By KATHY HAGEMAN
Many Abilene area people might be surprised to know they don’t need to leave town to get party supplies.
Celebrations Party Store has been open in downtown Abilene since March 2012. Located in the Sunflower Hotel building at 409 NW. 3rd St., Ste. C., the new business has created a niche for itself using mostly social media.
“Most of our business comes from Facebook,” said owner Jaime Durham.
In a sluggish economy, Jaime said opening a small business has been “a little stressful,” but it had been going “much better than anticipated.”
Durham and her husband Josh previously owned a party supply store in another state. Formerly in the military, Josh now works for the air ambulance Lifestar of Kansas which is associated with Stormont-Vail Regional Health Care in Topeka. Before opening the party store, Jaime operated a daycare in Abilene for six years.
“Having a party supply store was something we always wanted to do and since the economy was getting a little better we decided to try it,” Jaime explained regarding the couple’s decision to open a small business in Abilene.
One of the big sellers at any party supply store is balloons; however, since helium is in short supply, the Durhams have had to adapt using air-filled balloons.
One of the most popular items is the “gift in a balloon” for birthdays, anniversaries, baby showers and other events where stuffed animals, baby gifts, money or other items are encased in a balloon. The gift in a balloon sits in a base which the Durhams make.
People can also choose from a variety of balloon characters including zebras, giraffe, Minnie Mouse, Mickey Mouse or others.
As for other party supplies, Celebrations has 30 solid colors available in plates, napkins, cups, silverware and table covers as well as some “theme” items, along with confetti, banners and streamers. “Over the hill” gag gifts are also available.
“We even carry some things for guys -- balloons for hunting, fishing and that type of stuff,” Jaime said. “If we don’t have it we can order if for you. Our goal is to get you to shop locally and not drive out of town.”
Since Josh Durham has the talent to do balloon twisting and can make animals, hats and swords, he has dressed up as a clown for several events including Family Resource Day and the Midsummer Night’s Festival.
Currently, the Durhams are gearing up for Valentine’s Day -- a big day in the balloon business.