It’s Time to Celebrate!
Tammy Still and I arranged to meet at a Steveston coffee shop in December. Not having met, she told me I would easily recognize her – she would be carrying balloons. She arrived with a large Christmas arrangement designed with a festive foil bear as the centrepiece, and offered this gift to the excited staff to add a festive touch to the restaurant.
Both generous and marketing savvy, her balloon arrangement became a calling card to direct people to her new Steveston business, Balloon Place, on First Avenue in the former home of Bell’s Bake Shop.
Balloon Place opened last June on the third floor of the same building where it is now located. It was not convenient for passers-by and Tammy was keen to find a more visible location. When the street level storefront became available she was thrilled.
How did she reach the decision to establish her business in Steveston? She says, “There is no other store of its kind in Richmond.” Tammy felt there was a demand for colourful, cheerful balloons, which captivate people of all ages with their celebratory ‘it’s party time’ energy.
Tammy mentions in the 1980s she wanted to throw elaborate parties for her nephews when but it was not in her budget so she learnt balloon art. While the business concept did not take off until much later the seed had been planted; she loved the artistry of balloon arrangement.
Balloon Place is open seven days a week to ensure customers can access over 1,000 balloons.
Tammy jokes with a warm smile, “I am a workaholic who forgot to have kids.” In fact, she may be the biggest kid of all, and owning a business that makes people happy is her driving force.
Tammy worked as a realtor in her native Los Angeles until she eventually chose to leave the United States, largely because of the American medical system. She relocated to Calgary and continued to work in real estate until the market slumped and then she headed to the Lower Mainland to work in strata management. She realized this job was not for her and the time had arrived to follow her passion; she shifted gears and began working with Vancouver based business JC Balloon Studio.
Tammy moved to Steveston in 2007 where she lives with her husband and business partner Steve Olson. She loves the community and decided last year to venture out and set up an old-fashioned mum and pop store. She mentions, “I am ecstatic to be here. I have always wanted to be part of a small community. I love the mix of cultures; there is something very special about Steveston.”
She appreciates the small town feeling where events like the Steveston Merchants Association’s Scarecrow Crawl, Girls’ Night Out and Christmas in Steveston Village bring the streets to life and benefit local businesses. She hopes that her unique business will continue to draw more shoppers to the area.
There is something magical about balloons that put a smile on people’s faces.
Tammy says, “If you can imagine it, we can make it.” Orders of any size are possible, from a single special balloon to a bouquet that can fill a room for a special event.
Whether you are celebrating the birth of a baby, a birthday, sweet sixteen, graduation, marriage or retirement, balloons add the crowning touch. Thanksgiving, Halloween, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Mother’s and Father’s Day and Canada Day are made more special with the addition of colourful balloons.
Tammy points out, “Variety is key. If you have a dream balloon, Balloon Place is likely to have it.” Some clients know exactly what they want (Pinterest has sparked many design requests) but if you are stumped for an idea Tammy is happy to use her artistry to create an arrangement. She mentions a wishing well she constructed from balloons for a wedding. The guests tossed wishes in for the bride and groom and it was a huge hit.
If by chance Balloon Place doesn’t carry the balloon you have in mind they will hunt it down with enough notice. Some customers have been known to bring in their own balloons for filling. In addition, Balloon Place rents helium tanks if you prefer to cut down on costs to fill balloons for your event. Tammy’s goal is to keep prices affordable.
“The best part of my business is the happiness it brings.” Tammy Still
Corporate and charity events are a large part of their business. It is not uncommon to receive an order for as many as 5,000 balloons to create an arch, column or canopy to fill a convention centre. Balloon walls and sculptures are other popular options. The film industry also utilizes their service. Balloon Place works with JC Balloon Studio to fill large orders. Tammy says they have a wonderful relationship with owner Carlos Gonzalez and will always continue to help each other.
If a special occasion is calling out for the finishing touch, pop in to meet Tammy and Steve at Balloon Place. You can’t miss the happy helium balloon bouquets floating in the storefront window, enticing customers to come inside.
110-12211 First Avenue
Richmond BC V7E 3M3