Playing in Place


Sheltering at home during the COVID-19 pandemic has perhaps made some people recognize the shortcomings of entertainment options at their abodes.

At least, that’s what Rudy Montalvo, president of Rainbow Play Systems RGV, has noticed.

Montalvo has been with the company for 22 years, bringing Rainbow stores to McAllen and Harlingen when he realized there was a lack of them in the Rio Grande Valley.

“Swing sets are very popular — especially in Texas,” he said “I think that’s why we’ve been around for so long.”

Starting off as a store exclusively for swing sets, Rainbow has since evolved into an outdoor living store, offering the top brands in everything a family would need to transform their backyard into an oasis of entertainment. Rainbow carries Jacuzzi hot tubs, Big Green Egg smokers, and other high-end outdoor items.

Montalvo described his stores as local businesses and authorized dealers for all items they sell that deliver, install, and service across the RGV. Rainbow itself is the top brand when it comes to swing sets, he added. The company stocks more than 100 swing set and play set models to choose from — along with more than 100 accessories to add on to the sets, Montalvo said. That means families have a multitude of ways they can customize a swing set that in turn will inspire their children’s imaginations while staying safe at home.

At the start of the pandemic, Rainbow closed its door to the public for six weeks — much like other businesses in the Rio Grande Valley.

“It’s been crazy,” Montalvo said. “But then we started taking phone orders. The only problem was we couldn’t go and install our products.”

Once the store reopened, it saw a surge of public interest.

“It was like an avalanche of sales,” Montalvo recalled. “People were getting cabin fever — especially families with kids — realizing the kids weren’t going to go back to school, so our swing set sales went through the roof.

“Our grill sales have also exploded because a lot of people are staying home and cooking these days since people are at home more. They’re looking for home products and that’s what we sell.”

Staying home to help reduce the rate of COVID-19 infection drove sales of home products — a silver lining for Montalvo and Rainbow both.

“We just happen to have the types of products that people are going to use more as they stay home more,” he said.

“We sell fun,” Montalvo said. “All our products are fun — whether it’s a grill, a hot tub, a swing set … it’s a fun store to visit. People walk into our store and love it and there’s something for everyone.”

Rainbow Play Systems RGV has two locations: one in McAllen at 2321 N. McColl Road and the other in Harlingen at 4220 S Expressway 83. Learn more about what Rainbow Play Systems has to offer your backyard by visiting

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