A new downtown Hamilton business provides a variety of balloon ideas for numerous occasions.
Balloon Gallery & Gifts recently opened at 228 High St., in front of the The American Cape, a sculpture that depicts Alexander Hamilton.
“Balloons used to be known as either a helium balloon on a string or a simple balloon animal,” said owner Janine Mock. “In today’s balloon world they can get very detailed and look very life-like. They can be so unique in design that they are very popular for parties, corporate events, and even weddings. Yes, they even make wedding dresses out of balloons.”
Ideas range from gift bouquets, columns, arches, tunnels, walls, frames, centerpieces and other designs. That includes larger-than-life photo frames, Cinderella carriages, Eiffel Towers, football helmets, full walls, themed characters, and a wide variety of other options.
The business got its start last year in Mock’s home. She said she participated in a few county fairs over the course of the summer, then opened up a small space at Traders World in Monroe on the weekends from September through November.
“I had been an accountant for over 26 years for various industries,” she said. “After being laid off in April 2018, for the second time in five years, I thought ‘Enough is enough.’ I thought there has to be something better out there that I can enjoy while earning an income for my family.”
Mock said she sat down to brainstorm ideas and asked herself a few different questions. All the answers came back to balloons.
“The biggest challenge was not so much from being in a place that housed a different kind of business but to be able to get the ideas of what everything you can do with balloons today that has never been done before in the past,” she said. “I knew I had to have a brick and mortar place that can show the public what all can be done.”
Mock said she looked at other places to set up shop “but nothing really felt like it had everything I needed.” When she walked into 228 High St., the former site of Art Off Symmes, she knew it was the right spot for the business.
“It had everything in one room: high ceilings for building larger projects like an arch or wall piece,” she said. “It also had lots of window space to place different items in the windows to draw in the public as they walked by or even drove by.”
In addition, the shelving above the shelving areas that went all around the room made for a great area to display a lot of balloon art sculptures to let people see the various items that can be made, Mock said. Also, cabinet space that goes around the room is “an awesome way” to house supplies and extras for the handmade crafts the business carries, she said.
Open areas in the room provide space for Mock to hold crafting classes in the evenings after closing.
Mock said the biggest misconception about the balloon business is that it isn’t just a balloon on a string and that they last “much, much longer than just a few hours.”
“I use a lot of balloons that are filled with just air from latex to foil,” she said. “The only time I use helium or nitrogen is if they are in a Balloon Bouquet that floats, but is tied to a weight or handcrafted gift.”
Balloon Gallery & Gifts has a gel that can be placed in the latex balloons, extending their life from as much as 12 hours to as much as five days. Air-filled balloons can last for several months at a time, depending on the air temperatures, location, and handling of the displays, she said.
All designs are handcrafted by Mock or other certified balloon artists within the store or at the site of the event for larger pieces. Mock said Balloon Gallery & Gifts is the only balloon business in the area that also delivers balloon bouquets.
Store hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Saturday. For more information, call 513-889-2253 or visit www.BalloonGalleryandGifts.com.
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