mark and Aaron are both pleased that they were able to work together to allow TenFab the opportunity to grow its business within one building and the opportunity for Mark to lease more of the 235,000 square foot building.